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Destinations

Tomales Point Trail

Tomales Point is an out-and-back 9.7-mile trail at the northern tip of the Point Reyes National Seashore on the western edge of Marin County in Northern California. It offers rolling hills, coastal bluffs, and lots of wildlife; which are plentiful year-round on the trail. Combined with other attractions of Point Reyes, the area offers a chance to see a wide variety of birds, mammals, and sea life. The trail is easy to moderate, depending on your skill level, with several sustained climbs totaling a 1300 foot elevation gain. The final section, stretching past the grove of eucalyptus trees, is unmaintained and soft and sandy in some areas. The area surrounding the trail is full of agricultural history you can't miss — as you drive right through the Alphabet Ranches on the way to the trailhead. It's hard not to get sidetracked exploring other areas of Point Reyes, so if you find yourself with extra time, check out the links below for more information.

Trail Highlights

Wildlife - If you're an animal lover then you know Point Reyes is famous for its wildlife, so hiking Tomales Point Trail won't let you down when it comes to seeing a wide range of species. The trail wanders through a Tule Elk Preserve that can boast a heard of over 400 and the elk are often seen lounging and grazing near the trail. Coyotes and Black-tailed Deer have also been spotted along the trail, as well as California Quail, Turkey Vultures, Ravens, Crows, and many other birds.

History - Sitting at the trailhead is the picturesque Pierce Point Ranch, a landmark of agricultural heritage founded in 1858 as a dairy ranch, and eventually becoming part of the Tule Elk Preserve in 1973. As one of the oldest ranches in the region, Pierce Point offers one of the last surviving ranch houses in the area as well as over a dozen other buildings including a schoolhouse, large barn, and a dairyhouse. The ranch is a perfect place to warm up or meander around the grounds after your hike as the sun is going down and get a window into the history and lives of the people who lived and worked in this area.

Views - There are not many views on this trail that are less than spectacular! The lack of trees and prevalent grasslands helps lead views of rolling hills into Tomales Bay to the east, Bodega Bay to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. All three can be seen together as you make the steep climb down to the point mid-trail. The cliffs to the west let you tower above the rocky beaches while you overlook the ocean, and there are plenty of quiet grassy spots nearby to sit and take in the views.

Things to keep in mind

1. Bring a picnic – When you get to Tomales Point there are a few flat grassy areas that make for a great place to have a picnic lunch before making a u-turn and heading back to the trailhead. If you are lucky, you will have clear skies and views of Bodega Bay, Dillions Beach, and the Pacific Ocean.

2. Be prepared for wind – The north coast can become very windy and the lack of trees on this trail leaves you completely exposed to the elements. Come prepared for unexpected wind, especially when it’s cold.

3. It can get busy – Tomales Point Trail is heavily trafficked despite being the farthest trail to the north in Point Reyes. It’s best to get an early start if possible and beat some of your fellow trail lovers out to the point.

4. No bathrooms – There are no bathrooms at the trailhead, on the trail, or at Pierce Ranch. Come prepared to pack out your waste or use the bathrooms at McClures Beach just down the road from the trailhead.

Suggested daily budget – 50-60 EUR / 52-62 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)

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Additional Resources

National Park Service – https://www.nps.gov/pore/index.htm

Point Reyes National Seashore Association – https://www.ptreyes.org/

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Dirtbag Tea was founded in 2020 by art educator Lela Lunsford and photojournalist Jason Pierce on the principles of living small to live big and exploring what it really means to be a dirtbag. We are more than just another company, we are a family, and we are part of a community. Being environmentally friendly and socially responsible are top priorities as we showcase some of the amazing teas we love and share how we develop our individual creative activities. We want to inspire you and others to minimize your own life while discovering how big you really are.

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