Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sky-Bear Valley Loop at Point Reyes National Seashore

Hike: Sky-Bear Valley Loop
Hike Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult (only due to distance)
Hike Distance (Round Trip): 10.5 miles
Time (Round Trip): 4-5 hours

Back in July (yes, I am very behind on updating the blog with all our summer adventures!), we spent the afternoon at Point Reyes National Seashore in Sonoma County. It was shortly after we moved back and was such a perfect reminder of why we love it here and want to live here.

We started out our afternoon with lunch at Station House Cafe in Point Reyes Station. We had a delicious lunch in their very pleasant outdoor seating space, before heading the additional 10 minutes or so to Bear Valley Visitor Center.

There is A TON of hiking to do in Point Reyes National Seashore area and many of the hikes start in other places. However, we wanted to hike the 10 1/2 mile Sky-Bear Valley Loop that starts right at the end of the parking lot at the visitor center. The national seashore website provides one option (and a couple of side trips) for the loop route. We spoke with a ranger who recommended a slightly different route, and that's the one I'll describe here.

We started at the Bear Valley trailhead at the very end of the parking lot. The Bear Valley trail is a wide, very well maintained and pleasant trail. Before spraining my ankle again, I had thought this trail would be a really good one for trail running.

After 0.8 miles on Bear Valley Trail, we turned right on Meadow Trail. Supposedly, this is a more pleasant hike over to Sky Trail than Mt. Wittenberg trail. Meadow Trail and Sky Trail were my favorite parts of the hike. Talk about magical.


After 1.6 miles on Meadow Trail, we turned left on Sky Trail and quickly came upon the most enchanting part of the hike. The fog was coming back in, the trees were towering above us, and it was like a dream. 

We hiked 3.6 miles along Sky Trail, eventually seeing views of the coastline although they were limited by the high fog. This loop hike is already 10 1/2 miles. Although the park website suggested a side trip to Arch Rock, we decided it was time to head back to our car. We turned left on Bear Valley Trail to complete the loop. 

 Fields of Crocosmia

 Sweet Peas will always remind me of our wedding day!

Spiderweb Art

Muted coastline

When we arrived back in the visitor center parking lot, we were startled to see this guy "blending in" with the U-Haul truck. Is he the biggest heron you've ever seen?!

A week after this hike, we headed back out this way to check something off our bucket lists: a bioluminescence kayaking tour on Tomales Bay! I didn't take any pictures, but oh my goodness! It was incredible. I highly recommend making reservations with Blue Waters Kayaking for a night time paddle to experience the bioluminescence. 

I still have two posts left about our cross country hiking adventures, but I needed a break from that to focus on where we live now! Feeling so fortunate to be here and feel like we are finally settling in. Plus, we are heading back out to Point Reyes this weekend with a good friend, so I had it on my mind!

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