“A trail with spectacular coastal views and probable elk sightings.”
— Megan W
Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Tomales Point Trail travels along the ridgeline towards the northernmost tip of the peninsula offering amazing views of the Pacific coastline and down into Tomales Bay. The wide former ranch road passes through scrub and grasses with only minor hills to climb.
A nice run with some rewarding views if you can catch it on a non-windy, sunny day!
The parking for the Tomales Point Trail is on the site of the Pierce Ranch house and dairy barn where locally famous butter was produced starting in 1858. The dairy products were shipped to San Francisco from a dock in Tomales Bay.
This mellow trail is an out-and-back, so you can turn around at any point. The "official" doubletrack trail ends after a long descent to the Lower Pierce Ranch near a pond and grove of eucalyptus. An "unofficial" singletrack trail continues on to vista point at the very tip from which you can see Bird Rock (to the west) and Bodega Head (to the east). The trail becomes fainter the further you go towards the bluffs.
If you stay long enough, in a few millennia you'll become detached from California - the San Andreas fault runs under Tomales Bay, taking Pt. Reyes north on its tectonic plate away from California's southbound plate. Another word to the wise: check the weather for a clear day, as fog frequently obscures the views. It is also windier and colder on the coast. Note: bikes are not allowed on this trail.
Flora & Fauna
This trail is located within the Pt. Reyes Nat. Seashore elk preserve so you are nearly guaranteed to see some of the ~450 native tule elk which live here. In September the male elk are in their rut, so listen for bugling and crashing antlers. Elephant seals congregate on the beaches below in February and March. Other wildlife include mountain lion, raccoon, rabbits, birds non-venomous snakes. Wildflowers (especially poppies, iris and lupine) are abundant April-June.