Point Reyes Lighthouse

Saturday, September 13, 2014

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This metric century route heads out from Nicasio to the wide open coastal prairies and grasslands around Pt Reyes National Seashore to the windiest place on the Pacific Coast; the Pt Reyes Lighthouse at the western-most point of the Pt Reyes Headlands.

We begin the ride at Nicasio Square in Nicasio.

Nicasio Valley Rd stretches 3.2 miles along the Nicasio Reservoir through the open pastoral lands and valley meadows to Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd.

Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd continues along the NW side of the reservoir with gorgeous views of Black Mountain.

Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd drops down through the shaded canyon onto Platform Bridge Rd. The flat to rolling terrain on this quiet back road leads us Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

The climb up Olema Hill to the top of the Bolinas Ridge is 0.8 mile with an average grade of 7.4%.

The road quickly descends through the Golden Gate Nat’l Recreation Area onto CA-1 N to Olema with fantastic views of the dense forests and open ridge top!

A short jog on CA-1 N takes us to Bear Valley Rd; this back road runs along the east edge of Pt Reyes National Seashore with views of the low marshlands and wooded greens.

We continue on Sir Francis Drake Blvd to Inverness; the road hugs the shoreline along Tomales Bay through the tight residential and business community around Pt Reyes National Seashore.

The climb up Inverness Hill to the summit on Inverness Ridge is 0.9 mile with an average grade of 8.7% and steep pitches maxing out at 11%!

At the bottom of the descent at the Y intersection, we continue left to stay on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. The flat terrain on this road goes along a creek that flows out to Schooner Bay at Drakes Estereo.  It winds along the bay pass Historic G Ranch.

The short pitch up from the ranch takes you out to the open grasslands and coastal scrubs out to Bull Point Trailhead.

The road continues with a series of climbs and descents towards Historic E Ranch. Grazing dairy cows dot the landscape throughout the open pastoral lands. Enjoy the ridge top views of Drakes Estero!


The rolling climbs on Sir Francis Drake Blvd leads to the junction at Drakes Beach Rd. Enjoy the gorgeous coastal views of the headlands!

Sir Francis Drake Blvd winds around and drops down to Historic C Ranch; watch out for the cattle guards!

It continues on rolling terrain through the coastal meadows and pastoral prairies dotted with grazing cattle.

The road descends quickly towards the stock pond followed by a bumpy stretch over the cattle guards to the Historic B Ranch.

The road continues pass the ranch to a steep mile long climb with gradient ranges of 9-11%; the coastal views from the top are spectacular!

The road goes along the top of the ridge followed by another climb; it begins at the junction with Chimney Rock at Historic A Ranch; it’s half an mile with gradient ranges of 9-11%. 

Sir Francis Drake Blvd rolls on top of the ridge to the parking lot with fabulous views of the Pacific Coast!

We go around the closed gate for the climb up to the Lighthouse. The ridge top vistas are stunning!

Lunch stop at the observation deck; enjoy the views!

There was a barn owl perched up on the wind swept cypress tree-WOW!


We reverse our way out of the lighthouse back onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd to Historic A Ranch.

The road pitches up for a short climb followed by a fast descent to Historic B Ranch.

At the cattle guard crossing, Sir Francis Drake Blvd kicks up for a climb back up to the ridge before dropping down to Historic C Ranch.

The road winds up along the ridge for another climb up to the junction at Drakes Beach Rd.

We spot several Tule Elks roaming the coastal prairie-WOW!



Sir Francis Drake Blvd continues on rolling terrain back to Historic E Ranch with phenomenal views of Drake Estero and Tomales Point!

The road gently rolls along the coastal meadows and grasslands to Historic G Ranch. We continue along Schooner Bay and return thru the wetlands for the gentle climb back towards Inverness.

The short climb on Sir Francis Drake Blvd is followed by a very fast descent with a couple of tight turns-use caution! The road continues on a gentle rolling descent back through Inverness.

At the Y intersection, we stay on Sir Francis Drake Blvd and take CA-1 N into Pt Reyes Station for a snack stop at the Bovine Bakery.

The short climb up CA-1 N leads us out of town to Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd. Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd winds along the north edge of Golden Gate Nat’l Recreation Area and the south base of Black Mountain; it gently follows the curvatures of Lagunitas Creek. The terrain is mostly flat with one short pitch up to Black Mountain Ranch.

At the colored bridge, we continue NE on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd to the Spillway climb; it’s 0.5 mile with an average grade of 5%.

Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd flattens at the top at Nicasio Dam. The road goes around the reservoir with great views of the blue waters and golden hills.

The flat terrain on Nicasio Valley Rd continues around the reservoir into Nicasio.

This is a spectacular ride out through the beautiful scenic Pt Reyes National Seashore to the Lighthouse-it’s a whole different world! Today’s weather was absolutely perfect for a ride out to Pt Reyes Peninsula; sunny blue skies with warm temps and mild winds. We even saw some Tule Elk-it can’t get any better than this!

Garmin Stats:
62.33 Miles with 4245′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 531′
Max grade: 11%
Terrain: Moderately Hilly with a couple of steep climbs

Weather: Sunny and warm with temps ranging from the high 50’s to the high 80’s. SW winds with 88% humidity

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile


Follow this route for today’s ride:


  1. Thanks for the ride! The pictures really show the great scenery.

    Carole, This ride out to the lighthouse was phenomenal-the weather was absolutely perfect! Nancy


  2. Thanks Nancy. I’m enjoying your rides vicariously from the Central Valley and hoping to join you one of these days!

    Lois, Thanks-email me if you’d like to get together for a ride! Nancy


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