Pt Reyes Lighthouse-Chimney Rock-Elephant Seals & Tule Elks

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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This wonderful ride goes through the gorgeous Pt Reyes National Seashore on Sir Francis Drake Blvd to Pt Reyes Lighthouse. The route includes a short scenic jaunt out on Chimney Rock Rd to the Elephant Seal Overlook Area and the Historic Lifeboat Station at Drakes Bay.

Begin this ride from the Earthquake Trail parking lot at Pt Reyes National Seashore Bear Valley Visitor Center.


Exit the parking lot and head north on Bear Valley Rd; the short climb is followed by a nice flat stretch along the eastern edge of Pt Reyes National Seashore with views of the low marshlands and wooded greens.

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

Enjoy the views of Tomales Bay!

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

The road drops down to a Y intersection, 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.

The road winds along the bay pass Historic G Ranch, circa 1869.

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

The flat road continues out past Historic F Ranch towards Bull Point Trailhead with views of Creamery Bay.

The road continues with a series of climbs and descents towards Historic E Ranch with splendid views of Drakes Estero.

The road rolls up, down and around the expansive pastoral lands to the Pt Reyes Lighthouse/Drakes Beach junction.

Turn right to stay on Sir Francis Drake Blvd towards the lighthouse-the road opens up with beautiful coastal views!

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.

Look around and watch for Tule Elks along the top of the ridge!

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 9-12%.

Sir Francis Drake Blvd rolls on top of the ridge to the parking lot with fabulous ocean views! Go through the closed gate for the climb up to the Lighthouse.

Enjoy the gorgeous ridge top vistas!

Lunch stop at the observation deck; enjoy the views!

Exit the lighthouse and reverse the route back onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd to the Chimney Rock junction.

Turn right onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd east to Chimney Rock Rd; the road leads to the eastern-most point of the headlands to the Historic Lifeboat Station. The rolling terrain drops you down towards the parking lot at Chimney Rock Trailhead.

At the Y junction; turn left and follow the narrow gravel trail to the Elephant Seal Overlook area.

Enjoy the views of the Northern Elephant Seal colony at Drakes Bay!


Exit the seal overlook area back to the Y junction-go straight on Chimney Rock Rd, the road drops down to the Historic Pt Reyes Lifeboat Station.

More Elephant Seals!

Return on Chimney Rock Rd towards the trailhead parking lot; it’s a steep climb with 10-14% grades!

Turn left onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd; the rolling terrain leads back to the lighthouse junction.

Go right on Sir Francis Drake Blvd-return through 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. Sir Francis Drake Blvd continues on rolling terrain back to Historic E Ranch.

The road gently rolls along the coastal meadows and grasslands to Historic G Ranch.

It continues along Schooner Bay and returns through the wetlands for the gentle climb back into 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.

Return on Bear Valley Rd back to the Bear Valley Visitors Center.

This is a spectacular ride out through the scenic Pt Reyes National Seashore! Enjoy one of the most beautiful rides in Marin County on the long endless remote road which seems to go on forever to the middle of no-where! Watch for Tule Elks and the colony of Northern Elephant Seals around Drakes Bay-you’ll love it!

Garmin Stats:
45.6 Miles with 3694′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 579′
Max grade: 14%
Terrain: Moderately hilly with a few steep climbs

Weather: Partly sunny skies. Temps ranged from the mid 40’s to the high 50’s with SE winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Pt Reyes Lighthouse

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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