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Tomales Point Trail

MODERATE 475 reviews

Tomales Point Trail is a 9.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Inverness, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
9.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,177 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

views

wildlife

over grown

no dogs

Hike out to Tomales Point with stunning views surrounding you on all sides. An excellent out and back day hike. This open trail offers spectacular views of Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. It is also a prime wildlife viewing trail, as it is remote and the tule elk are enclosed in this reserve. The first 3 miles to Lower Pierce Point Ranch are well marked and maintained, but the last stretch can be overgrown with bush lupine and other shrubs, so long pants and long sleeves are a good idea. The journey all the way to the Point is worth it, for the view is unparalleled. Fog and wind can limit visibility and make this hike more challenging. The Tomales Point Trailhead is at the end of Pierce Point Road, 40 minute driving time from Bear Valley.

hiking
3 days ago

A beautiful and "casual" trail located at the tippy top of Point Reyes. Alltrails listed this as a very heavy traffic trail, which is true - depending on the time and day you are going - try going earlier! My boyfriend and I went on Saturday morning around 8:15 AM and there was about 4 total cars in the tiny parking lot. When we left, around 12:15ish, there was no parking anywhere -- uphill, downhill etc. As we're walking back - there was people everywhere! So come early

For those who do come later, when there is no parking, please be considerate and NOT park on the lanes leading to McClure Beach... these are narrow ass roads already - we don't need your cars blocking the road even more... talking to you Prius and Toyota owners! Huge abundance of these cars blocking roads, not cool.

Also, need a restroom? The parking lot DOES NOT HAVE A restroom - you would need to trek or drive down a short ways to McClure beach parking for the restroom.

The trail itself is very beautiful, the last 2 miles are UN-MAINTAINED!! The plants and wildlife overgrown in these areas, so be prepared to get scratched if you are not dressed correctly or don't care!

To be honest, we both wore shorts and the bushes didn't bother us too much.

The last few miles also have SANDY PATCHES. Holy crap, walking up sandy that sink your feet is no fun! Just an FYI.

The first 3 miles were amazing. Lots of downhill coastal scenery to be viewed, ocean waves crashing along the cliffs/beaches and rocks, elk everywhere! A bit windy, but with all the hiking - you get warm fast! Bring a jacket just in case there is fog, luckily my trip there was none.

The hike totals about 4.83 miles each way totally 9.66 miles, from parking to the very tip of the rocks where you can see waves crashing along tidal pools. Alltrails says it's moderate and that definition of moderate varies by individuals for sure. The level of this hike will depend on how you generally hike... going back to the parking lot is pure up hill. About 1-2 miles is just up-hill nonstop so be wary of that... suggest to bring enough water!

At the end, after going through shrubs upon shrubs, you are met with beautiful coastal view, you can climb down the lowest of the rocky platforms to get a nicer view -- it was well worth the 3 hour and 41 minute trek.

9 days ago

We spotted elks, deer and coyote! It was a very nice trail with a lot of wildlife.

hiking
10 days ago

A very fun, scenic hike with lots of wildlife (elk, deer, and coyotes) and beautiful coastal vistas. The grades are minimal and fairly far apart so this is more like a vigorous walk than a hike. Once you pass the reservoir and grove of cypress trees, the crowds thin out all the way to the tip of Tomales Point. Bring a jacket - it's always windy, especially the exposed final mile plus of the hike. No bathroom at the trailhead but there is one right below in the McClure Beach lot. Highly recommended hike !

hiking
11 days ago

Wear long pants and bring a jacket if you don't want scratches on your arms and legs. Near the end of the trail, you'll be walking through some prickly brush that goes chest high (if not head high). There's definitely some steep climbs in sand, but the most tiring one is mile 6-7. Super scenic photos of the water breaking onto shore, fields full of wildflowers, and you may even see some elk!

11 days ago

What an amazing trail along the coast! Expect to get sand in your shoes & go through bushes. The weather was perfect, with the cool, crisp air & fog in the morning and as the fog lifted, the sun made everything so visible. Loved all the wildflowers and wildlife. But the views are to die for! It’s one of my favorite hikes yet!

hiking
11 days ago

It doesn’t get much better than this for me. I arrived by 8:45a on a Sunday and more or less had the walk out to myself. It was dense with fog so had a hazy, dreamlike feel to it. I was the only one at Tomales Point which itself is a stunning vista. There was lots of wildlife to see...sea lions, pelicans, crabs, oyster catchers, snails and gulls. By the time I turned around to walk back around 1130a the fog had cleared and the trail was pretty heavily trafficked. Because the fog had cleared though the walk back felt entirely different than the walk out. The views of the ocean and bay are terrific and seeing a herd of elk was fun. Overall a great hike.

hiking
16 days ago

We had a great day in the fog. I look forward to the “chill” and the fog brings it. We wanted out of the Sacramento 100 degrees that is coupled with poor air quality due to fires. Everything else was a plus, Elk, floral color everywhere. My hiking friends watched a Red Garner Snake eat a vermin.
Our time at Tamales Point was treated with Pelicans, Cormorants, Sea Gulls and friendly hikers pleased with rough waters of the Ocean and the mouth of Tamales Bay.

