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    Point Bonita

    Marin Headlands (GGNRA), California
    Elevation Gain488ft
    Trailhead Elevation193ft

    Point Bonita

    Perched on a naked fin of rock jabbing into the ocean, Point Bonita Lighthouse is a lonely sentinel with extraordinary views. This hike in the beautiful Marin Headlands follows an easy paved path through a tunnel and over a unique suspension bridge to the lighthouse. While the hike to the tunnel is pleasant, it cannot rival the full lighthouse experience. Prepare for lots of wind as Point Bonita is always blustery. Timing is important--fog blankets the point for days on end during the summer months, making the rest of the year better for a visit. The lighthouse may be closed if wave and weather conditions are too severe.

    From the parking area, follow the paved path below a stand of Monterey cypress. Dropping toward the tunnel, you reach an informative placard detailing the story of the Point Bonita Lifesaving Station and the surfmen who manned it. As you approach the tunnel, the first views north open up and Point Reyes and Bolinas are visible beyond the pounding surf. On the other side of the tunnel, railings protect you from the drop to the rocks below. When you reach the suspension bridge, please observe the five-person limit.

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    Elverta, CA
    Pathfinder | 80 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    This trail was really worth the trip that we made from Sacramento to hike it. Every step has a magnificent view of the ocean and part of it also has a view of Tomales Bay on the opposite side of the trail. But the best part of the trail is all of the Tule Elk that are just off to the side between the trail and the cliffs overlooking the ocean. We saw four groups of Elk numbering 20 - 30 each and got some great photos of them. We had prepared for fog and some rain, but when we arrived at about 10:30am the fog had pretty much burned off and the sun had come out, we could not have asked for better weather, but even if we had hiked it in the rain it would have been worth it to see the elk. There are a few spots that have pretty cold wind so a hood to cover your ears is recommended, but it should be one that can be tied around your waist when it warms up on some parts of the trail. There is a very small lake after about 3 miles that you should try to see because there was a small herd of elk there and we were told that they are usually in this spot. The hike back up from the lake is not bad, my mother-in-law who is in her late 60's with a leg problem made it just fine. I highly recommend this trail to everyone who loves views of the ocean and wildlife.
    Sacramento, CA
    Pathfinder | 65 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    This is a nice easy hike. Don't let the mileage discourage you, it doesn't seem as long as it is.

    Amazing views of the ocean, patches of marine layer and sun intermixed. Mixed vegetation keeps it interesting.

    The scramble down to the falls isn't hard, but we couldn't figure out a way down to the beach. Maybe next time we will.

    Be warned that the last 1/2 mile off the main trail to the falls is not maintained as well as the main trail. There is A LOT of poison oak, as tall as we were. Luckily it had just been cut back recently when we were there, but be advised best to wear long pants and long sleeved shirt through that section.
    Oakland, CA
    Pathfinder | 60 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    Spectacular hike, fantastic views and the trail is in good condition for the most part. Once you get to Alamere Falls, however, the way down to the Falls is by way of vertical grooves that cut into the hillside with nothing to hold onto going down or coming back up. It looked a little too steep for my comfort level, and I couldn't see any other way down, so I didn't attempt going down.
    Sacramento, CA
    Adventurer | 231 pts
    4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
    A very scenic hike except it was kinda foggy when we started. at lunch time it was clear offering great views of tomales bay and the pacific. Be watchful for a lot of brush/overgrowth on the trail about 2/3's of the way in or so. If you wear shorts, you will get a little scratched up. It was pretty chilly for the most part even being the middle of july so a light jacket and pants would be recommended.

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    Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

    Tracy Salcedo-Chourré
    "The scenic drama of California’s coastline, along with facets of San Francisco’s gold rush–era history, is concentrated on the short hike to the lighthouse on Point Bonita." Read more

    Trail Information

    Marin Headlands (GGNRA)
    Trail Guides
    488 feet
    Elevation Gain
    Trail Type
    Skill Level
    193 feet
    Trailhead Elevation
    209 feet
    Top Elevation
    Information, Potable Water, Views

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