Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bear Valley Trail to Arch Rock in Point Reyes NS

What a great idea I had to wake up today at 6am and head out for a hike to Point Reyes NS before the rest of Californians wake up. In these early morning hours it took as only 1h 10min to get to the trailhead located at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. On top of that, on the way to our destination (Arch Rock) we encountered only 3 other human beings. For comparison, on the way back we met close to 50 people...

The trail leading to Arch Rock is called "Bear Valley Trail" and is 4.1-miles long (one way). The trail starts directly behind the Bear Valley visitor center and it follows Coast Creek through the beautiful green forest all the way to the beach and Arch Rock. The trail is very pleasant and well maintained. Perfect for families, strollers, bigger groups and handicapped in wheelchairs. I guess because of that it is very popular and hence I would strongly recommend hiking it as early during the day as possible. At the end of the trailhead you get rewarded with great views of ocean, nearby beaches and cliffs.

If you would like to see Arch Rock from up close you will need to scramble down on a rather steep and often slippery rock. Still, it is definitely worth the (minimal) effort. Bare in mind however that this part of the trail is only accessible during the low tide (yet another reason to hit the trail early - at this spot the tide is usually the lowest at around 6-7 am).

It took us 3h 15min to hike this 8.2-mile long trail, which included 20-30 min break to enjoy the arch.

It was a very foggy day today, which did not discourage thousand of runners from participating in SF Marathon:

First views of the ocean at the end of the trailhead:

Monika and the northern coastline of Pt Reyes Park:

Coast Creek:

Anil crossing the Coast Creek to get closer to the arch:

First views of the Arch Rock:

Scrambling down to the "beach", or what is left of it...

Arch Rock at different angles:

Beach next to Arch Rock:

And another arch rock there, hardly visible due to upcoming tide:

And, yes, I am looking forward to waking up at 5:30am tomorrow...