Point Reyes Peninsula just has that magic touch. Resembling a huge hand, five bays of commingling salt and freshwater make up Drakes Estero, an estuary megaplex offering expansive views along its 25 miles of shoreline. Experience the fingers of the sea on a varied 8.5-mile out-and-back bike ride to remote Sunset Beach. Begin on Estero Trail, following a wide gravel path to a band of pine punctuated by blackberry brambles and a wooden bridge over Home Bay.
Egrets, ducks, and other shore birds congregate near the rivers and tides swirling below. Dense cow parsnip dominates as rutted doubletrack sharply climbs and undulates above unimpeded views of the Estero, out to Schooner, Berries, and Creamery Bays. At 2.5 miles, continue straight onto Sunset Beach Trail along rolling green headlands and lagoons speckled with pickleweed and pale yellow ice plant (beware of poison oak!). Slim and stony Sunset Beach curls beyond to the right, framed by sweeping views from Estero de Limantour all the way to Chimney Rock.
TIDEPOOL TIP: Time your ride with low tide to explore Sunset’s rocky outcrops and countless pools teeming with anemones, barnacles, sea cucumbers, and kelp.
HIKING OPTION: You can hike this same route.
From Point Reyes Station, follow Sir Francis Drake Blvd. 8 miles to Estero trailhead (map). Hop on your bike, heading down Estero Trail. At 2.5 miles, continue straight onto Sunset Beach Trail. Return the way you came for an 8.5-mile out-and-back ride. Free parking. No dogs.