Point Reyes Elk Hike at Pierce Point Ranch

Point Reyes Elk Hike at Pierce Point Ranch

One of the reasons I moved to California was to be more active. As a result I’m always looking for cool new spots to visit and check out while exploring my new home. After hearing that Point Reyes was an awesome spot to visit not only because it was close to The Cowgirl Creamery Shop in Point Reyes, yes you know how much I love my cheese being a good Midwesterner but also because of the amazing coastal ocean views and the awesome Elk you’re able to see during your visit.

After talking about getting to Tomales Bay Katherine and I planned a date. I have her to thank for discovering this amazing hike on a local blogger’s site. The blog shared the best path, the hike conditions and all that you needed to know. Kudos to Kat for finding this amazing hiking spot which we have since returned to a few times and I know I’ll continue to go in the future. A few things to know before you visit.

#1. Be sure to stop in Point Reyes at The Cowgirl Creamery Shop before your hike to grab provisions. Yes I’m a foodie so I’m always thinking about my next meal and there’s no better spot for a picnic than on this hike. Whether you find a spot on the grass overlooking the pond the Elks graze at (shown below), or just take in the amazing coastal views along the path, you can’t go wrong. I like to get picnic provisions at Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes. Bring a blanket to sit on and a cutting board/utensils to cut the cheese, bread and snacks you pick up.

#2. Pack layers. Each of the few times I’ve hiked this site the weather has varied. Once it was extremely foggy upon arriving which then blew over. Another time it was fabulous blue sky’s. Regardless, long sleeves, a windbreaker, a hat and various layers are great to adjust to the weather conditions.

#3 Pack water (a MUST for any hike) and wine (if you’re picnicking). I’ve forgotten wine every time and always wish I had it. Note there is no bathroom and it’s a 10 mile hike round trip so pace your water consumption 🙂

#4. Bring a camera, preferably a nice one with a zoom to capture the amazing Elks and the fabulous Ocean Views.

#5. Pre-plan your driving route. The hike is called Tomales Point Trailhead at Pierce Point Ranch. Visit the California National Parks Service Website for specific directions. It’s fairly easy to find when following navigation. From Point Reyes it’s probably 30 minutes or so. Note that you’re on a very desolate road with tons of farms and cows and not much traffic. Keep going, you’re heading in the right direction. Once you see a few big white buildings (shown below) and an old barn with a small parking lot you’ve arrived!!

#6. Plan your hike distance. It’s about 10 miles round trip (5 miles to the end then you turn around and return back). I’ve done the entire hike and a 7-8 mile abbreviated version.  After you get past the pond (at mile 4 or so) I’ve turned around and you don’t miss much besides another mile further where you then hit the edge of the water and turn around.  This is just a heads up, if you’d prefer a shorter option to the 10 mile entire hike.

Tomales Bay Elk Hike

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IMG_0710The historic Pierce Point Ranch located next to where you’ll park

IMG_0711Beginning the walk (or flat hike) on a foggy day and spotting a local resident

IMG_0668The fog lifting and beautiful ocean views through the fog

IMG_0687About the halfway point (mile 4 of 10) overlooking the pond where the single male elks hang.  Be sure to walk to the pond and see the many elks grazing there. It’s the perfect spot for your picnic!!

IMG_5073Essential picnic provisions courtesy of a Cowgirl Creamery visit. I highly recommend stocking up on provisions in Tomales Bay at Cowgirl before heading out for your hiking adventure! 

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IMG_0714A herd of Elknotice there’s only ONE Male (the one with antlers)

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IMG_5070Spectacular ocean views

IMG_5090The ladies, me, Katherine & Becky

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Tomales Bay Elk HikeThe ladies: Julie, me and Katherine. Both Julie & Katherine are J.S.F. Advisory Board Members

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