Backpacking: Coast Camp at Point Reyes

Backpacking coast camp 1

The Hike

Two mile easy hike through tall brush. The highest point of the trail is halfway there, about 300 feet higher than the start or end. The last time I was there, I realized I left something in the car, so I just hiked back and got it. That was a year after my knee surgery and I wasn’t in great shape, so yeah, easy hike.

You want to park at the Laguna Trailhead, but that parking lot fills up often. Don’t be surprised if you end up parking a quarter mile away along the road. It is still an easy hike.

You can also start at the Limantour Trailhead, but check the tide tables for your hike in and hike out times, because the beach portion of the trail can be soggy or underwater.

Why Go Here?

The beach! If you make it a two-night campout, there is great day-hiking up and down the coast, plus a challenging hike to the summit of Mount Wittenberg. That summit is part of the Rim of the Bay patch series.

A campfire on the beach is a great way to end the day, but dress warmly because the wind off the Pacific Ocean can be really cold any time of year.

Backpacking coast camp 2

Reservations and Planning

Getting a reservation is the hard part. Plan on being a sniper and making a reservation six months to the day before your planned outing. Log on and make that reservation before your morning coffee is finished brewing. Start checking a few days before to make sure you understand the system and the earliest date.

Based on two visits, campsites 8 and 9 were very windy, and sites 13 and 14 were a bit more sheltered. I would expect sites 1-7 to be less windy. We had Scouts looking for rocks to keep the lid from blowing off of the pot. Of course, they were set up on top of the raccoon box at a convenient height. I set up my stove on the ground in the lee of the raccoon box.

A permit is required for beach fires, get one at the visitor center—Beach Fires Within Point Reyes National Seashore – Point Reyes National Seashore (U.S. National Park Service).

The hardest part of the trip may be driving to Point Reyes on a Friday or Saturday. On Friday, you may need to leave after lunch to avoid the traffic across the Golden Gate Bridge. Plan on having all the cars stop at the visitor center to regroup. You’ll need to pick up your camping, parking, and fire permits there anyway.

Links and Resources

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