Exclamation Point!

Hike the Classic Tomales Point Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore

Hike Tomales Point Trail in Point Reyes

Maybe it’s the constant ocean breeze, or the burly tule elk, or the chance to see spouting gray whales and sea lions… there’s something that keeps drawing us back to Tomales Point Trail. It’s a relatively simple hike: You just walk 4.5 miles to a dramatic promontory overlooking the Pacific. But what you encounter along the way … well that’s pure Point Reyes!

Pacific views, wildlife, and wildflowers all feature into this oceanfront setting. Few trees means unobstructed views up and down the dramatic coastline. Start from the historic Pierce Point Ranch and head north. There’s only one trail to follow along the Tomales Peninsula as it gradually narrows from 1 mile wide at Pierce Point Ranch all the way to the tip, where the trail ends at a promontory overlooking the Pacific and blue-green lagoons that seem plucked from paradise.

Feel the ocean breeze slide across headlands as you devour the ocean scenery to the west and beautiful Tomales Bay to the east. Hikers can turn around anytime, but we recommend going all the way to picnic at the trail’s end lookout point. (Note: the last stretch of trail, though visible, is overgrown, flower-covered, and meandering; you have to just keep pressing forward; we recommend staying a bit to the left for this section, following the trodden trail as you see it.) Spot sea lions surfing the waves and sailboats bobbing in distant Bodega Bay.

Did we mention tule elk? Back in 1978 ten elk were introduced on Tomales Point. At last count we lost count! Chances are good you’ll spot them, if the weather’s clear; like any hike on the coast, fog can affect the type of hike you have, but you may be surprised at how a gloomy midday opens up into a clear, sunny late afternoon. Point taken!

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: In the episode "Exclamation Point!" Weekend Sherpa co-founders discuss their explorations Point Reyes and the Tomales Point Trail.

The trailhead is at the northern end of Point Reyes at Pierce Point Ranch. Note: The last three-quarters of a mile, sand and overgrowth obscure the trail. We recommend staying to the left, following the trail, and being cognizant that this trail has steep drop-offs so be extra careful on unclear days. We recommend wearing long pants. No dogs.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Cañada Collage

    This 4.3-mile loop through Cañada Del Oro Open Space Preserve showcases all the highlights of the season, thrumming with wildlife and wildflowers.

    View
  2. The Beauty of Bainbridge Island

    You know a place is special when locals head to it for their in-state vacations. Follow the lead of Seattleites and venture to beautiful Bainbridge Island in the heart of Puget Sound on the Kitsap Peninsula. Hike the Grand Forest here, meet Pia the Peacekeeper, and enjoy tasty food and drinks.

    View
  3. Little Norway

    There aren’t many small towns in America that look and feel like Europe, but Washington State sure seems to have a few! Lesser known among them is Poulsbo on the Kitsap Peninsula. Dubbed “Little Norway,” this hamlet on the waterfront of Liberty Bay is charmed with Scandinavian influence.  

    View
  4. old church on Monterey Path of History

    Path of History Walk (+ Food Bonuses)

    Monterey’s 2-mile yellow tiled, multilingual Path of History is a do-it-yourself stroll among some of the area’s most interesting, beautiful, and culturally significant sites, including through the Old Town, past Mexican-era adobes, and to the beautiful Royal Presidio Chapel.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    A Very Bavarian Spring

    Ready to change up your spring scenery? Pack your bags for this alpine adventure in Washington State’s Cascade Mountains. The Bavarian-style hamlet of Leavenworth could be a stand-in for a mountain village in Europe.

    View
  2. Be Dune-spired!

    There’s only one urban park on the planet that helped inspire a major theme in Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi book, Dune. Herbert was born and raised in Tacoma, and Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park is named in honor of his famous novel—a tribute to one of the book’s main ideas ...

    View
  3. Go Big in Bremerton

    Make your way to the largest city on the Kitsap Peninsula, Bremerton. Best known for its naval and maritime heritage, there’s also plenty of outdoors to explore, including a hidden treasure within the Puget Sound Basin: the Keta Legacy Foundation Rhododendron Preserve.

    View
  4. Dume in Bloom

    During wildflower season, nature puts on a spectacular show, and one the best places to see it is at Point Dume Natural Preserve in Malibu. 

    View