If you’re looking for all that Point Reyes has to offer in spring, Chimney Rock is the place to be. The 1.75-mile (round-trip) hike to Chimney may be short, but packs a visual punch, quadrupling the viewing thrills during spring and early summer.
The cooler temperatures on the peninsula have just unleashed a bounty of more than 30 species of radiant wildflowers like cow clover, pussy ears, and lupine across the grassy spit. Young elephant seals sunbathe on the multitude of beaches and coves below. Numerous species of birds like the pigeon guillemot, Pacific and common loon, and brown pelican feast on the bounty of fish living off the coast. And the end of the Chimney Rock Trail is a marvel, with panoramas of the coast’s golden bluffs, and a view reaching as far as the Farallons.
Tip: On your return, follow the lower trail past the water tanks and head down to the Historic Lifeboat Station, which first began operating in 1927. Peek through the windows at the Coast Guard cutter that remains stationed there. And you might get lucky and see a group of seals on the adjoining beach!
To reach the trailhead, follow signs for the Lighthouse along Sir Francis Drake Blvd. until a large sign directs you onto Chimney Rock Rd. Parking is limited and the shuttle service is currently closed. For more information, including information about the Historic Lifeboat Station, call the Bear Valley Visitor Center at (415) 464-5100. No dogs.