Friday, November 23, 2012

The Wonderful Trails at Point Reyes

We have never been to Point Reyes, but it has always been on my list of places to visit in California.  There is so much history here, Sir Francis Drake landed in 1579 to repair his ship, the Golden Hinde, the Point Reyes Lighthouse was completed in 1879, and the epicenter of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was located here.

But it is funny how, while I have always wanted to visit these areas, running the trails of this National Seashore is what I enjoyed the most.  It has been a month since Beth and I have run on Mt. Diablo, and this was the first weekend since our oldest daughter was born over 10 years ago that we have spent it just us.

We picked up the trail at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.  We followed the Bear Valley Trail, to the Meadow Trail, where we picked up the Mt. Wittenberg Trail where we ran a very fun but technical downhill, and then back to the car.  This also equated to a little under 1,400 feet of elevation gain just under five miles.

I would have to say, this is a very beautiful area to run.  It had been raining up to the point we arrived, so the trail was a bit muddy, but not sloppy.  The uphill Meadow Trail was wonderful.  A lot of ferns, and groves of redwood.  It was very quiet and peaceful.  We came across very few people, which was not surprising with the weather as it was, but when we did, we they were either hiking in to camp at many of the campgrounds in the park.  
The downhill on the Mount Wittenberg Trail was awesome!  Not quite single track, definitely not fire-trail, it was full of ruts, steep drops, rocks to launch yourself off of.  For 2.2 miles, and the drop of the 1,400 feet you just climbed, it was just long enough to make your quads begin to ache but not long enough to take them to the final breaking point.

I would love to know why there aren't any trail running races here.  There are so many trails that it would make an excellent place to host.  I found that between 1995 to 1997, there was the Point Reyes 50K and was somehow related to the Headlands 50K; however, I don't know if it ended because of lack of support, the distance (it is a little out of the way), or if the park decided not renewing the permit or give permission, etc.  But this is an excellent area to have a race.  And since most of the races are concentrated in the Headlands / Sausilito area, there isn't much competition here.

So if there are any Bay Area race directors reading this blog (and there may be a couple),  you might consider Point Reyes for your next event.


  1. That's an area I've never hiked/run before. The most common issue as far as races are concerned is usually parking, but if they have done races there before, it sounds like there is an answer. Maybe the park doesn't want to deal with it, but with all the trail racing companies we have now, it seems like someone would pick this race up.

    1. The parking situation is good at the Bear Valley visitor center, comparable to the Castle Rock parking area. I would definitely run any race there.


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