Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes Travel Blog› entry 2 of 6 › view all entries
July 3rd, 2007 – by: TRE69
My cousin and I needed an outdoorsy fix since it had been a year since our last adventure...our cross-country road trip. With its relatively close proximity to San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore was an ideal destination. Around 9am Mar picked me up in a borrowed car from my brother's place and we drove north on Hwy 101 and across the Golden Gate Bridge.
After we took our token SF photos, it was back on the 101 into Marin county where we exited Sir Francis Drake Blvd westbound towards San Anselmo. Tweny miles west, in the town of Olema, we stopped for an early and quick lunch and hike provisions. At the junction of Sir Francis Drake Blvd and Hwy 1, we headed north on Hwy 1 and onto Bear Valley Rd to get to Bear Valley Visitor Center (1 of 3 visitor centers for Point Reyes NS). At the visitor center, we quickly viewed the area exhibits, purchased post cards, and got trail maps.
From the visitor center we stayed on Bear Valley Rd until it joined Sir Francis Drake Blvd. We continued on Sir Francis Drake Blvd for about 7 miles to Estero Rd which after a mile led us to the Estero Trailhead parking area. My...how quickly the weather changed. At the visitor center the sun was shining and the clouds were few and far between. At the Estero Trailhead, the skies were gray and threatened rain. We decided to hike on...if bad weather prevailed, we could always turn back.
The first "stage" of the Estero Trail cuts through tall grasslands.
Somewhere along the trail, the trail was blocked off by a wood and barbed wire cattle fence.
After we traversed more downhill and uphill sections of the trail and passed through another fenced kissing gate, the trail reached a junction.
On our return to the trail junction, the sun started to peek out behind the clouds...awh...the solar warmth! The way back to the Estero Trailhead was lovely. The tide was making its way back into the estuary and the sun was finally out and shining brightly. We quickly jumped into the car and made our way back to the main road. It was about 4 pm and since the sun was now out we headed further into Point Reyes National Seashore. From the Estero Rd, we drove southwest on Sir Francis Drake Rd through acres of pastoral lands towards Point Reyes Lighthouse. Before the lighthouse was the Sea Lion Overlook. From the parking area a steep staircase leads down 54 steps to the lookout point.
The parking for the lighthouse was about a quarter mile from the visitor center and UPHILL. The kicker was the heavy winds which made it so much colder than it should be. When we got to the visitor center and lighthouse were already closed...shucks! At least the restroom facilites were open AND they are open 24 hrs/day! We continued around the center's walkway and it lead down to a viewing platform 300 or so steps above of the lighthouse. The viewing platform had picnic tables and would make a perfect picnic spot in less windy conditions. On our way back to the car, we stopped briefly to view the Point Reyes Beach which seemed to stretch on 'til forever.
The ride back to SF was long and we were exhausted. Point Reyes National Seashore is a beautiful, wild, and diverse ecosystem. I would definitely come back and hike more of the trails, hopefully view the wildlife, and be awed by the rugged landscapes!
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