What’s Best: A scenic, alternative way home from West Marin, via the historic railway line route along the east shore of Tomales Bay.
Parking: From Hwy 101, take Lucas Valley Rd. or Novato Blvd. to Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Rd. and turn left, or west, to Point Reyes Station. Go north on Hwy. 1. Note: Although several walks are included, this trailhead is more of a driving tour, with distances given going north from the Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Rd. Agency: Tomales Bay State Park; GGNRA; Marin County Parks
EAST TOMALES BAY MAP SAN FRANCISCO Photo Gallery
Millerton Point to: Sieroty Beach (up to .75 ml.), or Millerton Point Hike: loop (1.25 ml.); Marconi Conference Center (up to .75 ml.); Audubon Cypress Grove-Sealy Trail (.75 ml.)
In 1875 the North Pacific Coast Railway laid narrow-gauge tracks for 15 miles down the east shore of Tomales Bay, making it possible to roll the tonnage of dairy products to burgeoning San Francisco rather than haul goods via stagecoach or risk the precious cargo on the seas. The line served West Marin until 1930. The highway pavement now covers the track bed, but the shoreline scenery remains the same: open water, boatworks, fishing docks, cottages, and parklands.
Millerton Point part of Tomales Bay State Park features a pastoral head facing the bay’s open waters and a sheltered beach. Parking: Millerton is about 4 miles north of Point Reyes Station. Alan Sieroty Beach, an underrated sunning spot, is just down from the parking area, with a long strip of sand facing toward Inverness. For the Millerton Point loop, veer right from the fence line, heading north across the grassland and reaching the north-facing bluff in a little more than .25-mile. The trail then curves around the point. More Stuff: Tomales Bay Oyster Company is on state park lands, about 1.5 miles north of the Millerton Point parking. Also, lands east of the highway are part of the state park.
The Marconi Conference Center is a State Historic Park, with buildings that date from 1913 when the American Marconi Company used this site as a link in its “wireless girdle around the world.” Parking: Marconi is located up the hill to your right about 3 miles north of Millerton Point. The center’s 62 hillside acres, with stately Bishop pines overlooking the bay, may have you thinking of Monterey.
About 3 miles up the coast from the historic park, and a mile north of quaint Marshall, is the privately held Audubon Canyon Cypress Grove Preserve.
The preserve is bordered on the north by a parcel of State Park land, and on the south by a small parcel of the GGNRA. The Carolyn Sealy Livermore Trail, which commemorates the founder of the Marin Conservation League, leads northward from the preserve. Contact Audubon Canyon Ranch for access information.
Miller Park Boat Launch is a 6-acre county park at the north end of Tomales Bay. It’s right next to Nick’s Cove, a salty bar and restaurant known for its barbecued oysters. You can also walk the eucalyptus-shaded bluff above the boat park, along a .5-mile stretch of GGNRA lands.