Wildflower Season and a Beach Hike in Point Reyes

April 7, 2007

california poppies at point reyesSpring naturally brings a bounty of beautiful wildflowers to Marin, but the window of time in which to see them is short. Perhaps the best place to see them in the county, if not the Bay Area, is Point Reyes National Seashore. Take a drive out to the beach at Point Reyes and see stunning wildflowers that blanket the hills in colors such as yellow, purple, pink, orange, and white. I always like to point them out to my kids and talk about the beauty of them, in hopes that they grow to appreciate them too. One of our favorite beaches at Point Reyes is Kehoe Beach, which is not only a wonderful family friendly beach, but one that offers a stunning array of wildflowers on the surrounding hillsides and meadows as well.

Park on either side of the road near the trail head. There are pit toilets at the entrance to the trail head area, as well as a big flat expanse of stone that was used by local Coast Miwok Indians to grind acorns for food. You can still see depressions in the rock worn by their grinding. The trail to the beach is a little over a half mile (.6 miles, to be exact), so it’s an easy walk for all. A backpack carrier for babies and toddlers who can’t walk that far is a must, since jogging strollers will have a hard time on the narrow trail and get stuck in the sandy hill that’s just before the beach itself. Take time during your hike to check out all those wildflowers, including blue and yellow lupines and California poppies, as well as birds and the occasional deer or other critter.

The beach itself it flat and wide, with some nice sheltered areas to get you out of the wind. Kids can run around the vast expansive stretch of sand and look for driftwood, kelp, and shells. This is also one of the few beaches out at Point Reyes that allow on-leash dogs, so feel free to bring Rover or Spot along as well, although please keep in mind that the part of the beach south of the trail is off-limits to your canine pal. Here's a cool virtual panorama of Kehoe Beach from the bluffs above, to give you a better idea of the whole experience (Quicktime plugin required).

Caution

As with a lot of northern California beaches, Kehoe Beach not for swimming, with cold water temperatures and, more importantly, a deadly undertow and rip current. Have fun, but keep an eye on children at all times.

Getting There

Getting there is easy: Follow Sir Francis Drake Boulevard through Inverness, then bear right on Pierce Point Road. You’ll pass the parking area and trailhead for Abbott’s Lagoon first (more on that in a future article); the next one you come upon will be the one for Kehoe beach. Parking along the road is usually pretty easy, but on weekends with nice weather it can be a bit tricky to score a spot.

Javascript is required to view this map.