19 days ago

Tonnes of fog. couldn't see the water for most of the hike. Saw some elk.

hiking
19 days ago

Arrived at 9am to get a spot in the lot and then headed up through the fog. Elk are visible along the way and congregate above the pond. Bull elk are up on the ridge. Once you get to the unmaintained portion of the trail, it turns to sand and the brush gets chest high, but it is worth the views at the end. It is usually foggy in the summer.

hiking
24 days ago

This was the longest hike I’ve done in a while (9.4 miles). We saw lots of wildlife, including a coyote, tons of elk and birds. It was a good workout for me, particularly the last part that is unmaintained. The wildflowers are very overgrown and were taller than me, and it took me awhile to hike on sand. But, the views at Tomales Bluff (the end) were amazing. It had been foggy for most of our hike but cleared up right as we got there so we were able to enjoy our lunch perched on some rocks and taking in the beautiful views!

1 month ago

Beautiful hills covered in wildflowers and bluffs all along the path. Seeing the Elk herds are amazing. The last 2 miles or so are not maintained so wear long pants and sleeves - the wildflowers were as tall as me

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail, with plenty of ooohs and ahhhhs, and some minor ouches.. ;)
Wild flowers towards the end of the trail were very clingy. But overall the trail did not disappoint. Prepare plenty of water and snacks, and definitely agree with others reviews, bring a jacket. You will not regret it.
Also, there’s no bathroom at the trailhead/ parking lot. Empty out your bladders before reaching the trail.

1 month ago

Beautiful and mellow hike. Bring a jacket for Tomales Point, it gets chilly! Lots of wildlife to see and wildflowers everywhere.

2 months ago

fantastic hike. timed it perfectly for lunch at the point as the fog cleared to reveal some whales spouting about. wildflowers where just past peak but still outstanding it was a great just shy of 10 mile hike!! loved it!!

2 months ago

Very interesting hike. The trail runs along the ridge line of a peninsula which forms the western side of Tomales Bay. Wild flowers are in full bloom, especially the pink and white radish bushes which are 5 ft high and the sweet smelling yellow lupine. Two negatives: the last mile of the trail out is sand which is tough to walk on. Also, this area is very windy. But the area is unique and Tomales Point is very dramatic, not to be missed. Saw lots of Tule elk and also a bobcat. Total hike: 9.7 miles, 3 hr 50 min.

2 months ago

The wild flowers are surreal!!! super beautiful!!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. Although the last half mile or so is severely overgrown.

hiking
2 months ago

Walked this trail yesterday, and it was absolutely breathtaking. Grey weather with heavy fog and predicted showers probably made it less popular, which was great, it was wonderfully uncrowded for the Friday of a holiday weekend. The elk were astonishing, big bands of does and then gatherings of heavily antlered stags out of a mythical-seeming world. Once past the maintained part, you literally wade through chest-high pink/white wild radish and sweet-scented bushes of tall yellow lupine. (Warning: I did take one crawling tick off me at the end of the walk, even though I'd done a tick-check after emerging from the overgrown section on the way back.) Dark blue native iris, lower to ground blue lupine, and other wildflowers were also still out. Well worth it to go all the way out to the end and down a ways toward ocean, staying away from the unstable edges. The full walk with a few quick stops for photos, sandwich, gazing took 4.5 hours at my usual (entirely unexceptional) pace. This would be a great trail for a runner, also.

hiking
2 months ago

We’ve hiked here twice and this is definitely one of the prettiest trails we’ve ever been to! The wild flowers at time of the year are unreal! Highly recommended in any time of the year, but especially spring time!

2 months ago

Got there around 9:30 on a Saturday which was good to avoid major crowds. Wind in the beginning was super strong and cold. Trail started to warm up halfway through, wildflowers are head-high and really overgrown so walking through them was a trip. Views were beautiful and got to see multiple herds of elk.

2 months ago

An easy going trail with slight elevation gains and descents. Plan on hiking 10 miles plus as the trail is marked for 9.4 round trip. Add a few tenths for exploration. It was gusting 20-30 mph on April 30th. Tons of waist to chest height flowers to walk through towards the end of the point. Had a blast taking photos of all the Tule Elk. Will definitely be back when the flowers bloom again. Will be posting photos soon.

3 months ago

Better than any picture or words can describe.

3 months ago

Great trail. Beautiful views. Loved seeing the elk, coyotes and wildflowers along the way. Only downside was that I went on a Saturday morning and there were a lot of people on the trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Me and my wife did this hike on a Monday afternoon, so not crowded at all. GORGEOUS views at first, but ironically enough, a thick fog rolled in later in the evening as we were heading back. There are beautiful wildflowers all along the trail as well as many many elk that seemed to not be fazed by hikers. The trail is very well maintained except for the last mile or so. And make sure to wear long pants or boots. There is quite a bit of loose sand on the trail that filled my tennis almost instantly.

hiking
3 months ago

Perfect afternoons weather

3 months ago

Amazing wildlife here - saw about 100 he'll, salamanders, a gopher, a bunch of birds, a seal - wildflowers, beautiful cliffs - wonderful all around

3 months ago

Beautiful hike, lots of flowers and tule elk. VERY busy trail

3 months ago

Big fan of this hike. I usually start just before sunrise. Beating the influx of hikers ensures you'll see the elk still resting pretty much everywhere along with coyotes, owls and several other animals. Shhhh, don't tell nobody! :)

3 months ago

We started around 1pm on Saturday, the traffic was quite heavy, but the views totally still worth it. We went with 2 little kids, the first 1-2 miles are quite manageable and you still get to see a lot. We saw lots of elks and wildflowers, gorgeous! The wind can get strong sometimes, so make sure to dress properly.

3 months ago

Pretty beautiful

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