Point Reyes to SF backpack 2016-05

Memorial Day weekend I backpacked from Point Reyes to San Francisco, in part along segment 9 of the American Discovery Trail (ADT), but with several side trips and alternate routes.

I took Amtrak, AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit, and Marin Stagecoach to Bear Valley Visitor Center on Friday, then walked in to the Point Reyes Hostel along the Wittenberg, Skyline, and Laguna trails. I enjoyed the night there, enjoying the quiet. This is the only hostel I know of with no cell phone service and no WiFi. Not to mention berries just ripening nearby.


Saturday I walked out on the Coast Trail, north a bit to Limantour Beach, waded into the surf, and then proceeded south along the the Coast Trail and ADT route. At Bear Valley I stuck to the Coast Trail rather than ADT, and walked out to Wildcat Camp for lunch. Then inland along the Stewart and Greenpicker trails, down to Olema Valley Trail to the Randall Trail, up onto Bolinas Ridge and then south. This day I saw far more reptiles, lizards and snakes, than I usually see along the trail. It is strange to see the redwood forest up on top of the ridge when it doesn’t really exist lower down. I camped in a brushy spot with a view of Stinson Beach and the ocean beyond.

In the morning it was foggy and became more so during the day, but the walk through grasslands with scattered oaks and California Bay Laurel is one of my favorites even when the view is obscured. Rather than following the fire road down to Redwood Creek, as the ADT route does, I went down through Muir Woods on the Bootjack Trail. I’ve not been in Muir Woods in about 40 years. Being Memorial Day weekend, there were so many people it was difficult to walk along the wide path, and there were car parked along the road all the way to Muir Beach, even though there is a shuttle available.


Of course I had to take the side trip to Pelican Inn for a beer. I then continued along the Coastal Trail through Pirates Cove (an incredible loss and re-gain of elevation, to no end), down to Tennessee Valley, and up to Hawk Camp for the night. The camp is in a grove of conifers, and they captured and rained down fog moisture all night long, though outside the grove it was dry. The sound of rain on my tarp is a good tradeoff for no stars.

Monday I walked down to and across the Golden Gate Bridge, and on into the city. Ate lunch with cheese and vegetable juice from Trader Joes and Acme sourdough bread from the Ferry Building, then took the San Francisco Bay Ferry to Oakland Jack London, and caught the train home.

The public lands in Marin county are pretty incredible, and I will continue to do backpacks in that area. Unfortunately the agencies have provided almost no backcountry camps, and the lands are not in general open to camping, so that means I have to sneak around and keep a low profile. Well worth it, though.

My previous trip on this ADT-CA-9 segment, walking from San Francisco to Point Reyes.

Photos on Flickr


When I did this ADT-CA-9 segment in November 2013, I missed the last portion of it, forgetting to turn my Motion-X GPS back on again after a break. I hand-drew the missing part, but it wasn’t very accurate. This trip I created a track for just that portion, and added that to the original track, using Adze. I’ve also made the track available on AllTrails as a map, for those of you who use that service. Though AllTrails has undergone some improvements, it still suffers from a lack of logical consistency and organization.

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