Keeping It Real
Hike The Shore of Tomales Bay
With San Andreas rocking the box office, there’s been a lot of conversation about the the destruction this faultline can cause… is it all just Hollywood? (Umm, yep.) Walk along the real San Andreas Fault in a setting that beats any Hollywood backdrop: Point Reyes National Seashore. Explore the west side of Tomales Bay on a 2.7-mile loop hike featuring beautiful shoreline and bay views. Starting from the Jepson trailhead in Tomales Bay State Park, meander for a mile on a gradually descending trail covered in pine needles. Cross over pavement, and continue on the trail until it meets with Johnstone Trail, where you’ll find a grass bluff with picnic tables and grills overlooking the bay. Take a short detour to sandy Heart’s Desire Beach (where you can swim out to a pontoon raft), before returning to Johnstone Trail and heading south to parallel the coast for another 0.4 mile. Take a second beach break at Pebble Beach, where there are fewer people and you’ll have a chance of spotting bat rays feeding along the shoreline. Both Hearts Desire and Pebble Beach offer a terrific vantage of the rare and ancient metamorphic rocks in Point Reyes, known as schists. These porcelain-like rocks can be found in the cliffs along both beaches and exemplify the unique geology along this side of the bay. The final 1.3 miles of the Johnstone Trail are uphill, canopied by bishop pines.
BONUS: Make a stop at an iconic shipwreck found at the end of a 100-meter trail starting from a gravel parking lot behind the Inverness Store. Despite its mysterious history, this ship, which is more of a big boat, has been preserved due to its curious location on the shore of Tomales Bay.
To reach the start of Jepson Trail, drive north on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. through Inverness and turn right on Pierce Point Rd. Follow the road for 1 mile to a turnoff on the right, which is the unmarked Shallow Beach Rd. A gravel parking lot with free parking marks the trailhead, where you will see a sign for Jepson Trail. NOTE: In the final 0.5 mile, the trail crosses the road twice. After the first road crossing, stay straight on the trail (do not take the left turn). After crossing the road for the second time, be sure to make a left turn, to the west towards the sign for Pierce Point Road to complete your loop. No dogs!
Bring the Outdoors to Your Inbox
Sign up for our weekly email and stay up to date on where to explore in California.* No spam, that’s a funky food!