July 2, 2011

Abbotts Lagoon - Point Reyes

We camped at Samuel Taylor and Salt Point State Parks over the weekend. Since we were passing right by Point Reyes National Seashore we decided to stop and check out the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Point Reyes National Seashore is located just north of San Francisco. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west, Drakes Bay on the south and Tomales bay on the north. To get there you take the San Anselmo exit on US 101. After driving west on Sir Francis Drake for about 20 miles you turn right onto Highway 1 then make the first left onto Bear Valley Road.  Point Reyes is a popular destination for hikers, equestrians and bird watchers. After looking at maps of the various hiking trails in the park and speaking with a park employee we decided to do the short hike at Abbotts Lagoon. The hike was along a lagoon of course and heads out to the nearby beach. It is in the North District of Point Reyes. To get to the trailhead we drove out of the Bear Valley Visitor Center and headed north onto Sir Francis Drake Highway. We continued on this road until we got to Pierce Point Road past the small town of Inverness and made a right. This is also the turnoff to go to Tomales Bay State Park which we plan to visit in the future. We continued on Pierce Point Road until we got to the parking area for the hike which was on the left side of the road. There was ample parking in the dirt lot and pit toilets nearby. There was a volunteer at the trailhead letting us know about some area closures to help protect the breeding area of the Snowy Plover bird. We started on the trail heading west on a wide flat dirt path towards the lagoon. Immediately we found ourselves surrounded by many wildflowers. The area was calm and quiet with the exception of the chirping birds. We soon saw views of the lagoon to our right. There were a few people on the trail but it was not busy by any means. As the trail narrowed it also beacme more sandy.

After about one mile we came to a short bridge that took us over the narrow part of the lagoon. Just prior to this bridge there was a faint path heading left that would have taken us up a short way to views of the entire lagoon and the ocean. Since it was an overcast day we decided to skip this detour and continue on towards the ocean. We were soon on a wide unmarked path on sand. We made slow progress hiking in the loose sand with our hiking boots  but eventually made to the shore after about half a mile. There were a few people enjoying the view and the sound of the waves. It was cold and windy but we were still able to enjoy the the ocean. We hung around there for a little while before retracing our steps and heading back. On our way back we saw quail and many other birds as well as a deer. It was a nice peaceful short hike with beautiful surrounding flowers and wildlife. It would be great to do it on a day when the skies are clearer and take that short path up the hill to get good views of the coast. The fairly flat hike from the trailhead to the ocean and back was about three miles long and took us about one hour and 45 mintues. We recommend it to anyone visiting Point Reyes National Seashore.


Brian & Ashley's Hiking Blog! September 11, 2011 at 9:57 AM  

Thanks for sharing the pictures. Great shots of the deer and quail.