Hike Point Reyes' Chimney Rock
San Francisco › Chimney Rock Trail
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
- 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.
- Athletic Shoes
- Lightweight jacket
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Great Views, Baby Elephant Seals!
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.
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This is a great find. We saw it on the map it was on the way from Mendocino to our next stop, Napa Valley. So glad we took the time to visit.