One of the most popular trails in all of Point Reyes is the easy, but crowded, out-and-back 8.2-mile Bear Valley Trail that leads from the Point Reyes Bear Valley Visitors Center to Arch Rock. Instead of following the crowds, take the trail less traveled and earn your seaside picnic lunch with this 12.5-mile loop. This loop from the Point Reyes Bear Valley Visitors Center adds a couple miles and a bit of elevation to the standard Bear Valley out-and-back hike, but it also adds views. BIG TIME VIEWS!

Starting at the Bear Valley trailhead, take the Mount Wittenberg trail and begin your climb up to Mount Wittenberg, the highest point in the area. The steep switchbacks will lead you through a lush fern-covered forest, before reaching a clearing and the first ocean views. You can choose to take a short jaunt to the top of Mount Wittenberg and check out the views from 1407ft. After taking in the views (and returning from the top of Mount Wittenberg), briefly connect onto the Sky Trail before heading steeply down the mountain on the Woodward Valley Trail.

As you work your way down the Woodward Valley Trail, you’ll slowly wind down to the water while admiring jaw-dropping views of Sunset Beach and the cliffs to the north before taking the next switchback and getting equally stunning coastal views to the south. This stretch of the trail offers some of the best views in all of Point Reyes.

After connecting to the Coast Trail, take the short detour to Kelham Beach and spend some time lounging on the pristine white sands and admiring Arch Rock. Once you’re sufficiently relaxed, head back up to the Coast Trail and continue south until you reach the Bear Valley Trail. Take the Bear Valley Trail for a flat 4-mile creek-side walk back to the Point Reyes Bear Valley Visitors Center.

The Trailhead:

The Bear Valley Trail is the wide fire road that begins when the Bear Valley Visitors Center Road ends.

The Route:

From the Bear Valley Trail, take the Mount Wittenberg Trail. Go to the top of Mount Wittenberg and then stay straight to connect to the Sky Trail (do not go towards Sky Camp). Take the Woodward Valley and then head South on the Coast Trail. Take the short path to Kelham Beach before continuing South on the Coast Trail. Connect to the Bear Valley Trail and take it back to the Point Reyes Bear Valley Visitors Center. Visit the National Park Service for a great map of the trails around the Bear Valley Visitors Center.

Other details:

Parking: Parking lot

Fee: No fee

Restroom: Flush toilets at the trailhead