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Estero to Sunset Beach

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

8.1 mile 13.0 kilometer out and back
98% Runnable
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 623' 190 m
Descent: -623' -190 m
High: 160' 49 m
Low: 13' 4 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 9% (5°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Megan W

This is an isolated out-and-back exploration of several wonderful Pt. Reyes estuaries.

Megan W

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

To avoid the crowds than can plague more popular Point Reyes trailheads, opt for this peaceful excursion past estuaries to a secluded beach.

Runner Notes

Can be muddy after heavy rainstorms, and there are lots of ups and downs along this trail.

Description

Head south from the Estero parking area through grasslands before ducking into a dense stand of Monterrey pines. This used to be a cultivated Christmas tree farm. From here, a footbridge crosses Home Bay where mud or shallow baywater will be present depending on the tides. If you're lucky you may spot bat rays and leopard sharks swimming just below the water's surface. Climb up to the first of several hilltops on this undulating trail.

Trek downhill to another pond and then up to a knoll with a lone eucalyptus tree. One more climb brings you to the junction with the worthwhile Sunset Beach trail. Take the Sunset Beach trail south through grassland and scrub on a wide, easy trail. The gentle downhill passes a pond, skirts a hillside, and offers views Bull Point to the northeast across Drakes Estero.

On park maps, the Sunset Beach Trail ends at the pond, but if conditions are not too muddy continue on the fading trail to the small rocky beach across from Limantour spit. Find the strangely shaped sandstone boulders on this beach. If the weather is clear you can see Chimney Rock in the distance across the water. Retrace your steps to cpmplete this out-and-back.

Avoid going off trail as poison oak is prevalent in this area. Also, good boots make the muddy areas more passable, although sometimes it is better to simply turn back if rains or cattle have made a mess of the trail- don't damage it further. Note: bikes are allowed on the Estero and Sunset Beach Trails.

Flora & Fauna

Coyote brush, toyon, ceanothus, sagebrush, California buttercup, lupine, goldenrod, Douglas iris, daffodil, wild rose, seabirds, egret, quail, rabbit, deer.

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Check-Ins

Dec 29, 2017
Vineet Buch

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 7 votes

#2114

Overall
  4.4 from 7 votes
5 Star
57%
4 Star
29%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
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Run Rankings

#302

in California

#2,114

Overall
43 Views Last Month
3,199 Since Feb 25, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

View of the first estuary
Mar 10, 2015 near Inverness, CA
Approx 1.5 miles on Estero to Sunset Beach Trail
Jun 27, 2018 near Inverness, CA
Approx 2 miles into the hike on Estero to Sunset Beach Trail
Jun 27, 2018 near Inverness, CA
Sunset Beach
Mar 10, 2015 near Inverness, CA
Point Reyes - Estero Trail
Mar 24, 2015 near Inverness, CA
Views
Nov 16, 2019 near Inverness, CA

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