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We closed out National Park Week with a proper hike to Point Reyes National Seashore. When I say “proper”, I mean the kind of hike that leaves you glued to the couch. With a bag of chips within easy reach and an IV of wine.
It started off as a trip to Mt Tamalpais, but somehow (my fault) became a sojourn to Muir Woods. Of course, it was packed and there wasn’t any parking left at 10.30am.
Luckily all roads lead to Point Reyes (not actually true).
National Park Week
During National Park Week, all park entry fees are waived so that everyone can visit, enjoy and learn more about their parks.
It usually coincides with Earth Day, on April 22, and this year it began on April 15 and ends today April 23. So if you don’t already have plans today, get to the National Park Service website and find your nearest park.
Point Reyes National Seashore
The Point Reyes National Seashore is fantastic park for families with children. Stop off at the Visitor’s Center first and get acclimated with the area.
It’ll also give you a chance to check out the native animals and the “kids” can even play with a few bits and pieces and learn about the animals.
If you’re not into hiking or picnicking, there’s always the drive out to the lighthouse and whale watching at this time of year.
Arch Rock Hike
Enough larking about, it’s time to hike!
There are lots of great short hikes around the Visitor’s Centre that are perfect for kids. You can camp, and there’s plenty of place for picnics and bike riding.
We were feeling a little more hike-ready though, so when a ranger suggested the Bear Valley trail out to Arch Rock, we didn’t ask how far it was or how long it would take.
It turns out that hike is exactly 18.7 kilometres (11.6 miles), out to the coast and back. Yes, it was a long hike by our standards, but it was a pretty one.
The wide track takes you through rainforest dotted with ferns, meadows of lush green grass and wild flowers, and twisted forest that reminded me of Fangorn.
That’s all before the trail becomes sandier, the vegetation changes completely, and the cliffs stand before you.
Tragically, Arch Rock collapsed in March 2015, killing a hiker and critically injuring another.
All About Point Reyes
- Use the National Park website to plan your trip.
- The Bear Valley Visitor Center is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm and from 9am to 5pm on weekends and public holidays.
- Point Reyes Seashore is free, unless you’re camping.