After grabbing some hiking snacks at the store (and Starbucks), we made our way out to Pt. Reyes and arrived at the trailhead around 8:30 am. The trailhead is conveniently located right next to the Bear Valley Visitor Center so we were able to use some real bathrooms before we started.
The hike is simple - follow Bear Valley Trail until you hit the coast, turn around and come back. Bear Valley Trail is one of the most popular and busy trails but it wasn't too busy at all the day we went which was crazy since we usually don't get the kind of weather we were having that day in January. From studying the map it looks like there are a few other trails you can take that would put you out at Arch Rock that might be less popular but I didn't want to risk getting lost - which I am notorious for when it comes to trails.
The trail was gorgeous! The trail was completely shaded with large pine and fur trees and ran along side Bear Valley creek - which was really moving despite the lack of rain we have had in California. About a mile and a half into the hike you pass a large meadow called "Divide Meadow" and some more bathrooms (crucial for a pregnant lady). For a bay area trail it was flat with a few gentle hills and would be a beautiful, non technical trail to run.
With a little less than a mile to the ocean, the tree canopy starts to recede exposing the trail and Arch Rock came into sight. You can walk out on the top of Arch Rock for spectacular views up and down the coast. We dug into our snacks while we admired the beautiful California coast.
|Views to the right.|
|Views to the left.|
Now technically, the beach is not accessible from Arch Rock but I read before we went that if the tide is low (it was, I checked before we left) there is a little steep trail that takes you down. K found it immediately and started the decent. I was hesitant at first, only because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get up but it really wasn't bad once you started making your way down. It just looked scary from the top. After crossing a little creek we were under the arch! Definitely worth it! The beaches were deserted since they are only accessible to hikers so we had the whole place to ourseleves.
|Is it really January?|
|Looking up at Arch Rock|
After enjoying the beach for about a half hour it was back to the car retracing our steps the exact same way we came.
I definitely would recommend this hike to anyone. I can't wait til I can run again to go out and explore some of the other trails. We had dinner plans near home so we didn't have time to stop but the town of Pt. Reyes looked like it had a bunch of cute restaurants to try. That just means there has to be a next time!
Side note - I am pretty much a sucker for anything "cake batter" or "funfetti"flavored so when I saw these at the store in the morning I knew I had to have them for our post hike treat. They didn't disappoint!
I am a huge proponent of celebrating birthdays and believe everyone should be able to take this one day a year and do exactly what you want - big or small. In addition to this hike, I was treated to two birthday dinners, spoiled with gifts and cupcakes (funfetti of course) at work on Monday. It was the perfect birthday but I am still looking forward to running that Sunday race in seven years when my birthday falls on a Sunday again. :)