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Point Reyes National Seashore Backpacking

Trip Length 3 Days
Group Size 4–12
Activity level
Starting from
$1,149 for REI Members
$1,249 for non-members
Departures Jul 2022-Oct 2022

Beginner and seasoned backpackers alike can marvel in the beauty, history and ecological diversity of Northern California’s Point Reyes National Seashore.

Point Reyes National Seashore has long been a place shared by wildlife, native people, ranchers and explorers. Minimal elevation gains paired with a comfortable campsite complete with potable water and a privy make this route accessible for first-time backpackers. A broad range of habitats including ocean, grassland, upland forest, shore and estuary, plus the chance to see rare tule elk and a variety of seals make this a trip of a lifetime for any backpacker.

Backpacking through Point Reyes gives us the opportunity to be fully immersed and relaxed, and choosing to go guided takes that to the next level! Our local guides are eager to share the park’s rich and unconventional history, and they’ll help us identify the abundant wildlife we encounter. Our days will be spent hiking to overlooks, waterfalls and along beaches. At night we camp just a short stroll from the beach and the mighty Pacific Ocean, where we can relax around a fire and reminisce about each day’s adventures. Look no further if you’re seeking three days of relaxation and exploration!

After just a short beach hike from camp we approach Alamere Falls

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy three days of backpacking in Point Reyes National Seashore, just outside of San Francisco
  • Hone your backpacking skills with the help of local guides
  • Relax, swim and explore from our beachside campsites
  • Hike on the beach to Alamere Falls
  • Watch for abundant wildlife including banana slugs, bobcats, tule elk and seals

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. On two days 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. During the middle day of the trip, we leave our heavy gear at camp and hike with only light daypacks for up to 12 miles, 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

Experienced guide leadership and instruction; meals as noted on the daily itinerary; group camping gear (as noted on the trip Gear List); roundtrip van transportation from San Francisco to Point Reyes; all associated campsite and permit fees.

Accommodations

Backcountry Camping, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Point Reyes National Seashore Backpacking
Day 1

Journey to Point Reyes National Seashore and hike to the Pacific Ocean

Our adventure begins early this morning in San Francisco, where we meet our fellow hikers and guides. After a brief orientation, pack check, and distribution of group gear we head north towards Point Reyes National Seashore. After a short drive through the city, we cross the Golden Gate Bridge and head into the hills and country leaving the hustle and bustle behind. Before entering the park we take a short break in the charming town of Point Reyes Station for a bakery treat (gluten-free and vegan options available). We then pop into Bear Valley Visitor Center for a visit before we hit the trail. Today’s hike takes us on beautifully maintained trails with gentle elevation changes and spectacular views. Our campsite for the next two nights is perched in a valley overlooking the Pacific Ocean, just a short walk from the beach. Tonight we enjoy a hearty meal in camp and, weather permitting, a fire on the beach. A morning snack, lunch, and dinner included.

Backpacking: 7.6 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,757’ / -1,864’; Van transfer 1.5 hours

Day 2

Water you waiting for? Lakes, ocean and waterfalls!

Our morning starts with a delicious guide-prepared breakfast and hot drinks before starting our adventure. Today’s schedule is dictated by the tides and your desire for adventure. We like to start the day with a hike on the beach to Alamere Falls, a true highlight of our adventure. This afternoon we have the option to hike as far as Abalone Point, where we’re rewarded with spectacular views stretching along the whole western coast of Point Reyes National Seashore. Our route to Abalone Point takes us through beautiful hedgerows, alongside picturesque oceanside lakes, and into old growth forest. This evening in camp we take time to relax and unwind. You might enjoy a walk along the beach searching for driftwood, a dip in the ocean, or simply time to watch the sun dip below the horizon. Weather permitting, we gather around a beach fire to reminisce about our adventures before turning in well fed, relaxed and content. 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 journeying to San Francisco

It’s hard to fathom waking in such a picturesque site while being only 30 miles from the heart of San Francisco! After breakfast and hot drinks, we collectively break camp and head back into the rich forests of Point Reyes National Seashore. As our muscles loosen, we quickly shed our morning layers and climb away from the beach into the hills. Our hike takes us through some of the most beautiful and thick forests within the park and finishes back at the Bear Valley Visitor Center, where we take time to clean up and collect borrowed gear. We do our best to have you back at the host hotel by 4:30pm, and recommend booking flights that leave no sooner than 9:00pm. Breakfast and lunch included.

Backpacking: 7.2 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +903’ / -849’

Itinerary map for Point Reyes National Seashore Backpacking

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.

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.

    Terms & Conditions

    • Offer valid on selected 2022 REI adventure travel trips booked 6/24/2022, 12:01am - 7/4/2022, 11:59pm Pacific Time.
    • Offer valid only for trips departing 7/1/2022 - 9/30/2022.
    • Offer is valid only for published 2022 departures of Zion & Bryce Canyon Cycling, Pinnacles National Park Hiking & Camping, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM Backpacking, Smoky Mountains Backpacking – Blue Ridge Parkway or Shenandoah NP Adventure U35 trips, Shenandoah National Park Adventure, San Juan Island Hopper – Hike & Kayak, Grand Canyon Backpacking – South Rim – Hermit Rapids Loop, Grand Canyon Backpacking – South Rim – Women’s Hermit Rapids Loop, Point Reyes National Seashore Backpacking, San Juan Islands Women’s Cycling Weekend.
    • Space is limited. Offer valid until trip capacity is reached.
    • Offer is not transferable and not redeemable for cash.
    • Offer may not be combined with any other discount or promotion.
    • Pricing may vary by date. Discount applies to trip base price only. Discount does not apply to any additional fees, extensions, or services.
    • 20% discount applies on top of REI member and non-member pricing. REI membership is required to receive member pricing. 
    • Not a member? Get a lifetime membership for a one-time fee of $30 in-store, over the phone at 1-800-426-4840, or online at www.rei.com/membership .
    • REI adventure travel trips are not eligible for the Co-op Member Reward. 
    • To order by phone, call 1-800-622-2236 | Monday-Friday, 7am through 5pm PT.