EXPEDITION PLANNER: Point Reyes National Seashore, CA
Drive Time: Point Reyes National Seashore is 35 miles (about 45 minutes) north of San Francisco.
The Way: From San Rafael (10 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge on US 101), take the Sir Francis Drake Highway west for 22 miles to CA 1 at Olema. Turn right, then make a quick left onto Bear Valley Road to reach park headquarters. For the Palomarin trailhead, go 9 miles south on CA 1 to the Bolinas turnoff and turn right and then right again on Mesa Road. Continue 5 miles to the trailhead.
Trails: More than 140 miles of trail cover Point Reyes. For the best combination of solitude and scenery, start at the Palomarin trailhead and make a loop of about 15 miles using the Coast and Ridge Trails.
Elevation: The high point is Mt. Wittenberg at 1,407 feet; the low point is the Pacific Ocean.
Can’t Miss: A night on the coast at Wildcat Camp and a morning walk along the beach to nearby Alamere Falls.
Crowd Control: The Coast and Sky Camps receive the bulk of overnight guests. Use the Glen or Wildcat Camps instead (a reservation and fee required).
Guides: Point Reyes, by Dorothy L. Whitnah (Wilderness Press, 800-443-7227; www.backpacker.com/bookstore; $12.95). Point Reyes National Seashore is a 1:48,000 U.S. Geological Survey topo map of the park (888-ASK-USGS; http://ask.usgs.gov; $7).
Walk Softly: Western Marin County is a tinderbox, especially in early fall. Wood fires are prohibited at campsites and driftwood fires are permitted only on the beach below the tide line.
Contact: Point Reyes National Seashore, (415) 663-1092, www.nps.gov/pore.