“The family-friendly Rift Zone trail is a bucolic, less crowded alternative in Point Reyes.”
— Megan W
Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Horses are allowed on this trail.
Tends to become muddy after rain storms.
Starting from the southern end of the busy Bear Valley
lower parking area, the Rift Zone trail leaves the chaos behind, traveling first through a field with scattered oak trees. Next cross a creek and navigate through two large pastures, being sure to close the cattle gates behind you. This trail passes through private land owned by a meditation center, so please be respectful and stay on the path.
Head into the dense forest and start a gentle incline, eventually arriving at a couple of meadows with small "sag" ponds. These depressions are formed by movement along fault lines, the low spots eventually fill with water and in this case attract birds and other wildlife. After some more mild ups and downs, the trail reaches the Stewart Horse Camp
. This equestrian center has restrooms and picnic tables. The Rift Zone trail ends after a short uphill section at the Five Brooks trailhead.
The Rift Zone trail is named for the short stretch of the active San Andreas fault that the trail follows. The fault line runs between the Inverness Ridge and Bolinas Ridge and is responsible for the geography of this area.
Flora & Fauna
Oak laurel, Douglas fir, redwood, buckeye. Deer, rabbit, quail, frogs, turtles, woodpecker, sparrow, wood ducks, cows!