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Sky Trail and Bear Valley Loop [CLOSED]

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Point Reyes National Seashore

Sky Trail and Bear Valley Loop is a 10.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Point Reyes Station, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 10.5 miles Elevation Gain: 1,692 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

closed

no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information. A very rewarding loop option that starts from Bear valley Visitor center. Experience breathtaking vistas along the way. Take the Sky Trail to Bear Valley Trail for this loop.

hiking
3 months ago

Spectacular day to hike! A few wildflowers slowly emerging through the chaparral and fields, soon to burst in color and life! Spring is here!!!

hiking
6 months ago

Great trail that I tracked at exactly 11 miles...hike solo and did it in 3:15. Only a few stop for photos. Up Mt Wittenberg is a 2 mile all uphill grind but if you it first the next nine miles are very enjoyable. Sky trail is very well maintained and not heavily trafficked so it is a very peaceful and relaxing 5 miles to the coast with some great views just before you connect to Coast Trail for .5 miles. Bear Valley is heavily trafficked and a major route for weekend capers going to the coast. It is an easy, sun protected 4 mile walk back to your car. A very nice mixed terrain with several nice views at the midpoint if it’s a clear day...enjoy...I will do it again!

backpacking
6 months ago

The trail was very beautiful, and quite difficult on the way back when we used the Meadow Trail to cross over. Overall great time, nice weather.

hiking
8 months ago

80% within the forest with a “Jurassic Park” feeling and, 20% on top of it with nice views of the ocean. Moderate, not hard, incline is not too bad.

hiking
8 months ago

Great day to hike but very hot!

hiking
muddy
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

no benches, hence minus 1 star

hiking
Thu May 23 2019

So fantastic I shan’t not believe it.

hiking
Sat May 04 2019

Sierra Club backpacking hike - nice and reasonably challenging

hiking
Mon Jan 07 2019

Really nice hike, but be forewarned that it's very popular from the trailhead to the 4th junction (about a mile from the confluence with the shoreline trails). Having said that, we saw 3 groups closing out the loop on the sky trail, making for a very strange but pleasant juxtaposition. We also did the short spur to the Kahlem (?) Beach. It's only 0.5 miles each way, and pretty much made the hike. The beach was beautiful, and we shared it with 3 other groups, 6 people in total. As can be inferred, we did the loop clockwise. What's nice about that is that the majority of the uphill is the first section of sky trail. From there to just below Mt. Wittenberg is flat to slightly uphill, really easy cruising. However, the least enjoyable part of the trail was from just below Wittenberg back to Bear Valley. It's relatively steep, and for me that's not very fun. I'd much rather do sections like that as uphill than downhill. If you're like me in that preference, then do the loop counterclockwise. A last note on the rating: I think 5 stars is rare, personal preference. Not everything is "amazing". I originally gave this 4 stars, then thought again. We did this in the middle of "winter", therefore there were no flowers anywhere. Given how much of this is under significant cover I'm gonna guess there's never many flowers, but others had commented on it, so I guess there might be nicer times to do this. I think it's a solid 3-star hike, however on the ultimate test (would I do it again?) the answer would be "no". It's not a bad hike by any means, but there's tons of other stuff to do. So it was great doing it, no regrets, but there's nothing amazing. Closest was the beach, and technically that's not part of this hike, as it's laid out.

hiking
Tue Dec 04 2018

A good work out- 22.7 kms from Olema Campgrounds and back. Walked the extra 0.2 mile to the summit of Mt Wittenberg but no view? Tried to get to the Arched Rock outlook but the trail has been covered in slashed branches to prevent passage. Very good quality trail but needed more views of the ocean. Still a good work out.

Fri Jun 22 2018

Mt Wittenberg and Sky Camp will give you some nice climbing and amazing vistas. Bear Valley is a nice 4-mile amble back to the visitors center. Sky Trail is a nice mix of sun and shade. Bear Valley is basically all shade. Couldn't find a marked trail down to Arch Rock, so I'm wishing I would've accounted for that and built a loop with Kelham in it. Heads up: plenty of poison oak on sky trail.

Wed May 16 2018

love this combination of trails - challenging, beautiful.

Tue May 15 2018

Awesome loop, especially if you op for meadow trail. Has a nice ascend

hiking
Tue Nov 14 2017

Incredible changing scenery. Go clockwise for fewer inclines.

hiking
Sun Jul 16 2017

Hike was great. Sky trail is really narrow with lots of poison oak though. Make sure to wear good hiking pants.

hiking
Mon Sep 28 2015

I hiked this loop on 9/26/201, starting on the Bear Valley Trail and all the way to the coast (4.5 miles). I did not say Bear Valley to Arch Rock because the spur trail to Arch Rock was closed "indefinitely" due to the rock slide that killed a hiker in May of 2015. The Bear Valley trail is mostly shaded and the first 3 miles are in fact a wide forest road. I then followed the Coast Trail North, stopping first at Kelham Beach (snack) and then at Sculpture Beach (Lunch). Both beaches were deserted when I go to them. After a while (20/30mn) a few people got there too...but nothing resembling a crowd. Kelham is much bigger than Sculpture and therefore can accommodate more parties w/o feeling like Ocean Beach or Stinson Beach. The Coast Trail section is mostly exposed (think cap, sunscreen and sun glasses....). After about 3 miles on the Coast Trail, I took the Woodard Valley Trail which goes up and up and up (affording sweeping views of the point Reyes seashore) until it reaches the Sky Trail. That section is fully exposed for the first half and then enters a forested area that offers refreshing shade on a hot day. The trail is often quite narrow (which thick vegetation on both sides) and there was a bit of traffic, including horseback riders. The rest of the trail, all the way back to the parking lot offers good shade. There are several options to drop down from the Sky Trail back to the Bear Valley trail on the way back: Baldy, Old Pine, Meadow, Mt Whitttenberg... I decided to go as far North East at possible, which meant continuing on Z-Ranch trail and coming back down on the Horse Trail. I finally returned back to the parking lot via the Morgan (Ranch) Trail that borders the horse facility (Morgan Ranch). All said, just a bit over 16 miles. A lot of walking for a day, but the Coast Trail portion, the beaches and the views climbing up the Woodard Valley trail are really worth the effort.

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