Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,647.00 ft (502.01 m)
Trail type
11.50 mi (18.51 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Point Reyes has 150 miles of beautiful trails and several different ecosystems -- this loop will take hikers on a journey through a few of these. From the woodlands to the coastlands and back, this hike offers dramatic, stunning vistas and a technical climb as well as soft, easy trails surrounded by trees that offer shade and protection from the elements.

Starting at Bear Valley Visitor Center, which offers free day-use parking (permit is required for all overnight stays), head out on the Bear Valley Trail — a wide, smooth trail with a lot of shade. This trail runs along a stream for roughly half a mile and is easy on the legs, however, it can get a little busy. Worry not, as the number of people decreases significantly past Divide Meadow, roughly 1.5 miles in.

From Divide Meadow, it's a mild downhill hike all the way to Coast Trail. Slightly past mile 3, there is a big trail intersection with a bike rack. There's a large log hikers can sit on and take a short break. Continue on straight, still following Bear Valley Trail. It gets a bit narrower, and you'll pass through a short section of thick trees where the layers of fallen needles silence your steps.

Soon, the Bear Valley Trail ends where the Coastal Trail takes a sharp turn. There's a sign; follow Coast Trail to the right of it. This is where the shade ends and is replaced by a coastal breeze. Follow the Coast Trail for the next 3 miles. You'll pass by Kelham Beach and Sculptured Beach, both of which are just a short walk down to the ocean and offer another nice spot to sit down and have a little snack, perhaps wet your feet in the water. Please do not approach the ocean when the surf is high. Check the Point Reyes National Seashore website or ask at the visitor center for weather warnings. Never turn your back on the ocean and be aware that rogue waves can occur anytime.

Coastal Trail is a sandy single-track with a few very mild up and downhills. It weaves through the coastal vegetation, offering the possibility to observe coastal grasses, turkey vultures, California quails, red-winged blackbirds, California kingsnakes, garter snakes, fence lizards, and many other species. After 3 miles on Coast Trail, take a right turn onto Woodward Valley Trail. The turn is well-marked with a sign.

Woodward Valley Trail is a rocky ascent meandering up the hillside. It can get a little technical, however, with the right shoes, the rocks shouldn't pose much of a challenge. This is one of the longer climbs in Point Reyes, so come prepared. Frequent breaks are encouraged not only for the purposes of rest but also because this is the part of the hike with the most stunning vistas. The whole coast reveals itself as you climb higher up, offering views of Coast Trail, Limantour Beach, Drakes Bay, and Point Reyes Marine State Preserve, as well as the dramatic coast to the south.

As you continue the climb, the vegetation changes once again. You'll find yourself back in the embrace of tall trees and, after 2 miles on the Woodward Valley Trail, you'll reach Sky Trail. The intersection of these two trails has a small grassy area great for taking a break, enjoying a snack, and rehydrating after the coastal breeze and the climb.

Take a left onto the Sky trail. You'll be surrounded by tall pines and beautiful flowers like the fiery montbretia, which is native to the coastal areas of the states kissed by the Pacific Ocean. It is on this part of the hike where you're also most likely to find banana slugs on the trail, so watch your step.

After 0.8 mile on the Sky Trail, turn right onto Meadow Trail. This trail will take you back down into the valley and, as its name suggests, you'll walk through a small, peaceful meadow surrounded by the woods. Parts of this trail might be a little too steep for comfort, so take your time and step carefully. There are a few sections with exposed roots — mind those, especially on rainy days, as wet roots can be extremely slippery.

Meadow Trail is 1.6 miles long and will take you all the way back to Bear Valley Trail. When you reach the bottom of the hill, take a left on the now-familiar smooth wide Bear Valley Trail and hike the 0.8 miles back to where you started.

If you're planning to do this route riding a horse, please note that Bear Valley Trail and Meadow Trail are closed to horses on weekends and plan your visit accordingly.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Wildlife. Coastal views. Mostly smooth trails.


No drinking water along the trail.

Trailhead Elevation

105.00 ft (32.00 m)

Highest point

1,112.00 ft (338.94 m)


Flushing toilets
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping

Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore


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