San Francisco: Limantour to Sunset Beach - Backpacker

San Francisco: Limantour to Sunset Beach

Traverse rolling coastal hills with seabird-friendly estuaries and ranching history on this 14.8-mile out-and-back in Point Reyes. See seals and whales, too.
Publish date:

Mapped by Jack Haskel

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 11.9



Location: 38.0288848876953, -122.882781982422

Go S from Limantour Beach Lot


Location: 38.0281181335449, -122.882736206055

Turn R onto Muddy Hollow Trail near bathrooms and bench; pass banks of small pond. See Limantour Spit to S, stretching into turquoise waves of Drakes Bay


Location: 38.0323829650879, -122.884086608887

Go L over dam on primitive, often-overgrown section of Estero Trail for ascent of 140-ft. ridge offering nice glimpses to the jagged points of the Farallon Islands


Location: 38.042667388916, -122.892967224121

L over drainage basin of Glenbrook Creek to begin climb through eucalyptus trees and the site of Point Reyes' first dairy founded by the Steele Brothers (1857)


Location: 38.0500183105469, -122.896118164062

L @ 3-way


Location: 38.053882598877, -122.90503692627

Cross dam between pond and estuary


Location: 38.0546493530273, -122.905685424805

L @ T (still Estero Trail) skirting the marshy head of Limantour Estero; shorebirds (sandpipers, herons) feed in mud flats


Location: 38.0518684387207, -122.915901184082

Straight @ 4-way near top of 2nd ridge. Pass pond and look out toward lighthouse on Point Reyes headlands


Location: 38.0569343566894, -122.924346923828

L @ T onto Sunset Beach Trail where views open over 4 bluff-framed bays of Drakes Estero; scan for harbor seals on sandbars. In late 1800s, these bays were deep enough for ships bringing cargo to SF's ranches


Location: 38.0435981750488, -122.931564331055

Picnic area along alder-lined creek below ashen cliffs of Drakes Head. Out in foamy surf, mother gray whales guide calves near shoreline during spring migration (late April-early May). Return the way you came

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