Nature & Science
As wildland habitat is lost elsewhere in
Even if you can only visit here for a day, you will begin to see what we have at Point Reyes National Seashore and how it works. As you drive through windswept Bishop pines, hike up
Their placement began with ancient geologic forces that created the bedrock and soils. Particular characteristics in these soils determine which types of plants can survive in different locations. Hills, valleys and exposure provide further discrimination for plants depending on their sunlight needs and tolerance to winds. Nothing is random in what you are observing -- plants grow where they can survive forming the foundations of all other life including our own.
During your exploration you may also catch a glimpse of some of the animals that make their home here. Wildlife abounds throughout the Seashore. Along the coast you may find marine mammals such as whales, seals, and sea lions. A closer look reveals an abundance of bird life feeding near the tideline. Back in the forest, you may glimpse a bobcat, coyote, raccoon, or skunk scurrying off. We also have plenty of deer and elk to be seen.
Take time to explore
Current inventories document approximately 80 species of mammals, 85 species of fish, 29 species of reptiles and amphibians, and thousands of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrate species. Nearly half the bird species of
The animal life found at Point Reyes National Seashore is as varied as the landscape. Whether you choose to hike the mountains or stroll along the shores, keep your eyes and ears open for a chance to experience nature at its best.
Point Reyes National Seashore is a jewel in the California Floristic Province - one of 25 regions of the world where biological diversity is most concentrated and the threat of loss most severe. Unique geology, soils, and climate conditions make for a highly variable landscape within a relatively small land base. The Seashore encompasses over 70,000 acres of dunes, sandy and rocky beaches, coastal grasslands, Douglas fir and Bishop Pine forests, wetlands, chaparral, and wilderness lakes. The broad range of plant communities supports over 900 species of vascular plants - pretty amazing! This number represents about 15% of the
As native systems have been altered in other areas of
Unfortunately, 292 of the plants within the park are not native. These include a wide variety of grasses in the pastoral zone, South African capeweed, scotch broom, pampas grass, and trees such as eucalyptus, cypress, and Monterey Pine. Invasive non-native species tend to spread very rapidly and out-compete native plants for scarce space and resources. To curb the tide of many of the Seashore's non-native invasive plants, volunteers are recruited to remove the most threatening species.
Environmental factors shape the landscape, habitats, and species of Point Reyes National Seashore. Sometimes environmental changes are part of the natural processes that have always driven change to the peninsula (geologic activity) and sometimes these changes are natural processes that have been modified by human activity (fire regime and global climate change). Several of the environmental factors are being monitored by either National Park Service staff or researchers from other agencies or universities. The goal of monitoring is to gather information for its’ inevitable use in science-based decision making.
Natural Features & Ecosystems
Point Reyes National Seashore is blanketed with subtle natural features nestled over a variety of ecosystems. The overriding natural feature is the presence of the eastern San Andreas Fault that bisects the geologic peninsula from the rest of the
Encircled by this rich assemblage is a mosaic of ecosystems arranged by factors such as geologic foundation, climate, and exposure. While there are dozens of ways to classify and name the exact type of ecosystem, the broadest and closest category places Point Reyes National Seashore into a Mediterranean Ecosystem.
Plan Your Visit
Point Reyes National Seashore was established to preserve and protect wilderness, natural ecosystems, and cultural resources along the diminishing undeveloped coastline of the western
Located just an hour's drive from a densely populated metropolitan area, the Seashore is a sanctuary for myriad plant and animal species and for the human spirit — for discovery, inspiration, solitude, and recreation — and exists as a reminder of the human connection to the land.
Whether you are a frequent visitor to the Seashore or planning your first visit to the park, we hope the information provided here will answer questions you may have.
Point Reyes is located approximately 30 miles (50 km) north of
Public transportation to the
Operating Hours & Seasons
The park is open daily from sunrise to midnight throughout the year. Overnight camping is available by permit only.
Visitor Center hours are as follows:
The Bear Valley Visitor Center is open on:
Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Weekends and holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Lighthouse Visitor Center is open:
Thursday through Monday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Lighthouse stairs, the exhibits in the lower Lighthouse chamber, and the
Thursday through Monday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Lens Room is open (as weather & staffing permit):
Thursday through Monday, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
All Lighthouse facilities are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is open on:
Weekends and holidays, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays through Fridays.
All Visitor Centers are closed December 25. Visitor Centers may close at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Call 415-464-5100 for hours of operation on these holidays.
Fees & Reservations
No Entrance Fee is Charged at
$15/night/site for 1 to 6 people
$30/night/site for 7 to 14 people
$40/night/site for 15 to 25 people
Shuttle Bus Fees
$5.00 per person for anyone over 16 years of age
On weekends from late December to mid-April when the weather is good, the west end of Sir Francis Drake Blvd is closed to vehicle traffic. Shuttle buses transport visitors to the lighthouse and Chimney Rock areas. Shuttle tickets may be purchased at
Things To Do
here are many activities in which visitors may participate during their trip to
Many first-time visitors arrive at Point Reyes National Seashore thinking that they can see everything here within a few hours, or at most in a day. Those who have visited Point Reyes have realized that to really explore
Point Reyes National Seashore also has a very active volunteer program. Volunteers are a vital part of protecting and preserving
Things To Know Before You Come
When planning a family vacation, a weekend get-away or even just a Sunday drive, it often helps to know what you will encounter at your destination. This section will assist you in determining how you will get around Point Reyes National Seashore, what sort of weather conditions you may encounter, and what to look out for that may pose a threat to your safety. You can also find out where in the surrounding communities you can eat and sleep or camp, and obtain other amenities you may desire. If you wish to bring along a pet, the pet will limit where you can go and the activities in which you may participate. It's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Park Regulations so that you don't inadvertently break any laws.