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Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock Trail Head, California

based on 4 reviews



1.82 miles

Elevation Gain

151 ft

Route Type



Added by Tyler Drake

Chimney Rock is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore. This hike is great for taking a ton of wildflower shots and getting coastal views. Duration: 1-2 hours.

Chimney Rock is a 1.8-mile out-and-back, single-track trail. The trailhead gets crowded (even on weekdays) with amateur and professional photographers, as well as nature lovers clutching field guides. Hikers seeking a quiet nature experience may wish to look elsewhere. The display is impressive, though. Carpets of flowers such as goldenfields, blue-eyed grass, and mule ear sunflowers, are dramatic against a backdrop of cliffs receding sharply to the ocean. 

There are two short official trails, one which drops down from the trailhead to the historic lifeboat station, and a second which runs out to a bluff overlooking the ocean. From the overlook near the trailhead, elephant seals can sometimes be glimpsed during winter, their mating season. In spring, bring binoculars to spy on migrating whales.

Getting Here:
From San Francisco, take the 101 north over the Golden Gate Bridge. Take the exit for Lucas Valley Blvd. Continue along the road as it becomes Nicasio Valley Rd. Make a left onto Pt. Reyes Petaluma Road and head through Point Reyes Station. Take Sir Francis Drake Blvd when leaving Point Reyes Station and take this all the way to Chimney Rock Rd and the trailhead.  

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Chimney Rock Reviews

The landscape here is striking. A beautiful part of the California coast, be sure to stop at Point Reyes.



I visited Chimney Rock in mid-April. The wildflowers weren't as impressive as I found at Tomales Point, but there were plenty to see. There have been cliff fissures at Chimney Rock so there are signs everywhere warning hikers to stay on the main trail. On the hike back to my car I noticed elephant seals on the beach at the Lifeboat Station. I detoured down that trail and found a pile of baby elephant seals playing and basking in the sunshine. A fence separates you from the beach, and signs warn to give the seals space. There is also a short hike from the same trailhead as Chimney Rock that leads to a large beach full of elephant seals in the spring months. The view isn't as close as the seals at Lifeboat Station, but there are many more of them.



There are 2 benches at the end of the trail where you can take in the view. Bring your lunch or a snack with you and take it all in.

Bring a jacket. Always seems to be windy along this stretch of coast.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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