Estero Trail to Sunset Beach Trail is a 13 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Inverness, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking.

Length13.0 miElevation gain1,414 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingMountain bikingBeachForestViewsWildlifeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

FIRE CLOSURE: As of August 2020, there are closures in this park or area due to wildfire. For more information, please visit https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/conditions.htm Please note that from March 1 through June 30, the park implements closures of Drakes Estero, Double Point, & the western end of Limantour Spit to protect harbor seals during the pupping season. Please avoid disturbing seals to ensure a successful pupping season. First part is through pine forest then out into open headlands. The trail is a bit difficult to follow where the cows have an eating spot. Rolling hills. Nice views. Binoculars helpful to seeing wild life.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (57)
Photos (630)
Recordings (55)
Completed (103)
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philip williams
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Hiking
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Gabriel Bolton
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HikingGreat!

Great trail with some nice climbing. I’m a novice hiker but in pretty good shape. My 10 year old daughter joined me on the hike. It totaled about 10 miles out and back to Sunset Beach plus a detour to Drakes Head.

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John Vantine
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Running

Beautiful, but not ideal for trail running. Trail is rough and hard to follow in some places.

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Ryan H.
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Hiking

Great hike! Lots of ups and downs so be ready for it. Sweeping views with cattle and deer. A few sections along the water but mostly through the plains and brush. The hike to Sunset Beach was a little tricky since the new grass makes the trail somewhat hard to find for a bit. Saw a solitary elephant seal at the end (kept my distance of course)

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Edwin Z
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Hiking

Overall this hike is incredible. It’s like a journey that takes you through plains, forest, the estuary, meadows, and then finally ending up at the beach. However, please be prepared- if you’re going to Sunrise Beach, there is no official trail signs so it’s easy to wander off trail. Keep an eye on your AllTrails map and you should be fine. The beach is gorgeous and you can see tons of animals! Please be respectful of the tide pools, too!

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Cayla Anderson
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Hiking

Meadow: frolicked Cows: moo’d Beach: squelched

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Tammy Sanders and Harlan White
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Hiking
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rahim fazel
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Hiking
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Yana Dugan
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Hiking

A beautiful trail through a patch of forest, hills and meadows, down to the coast. We lucked out as the tide was low and we were able to hike along the coast all the way to Sunset Beach and past it to a nice spot where we had a picnic. The tidepools were fun. We saw a raccoon by one of the tidepools munching on a crab or some other delicious thing, and we also spotted an otter not too far from the shore. Gorgeous day, beautiful hike!

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Sarah Mones Friedman
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Hiking

This was an easy, long trail. I would not call this moderate. From the parking lot the trail leads you into a small grove of pines where you can see lots of different types of mushrooms. Then you come to a bridge where there is an isthmus. I learned that the trail is called Estero as a spin off of Estuary, meaning where salt water and freshwater meet. (Fun fact.) After the bridge, you’ll meander up and down through the meadows among cows and black tailed deer. We followed the trail to the East and South to make our way to Sunshine Beach. There we saw Sea Lions, Anemones and various sea birds. Even saw a starfish! A very diverse bit of terrain, a little crowded upon the exit along the main trail.

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AllTrails User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 29, 2020
Hiking

We have done Estero trail without turning off left to Drakes Head or Sunshine Beach many times. This time we set off to do the Sunshine Beach loop but missed the turn and were very happy we did. Spectacular views at cliffs edge. I wouldn’t want to do this on a hot day and even on a sunny December day we were all stripped down to one layer. But it’s a glorious destination for a clear non windy day.

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Jan Alex
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Bird watchingGreat!

Great! A beautiful hike with rolling Cliffside hills, and views of the amazing estuary. we saw elk right off the trail, and plenty of birds.

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Shalin Trivedi
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Hiking
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Jeremy Meadow
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Trevor Cheitlin
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HikingNo shade
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Rachel Bender
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Hiking

Not closed as of 10/13, but beware there is currently a TON of construction on Sir Francis Drake that will cause delays going to and leaving the trailhead. There are a few spots at the top of the hill where it’s a bit of guessing game as to which way the path really goes. Very few people on a week day morning, gorgeous weather, birds, and cows.

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Sara M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
Hiking

Chilled and beautiful trail. Sunset beach is small but special and a lovely spot to have a swim before the hike out. Quite exposed after the first mile with wonderful views of the inlet, not much elevation change and tonnes of wildlife. Loved it.

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Sara W
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HikingNo shade

I did the Estero Trail to Sunset Trail to the bench, then turned around. I felt this was a moderate trail moreso for the distance rather than elevation, which I appreciated. (For context, my hikes average 8 miles and about 1700 ft elevation gain.) After the initial climb up it's pretty steady. I thought the views were very special and unique to Point Reyes. Getting to the bench, or the "beach," was a little disappointing though; I didn't realize I was at the beach because of the topography (no sandy shore, no lapping water). It wasn't obvious to me you could walk out farther to the water. In my defense, there were so many cows at that point it didn't seem like a trail, lol. Seeing oceanside cows—like, the cows were standing on said beach—was actually pretty interesting of a sight. There are also nice bogs and waterholes along the way. Past the bench it was not what I'd call a trail; I was willing to get wet but it turned into a bog and was so overgrown I couldn't get through it. I couldn't visually place a "trail" past the bench along the coastline, so not sure how that works out! I would bring visitors on this hike so long as they enjoy bay views and would enjoy a lengthy hike of similar terrain along the way. Heads up: the forest in the beginning is quite small and not dense at all, so if you want the forest hike experience, I would look to another trail. Prepare for no shade.

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Michelle Li
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Hiking

Varied and beautiful views. There are large groups of cows on the trail and will sometimes be blocking the path. They are more scared of you if you don’t show fear, keep walking through at a mild pace and they’ll clear the path. They are quite large though. Hike is mostly out in the open. Pros: quiet and secluded but still some people around, lots of different greenery and spotted some wild animals as well, not too many hills, parking lot with very clean bathrooms Cons: there is some cow poo, need to open and close gates that keep the cows in but that’s not too bad

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Jessica Stressin
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Hiking
First to Review

Breathtaking views. The trail was well maintained and the mud was passable. Saw a river otter up close in one of the ponds, along with lots of other wildlife (snakes, hawks, egrets, seals, deer, etc.) The trail disappeared into wetlands past a bench overlooking the beach. I was able to make it onto the beach by backtracking, but I wasn’t sure whether I was on a designated trail or a deer track. At the end of the hike my iPhone said I’d walked 7.5 miles, not sure if that’s from lack of service or because I missed a portion of the trail along the beach. Based on the trail markers it should have been 8 miles to the beach and back.

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Nicole Dupree
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Hiking
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Mitch Kopelman
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Hiking
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Thomas Lee
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Backpacking
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Ari Miller
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Hiking
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Steven Ledbetter
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Hiking
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Torsten Abel
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Hiking
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Tiger UCLA
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Hiking
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Matthew Maier
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Hiking
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Jimi Johnson
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Hiking
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Manjunath Shettar
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Hiking
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