What’s Best: Bird watcher’s walks along a creek or marshland with bay views; or stroll a coastal town that is both historic and outdoorsy-chic.
Parking: From central and southern Marin: Take Sir Francis Drake Blvd. or Hwy. 1 to Olema. Go north on Hwy. 1 for 2 ml. From northern Marin: Take Lucas Valley Rd. or Novato Blvd. to Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd.; continue west to Hwy. 1 and jog south .5-mile. Note: Addtional parking noted below. Agency: Marin County Parks; Golden Gate National Recreation Area
POINT REYES STATION MAP SAN FRANCISCO Photo Gallery
Hike: Tomales Bay Trail (3.75 ml.); White House Pool (.75 ml.)
The Tomales Bay Trail takes you over pasturelands at the bottom of Tomales Bay and onto a levee. Parking: Begin about 1.5 miles north of Point Reyes Station on Highway 1, at a signed GGNRA trailhead. Veer left through the pasture and keep left as the trail drops down to a gully and comes up the other side. Then walk right, over a treed point. The .5-mile-plus levee path extends almost to the shore, but allows water flow to create a large lagoon on the south side. To your left, the shallow flats that are the bottom of Tomales Bay, is the Audubon’s William P. Shields Salt Marsh Study Area, accessible just south of Inverness Park.
White House Pool is a 22-acre county park featuring benches on a path alongside Lagunitas Creek. Parking: Drive south of Point Reyes Station a short distance, turn right across the bridge on Drake Boulevard. Continue .5-mile to signed parking on your right. Go right on the trail over a footbridge and through a tunnel of vines and oak trees. Lagunitas Creek was used in the old days to ship rags inland on flat-bottomed boats for pulping at Samuel P. Taylor’s Pioneer Paper Mill; see TH85. White House Pool is known by bird watchers, and by those who come to watch coho salmon spawn.
Walk: Point Reyes Station (up to 1.25 ml.)
When the North Pacific Coast Railway laid tracks to the bottom lands of Tomales Bay in 1875, the stop was called Olema Station. In 1883, a prominent dentist and landowner from Novato named Galen Burdell bought up land, laid out a town site and changed the name to Point Reyes Station. Those who purchased lots from Burdell were prohibited from selling liquor he reserved that opportunity for himself until 1902 when hotelier Salvatore Grandi sued Burdell and won.
The railroad stopped running in 1933, and Point Reyes Station became a quieter dairy town. The popularity of Point Reyes National Seashore has brought B&Bs, cafes and restaurants, galleries, specialty gift shops to join the town’s venerable bars and feed store. Start your Point Reyes Station stroll at either end of A Street, which is the old railway easement. You can then peel off to B and C streets, the only others, to see the large dairy, Point Reyes Dance Palace, and shops that are springing up on back streets. If you’re hungry or looking for gifts, make a point of finding the shops at Tomales Bay Foods (Cowgirl Creamery chesses inside), on Fourth Street. Sort of a Carmel in coveralls and garden clogs, Point Reyes Station has retained its ranching community roots, while becoming the place to be for West Marin’s active visitors. Some visitors come just for the cinnamon buns at Bovine Bakery.
Bike: Tomales Bay Trail is open to bikes, a quick, scenic getaway.