Situated on the eastern edge of Point Reyes Peninsula, 40 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the blue waters and sheltered coves of Tomales Bay State Park are a popular destination for a day of picnicking, hiking or water-oriented activities. The beaches and east-facing slopes of this 2,000-acre park are especially attractive because they are protected from the prevailing winds by the high backbone of the Point Reyes Peninsula. The day-use park features four gently sloping, surf-free beaches, protected from winds by Inverness Ridge, the backbone of the Point Reyes Peninsula. The park has hiking trails and is a popular place for picnicking, swimming, clamming and boating. Dogs are not permitted on the beaches or trails. The park includes forests, beaches, field, hills, meadows and marshes - each with its own plant life, including varieties of trees, shrubs and wildflowers. The weather varies greatly. Be prepared for cool, damp and windy weather. Dressing in layers is recommended. The park is open from 8am to Sunset.

This is a great trail for the casual hiker. About 95% of it is hard packed dirt with a layer of pine needles or leaves, which is easy in the joints and peaceful on the ears. The gain in elevation is managed by a grade that’s enough to let you feel like you’ve earned your lunch, but not so much you think you’ll lose your breakfast. That being said, I won’t do this one again. I hike primarily for the views and this trail is so heavily wooded that there really aren’t any. However, if you like that rain forest feel, complete with ferns and Spanish moss, this one is for you.

Beautiful hike. Downed trees make it a bit difficult to pass in a few spots, but mostly very well maintained. Started at 8 AM and saw maybe 3 other hikers the entire time. Beach is a nice payoff at the halfway point. I think I would reclassify as moderate, but still doable for most.

hiking
2 months ago

Scenic Views and nice leisure hike

nice moderate hike, especially for kids

Loved this hike, but from where we started, Hearts Desire Beach, the hike was about 4.5 miles one way and probably around 3.5 on the way back. Seems like there are a few trail options to choose from and it's easy to mix/match/mix them up. We chose the trailhead on the eastern end of Hearts Desire beach and took that to Pebble Beach (which was beautiful, no one there except a school of stingrays!) and from there took the Johnstone trail to Shell Beach. Shell Beach is accessible from somewhere other than where we came from as there were quite a few people on the beach when we arrived (and there was a staircase leading off to another trail). We somehow ended up taking an alternate trail back which was only partially the way we came and was shorter. Overall the route we took was a beautiful moderate hike with some elevation change but nothing too challenging. Shaded hike with many microclimates along the way- wear layers of course! We went to Marin Sun Farms for burgers afterwards but saw many people bbq'ing their own at Hearts Desire :)

hiking
Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Easy trail. Not too much hikers on a labor day weekend. Bonus is hearts desire beach is nearby.

hiking
Sunday, February 28, 2016

We hiked the Shell Beach trail. The hike was very easy and short only a little over a mile out and back. The San Andreas fault line runs through Tomales Bay. The view from Shell Beach is very panoramic. We went at low tide when the rocks on the beach were covered with mussels. It's a nice short hike and the beach is a good spot for a picnic or fishing ;)

hiking
20 days ago

hiking
5 months ago

on Shell Beach Trail

5 months ago

8 months ago

8 months ago

hiking
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

hiking
Saturday, September 24, 2016

hiking
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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

hiking
Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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