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Backpacking at Point Reyes National Seashore

Sampling Northern California's spectacular coastline on an overnight camp-out.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Unknown
Length: 57.5 miles
Duration: Unknown
Family Friendly

Overview:  Point Reyes National Seashore has more natural wonders than you could ever hope to absorb in one day, so you might as well camp out.

... more »

Tips:  To reserve a site, call (415) 663-8054 between 9 am and 2 pm (Pacific time) Monday through Friday. These are the only times... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Bear Valley Visitors Center

Backpacking trips at Point Reyes start at the Bear Valley Visitors Center, where all campsite permits are issued, though you can drive to many trailheads once you've picked up your permit. Be sure to ask park personnel about the safest spots for overnight parking.

The center is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends and... More

2. Sky Trailhead

Sky Trailhead, about 10 minutes' drive from Bear Valley Visitors Center, offers the most direct route to Sky Campground, which is just 1.4 miles from the trailhead on Sky Trail. Note it's a small parking lot so it could be full.

Click this link for driving directions

3. Sky Campground

Sky Camp's 12 campsites often go overlooked as backpackers flock to Coast and Wildcat campgrounds. Sky Camp may not be next to the ocean, but many places in the campground offer impressive Pacific vistas on clear days. Sky is often still available when other campgrounds are booked solid.

Sky Camp is at 1,025 feet, on the windward side of Mount... More

The hostel, about 15 minutes' drive from Bear Valley, is just across the road from the Coast Trail, which offers the easiest access to Coast Camp. Some parking is available here, and along the road near the trailhead. Ask about parking here when you pick up your permit.

Click this link for driving directions

5. Coast Campground

Coast Camps' 14 campsites lie just 200 yards from the Pacific Ocean and 2.7 mostly flat miles away from the Coast Trailhead near the Point Reyes Hostel.

The ease of getting there combined with the next-door Pacific splendor make Coast Camp one of the most coveted backpacking sites on the California coast. Sites here are often booked months in... More

6. Arch Rock

Arch Rock is about four miles from the Bear Valley Trailhead at the western terminus of the Bear Valley Trail. On clear days it offers commanding views of Point Reyes National Seashore, and even when fogged in it'll have a certain mysterious magic.

Note this is one of the most popular locales in the park, so you might be best advised to just... More

7. Glen Campground

Glen Camp's 12 campsites are centrally located in a secluded, woodsy section of Point Reyes midway between the Palomarin and Bear Valley trailheads.

If you spend a day getting pummeled by Pacific winds, Glen Camp could be a nice respite. Shortest hike there is 4.6 miles along the Bear Valley and Glen Trails.

Glen Camp sites may be available... More

8. Wildcat Campground

Wildcat Camp's seven campsites are the closest to the ocean of all the sites at Point Reyes. Some are highly exposed to the wind, so be sure to ask how sheltered your site is when reserving.

The closest attraction to Wildcat Camp is Alamere Falls -- a waterfall that pours into the Pacific all year. Just hike down to the beach and hang a left -- ... More

9. Palomarin Trailhead

This trailhead -- with its large parking lot -- is a favorite of local hikers setting out for daylong explorations of the southerly sections of Point Reyes.

Palomarin is also the preferred starting point for hikes to Wildcat Camp. Unfortunately, there's no way to avoid the necessity of driving to Bear Valley Visitors Center first to pick up your... More