Point Reyes National Seashore Backpacking | Under 35

Trip Length3 Days
Group Size4–12
Activity level
Starting from
$1,149 for REI Members
$1,264 for non-members
DeparturesDec 2023-Dec 2024

Explore the picturesque rocky headlands, windswept sandy beaches, and thick coastal forests of Point Reyes National Seashore on this 3-day backpacking adventure.

Escape the Wi-Fi and daily stresses of life and take in some of the most stunning views along this pristine section of the California Coast. Keep an eye out for tule elk grazing near camp each morning and sink your toes in the sand while you watch the sun set over the Pacific each night. Revel in the symphony of sounds surrounding you, the comforting crackle of a campfire, the thunderous waves breaking on the shore, and the infectious laughter of friends, all blending to create the perfect soundtrack for your restorative weekend.

This trip was designed specifically for beginning backpackers aged 18–35, but more experienced backpackers and anyone 18+ can join! Learn how to properly pack, balance weight, and fit your backpack. Ease into the rhythm of backpacking while hiking on well-maintained trails with moderate elevation changes. Camp with comfortable amenities (vault toilet and potable water) while still enjoying the solitude of the backcountry.

This quick getaway will leave you feeling recharged, rejuvenated and ready to plan your next backpacking adventure!

Allow the sound of surf and smell of salty air to wash your worries away.

Trip Highlights

  • Spend 3 days backpacking the picturesque Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Perfect for novice and experienced backpackers alike!
  • Learn or expand your backpacking skills with expert REI guides
  • Hike to one of only two coastal waterfalls in California
  • Watch for abundant wildlife including tule elk, bobcats and seals


This trip is rated Moderate [3]. On Days 1 and 3 of the itinerary participants will be carrying their own backpacks weighing 35-45 pounds for distances of 7-9 miles over varied terrain including dirt/rock trails and sandy beach, with elevation gain/loss up to 1,800'. On Day 2 we hike with only light daypacks for up to 12 miles and elevation gain/loss up to 1,800', with options for shorter hikes. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip, we strongly encourage participants to be involved in a training regimen at least 2-3 months prior to departure. Most important to your enjoyment of the trip is your overall fitness level.

  • Backpacking

What's Included

Professional instruction and guiding; meals as noted on the daily itinerary; see this trip's Gear List for details regarding any equipment that may be provided for your use during the trip; campsite and permit fees; transportation to/from host hotel and trailheads.


Backcountry Camping, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Point Reyes National Seashore Backpacking | Under 35
Day 1

Meet in Oakland and begin our backpacking adventure

We meet our guides and fellow backpackers in the lobby of our host hotel this morning in Oakland, CA. After introductions, we load up the van and begin our drive north towards Point Reyes National Seashore. If you didn't have time for that second cup of coffee this morning, worry not! We are making a stop in Point Reyes Station for some mouth-watering baked goods (vegan and GF-friendly). After fueling up on scones and croissants, we make our way to the Bear Valley Visitor Center with time to explore before our guides distribute group gear and present a packing demonstration. As soon as our packs are ready, we hit the trail! Divide Meadow affords us an amazing location for lunch before continuing down trail, enjoying the thinning crowds & feeling the sublime wilderness of the area. If your workday worries haven't all melted away yet, the sound of surf and smell of salt air should do the trick. Once we arrive at our campground, we set up our home for the next two nights, then head down to the beach for an evening stroll while our guides prepare a delicious dinner for us. Weather permitting, we sit around a campfire on the beach as the milky way begins to light the night sky.

Backpacking: 7.6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,757’ / -1,864’; Van transfer: 1 hour

Day 2

Freshwater lakes, waterfalls and a beach sunset over the Pacific Ocean

This morning, the smell of a hot breakfast will coax us from our tents in anticipation of another exciting day together. We've got lakes and a waterfall waiting for us but we're in no rush. One of the beautiful things about being in nature is acquiescing to the flow, and on this day we do just that as the order of our adventures is up to the tides. One of our hikes takes us into a dense forest, through coastal pine tunnels and past sparkling freshwater lakes, while the other finds us strolling along the beach to the base of Alamere Falls, a 40-foot waterfall that plunges into the ocean—one of only two coastal falls in all of California! After our day of adventure, we return to camp for dinner and soak up one last sunset on the beach. All meals included.

Hiking: 2.7 miles round trip to Alamere Falls, Elevation gain/loss: Minimal; Optional hikes: Up to 8.7 miles, Elevation gain/loss: Up to 1,869’

Day 3

A final day of backpacking before returning to Oakland

Today we must say goodbye to the solitude of Point Reyes Seashore, but more great hiking awaits! After breakfast, we take down our tents, load our packs, and hit the trail. Our hike begins with a climb from the seashore up into the surrounding friendly hills and continuing through the quiet forest, enjoying the peaceful solitude only nature can afford. Look out for banana slugs along the way as we return to our trailhead and ultimately make our way back to Oakland where our journey ends... but where plans for our next adventure together begin! Breakfast and lunch included.

Backpacking: 7.2 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +903’ / -849’; Van Transfer: 1 hour

Itinerary map for Point Reyes National Seashore Backpacking | Under 35

Gear List

This gear list has been created to help you choose the best equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff. The weather and other conditions at the time of your arrival will dictate what clothing and equipment you will be required to use each day and what (if anything) can be left behind. It may be a necessary precaution that you bring certain items on the list, even if it is uncertain whether or not they will be needed.

Already booked this trip? Sign into your online traveler profile for a more detailed list of what you'll need.

REI members can shop for gently used gear online or at most REI stores. Members can also trade in pre-loved used gear online or at any REI store in exchange for REI gift card credit. Check out Re/Supply at REI to learn more.

Provided by REI

  • All Group Cooking Gear
  • Group First Aid Kit
  • Stoves and Fuel
  • Tent(s)
  • Trekking Poles
  • Water Filter

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (800) 426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

Trip specifics may change over time. Reviews reflect the version of the trip that was active at the time the reviewer took it. Please review the itinerary as described above and call our team for any additional details.