Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,995.00 ft (608.08 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
11.00 mi (17.70 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.

This loop will take hikers on a journey through the coastal grasslands, on a beach, and up the wooded hills of Point Reyes National Seashore and the Philip Burton Wilderness Area. Depending on the time of the year, visitors can catch a glimpse of snowy plowers, hike past the fiery montbretias, or encounter a battalion of California newts.

Park your car at the Point Reyes Hostel. There’s parking on the side of the road right where the trail starts; don’t drive into the hostel’s parking lot. From there, head out on Coast Trail. For this part of the hike, it’s a wide, gently sloping service road. Depending on your luck, you might encounter a ranger car or be carefully watched by a mountain lion. A bobcat also frequents this area, as well as deer.

Follow the trail for roughly 2 miles. After it takes two sharper turns and you walk slightly uphill, you’ll see a beach access point, guarded by a large tree. Walk onto the beach here. There’s a log under the tree, perfect for a water break and perhaps a small snack.

From the access point, turn left (southeast). Continue on the beach. Enjoy the waves and the cries of the gulls, look out for snowy plowers from March to September, and dip your toes in the ocean if it’s safe to do so. When hiking on a beach, always remember that there’s a chance of a rogue wave occurring and never turn your back on the ocean.

Hike on the beach for roughly a mile until you reach another access point. There’s a little stream spilling onto the beach. Take the small single-trail right next to it to leave the beach behind. There used to be a swing on an ancient tree next to this unnamed trail until a storm brought the branch down. Look out for it in case it's been hung on a different branch. After 0.2 mile, you will reach a fork — turn right. You’ll hike into the Coast Campground — there’s a vault toilet and a water spigot. (Don’t rely on this water spigot, it might be off at certain times of the year. Always filter your water.)

From the campground, follow Coast Trail for another 0.8 mile until you reach the beginning of Woodward Valley Trail. Turn left onto the trail and start the 2-mile climb. You’ll be awarded with the most stunning views of the coast, Drakes Bay, Chimney Rock, and Drakes Estero to the north/northwest and steep cliffs diving into the ocean to the south. Turn around often to enjoy the views; once you enter the wooded area, they will be gone.

At the end of the trail, where it meets Sky Trail, there’s a nice little grassy patch, great for a lunch break. Don’t pass the opportunity; there are still quite a few miles ahead.

Turn left onto Sky Trail and follow it for 2 miles. There will be a few trail junctions; just keep to the left to stay on the right trail. Sky Trail is where you can see the fiery montbretias, towering up above your head at times.

After these 2 miles, turn left onto Fire Lane Trail. This trail can get a bit muddy; stay in the middle of it to prevent further erosion. It’s mostly downhill from here, with only a few slight bumps. Follow Fire Lane Trail for 2.3 miles, until you reach another trail junction. Then turn right onto Laguna Trail.

Follow Laguna Trail for just a bit less than a mile. You’ll reach a small parking lot at the bottom of the hill; walk through it onto the road and turn left. Then just follow the road until you arrive back at your car, roughly a quarter of a mile.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Low-traffic area. Mostly shaded. Includes several different ecosystems. Beach views.

Cons

No amenities. No dogs allowed.

Trailhead Elevation

105.00 ft (32.00 m)

Highest point

1,206.00 ft (367.59 m)

Features

Big vistas
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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

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