Bear Valley Trail

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Elevation Gain1,085ft
Trailhead Elevation107ft
Elevation Min/Max91/380ft
Elevation Start/End107/107ft
Bear Valley Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Marin County, California. It is within Point Reyes National Seashore and Phillip Burton Wilderness Area. It is 4.1 miles long and begins at 107 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,085 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. Along the trail there is a bench. This trail connects with the following: Mount Wittenberg Trail, Old Pine Trail, Meadow Trail, Rift Zone, Woodpecker Trail, Glen, Baldy Trail, Morgan and Coast Trail.

Bear Valley Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This is one of the premier hikes on Point Reyes that includes a riparian corridor, lush forest, breathtaking views and spring flowers. Can be wet."

"This hike makes a round trip to the top of Mt. Wittenberg and back. Great views when clear and good wildflowers in May and June. Can be muddy in winter or dusty in fall."

"This hike takes the steepest route to the Inverness Ridge and then follows the ridge to the coast. Great views and magnificent forests. Some mud possible on the ridge."

"This is the best and easiest hike to Inverness Ridge. It provides great views, forest vegetation, good berries and spring wildflowers."

"This hike has it all! Meadows, forests, creeks, beaches, rolling hills, wildflowers and panoramic views all await the vigorous hiker."

"This 3 interpretative trails all have information signs explaining the geology, natural history and Miwok culture."

"Climb shaded paths through a lush forest from Bear Valley to reach Inverness Ridge, travel the ridgeline beneath towering Douglas-firs with views of the coastline, and return along the creekside Bear Valley Trail. To turn this exceptional hike into a full-day excursion through varied terrain and vegetation, you can continue on the Sky Trail along the ridge, take in fantastic views as you descend to the coast, visit Arch Rock, and then stroll back to the trailhead on the Bear Valley Trail. After you climb the ridge, the route is level or descending for the rest of the hike.
Horseback Riding allowed except on weekends and holidays on the Bear Valley, Meadow, and Old Pine trails."

"This variation on the Bear Valley Trail to Arch Rock provides outstanding views from the coastal bluff, a good whale-watching vantage point, and a hillside full of spring wildflowers.
Horseback Riding allowed except on weekends and holidays, Cycling allowed for the first 3.1 miles to Glen Trail turnoff (bike rack available)."

"You’ll get a taste of inland and coastal environments on this short but steep trip to the highest point in the seashore, first in the mixed forest on the eastern flank of Mt. Wittenberg and then on the open seaside slopes. A picnic or rest stop on the 1407-foot summit affords exhilarating views of the coastline.
Horseback Riding allowed except on weekends and holidays on the Bear Valley, Meadow, and Old Pine trails."

"This long hike visits the best of the Bear Valley area. Skirt the seashore’s highest point and then descend to the ocean with great views of the coastline. On the level trail along the coastal bluff look for wildflowers, whales, and sea lions. Before heading inland along a creek, you can visit the dramatic rocky promontory of Arch Rock.
Horseback Riding allowed except on weekends and holidays on the Bear Valley Trail."

"This is the most popular hike on Point Reyes. It is an out and back hike so you can turn around anytime. Great views at Arch Rock. Bicycles allowed part way."

"One of the most popular and accessible routes in the park, the Bear Valley Trail leads through a dense riparian woodland to picturesque Divide Meadow. The journey from the Bear Valley Visitor Center to Divide Meadow is a quintessential Point Reyes experience. If you live near the park, you’ve done it a thousand times. You’ve walked it in the rain, through the fog, and under a blazing Indian summer sun. If you’ve never hiked at the national seashore, this is the perfect introduction. The broad and relatively flat trail, perfect for sharing a conversation with a hiking companion, leads through shady forest to a broad sloping meadow flush with wildflowers in the spring."

"Easy-to-access, fairly level, and exceptionally scenic, this wide trail follows a murmuring creek through a rich forest. Divide Meadow makes a pleasant picnic or rest spot, or even a destination for a short hike. Continue to the coast to visit dramatic Arch Rock. The first part of the Bear Valley Trail is great for bikes, but remember to bring a lock so you can continue to the coast on foot!
Horseback Riding allowed except on weekends and holidays, Cycling allowed for the first 3.1 miles to Glen Trail turnoff (bike rack available)."

"This journey, suitable for the whole family, stays shaded along Bear Valley and Coast Creeks most of the way and then leads to Arch Rock on a coastal bluff, where you’ll admire views of the Pacific Ocean before strolling on a gorgeous beach."

"Explore the full spectrum of Point Reyes National Seashore on this loop hike, which tours the lush forest atop the peninsula’s highest ridgelines, descends past far-reaching views, and then explores the salt-swept coastline before returning inland via Bear Valley. Pitch a tent at Sky Camp and Glen Camp for a relaxing two-night journey; for an overnight trip, Glen Camp is near the midpoint of the hike."

Bear Valley Trail Reviews

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Fantastic hike! We hiked in via Bear Valley trail, which was very well maintained and easy to hike. A few bikers ride down this trail, so watch out. We took a left up to Glen Camp for another few miles and claimed our campground. It was gorgeous, check out the pictures I uploaded.
This is one of the best hikes ever! the scenery is amazing and the trails are both shady and sunny with beautiful ferns and flowers plus ocean views. Great on a cool overcast day.
We hiked this trail in mid November. The fog and the mist added to the atmosphere. The views were magnificient. The meadow on Bear Valley trail was a nice surprise towards the beginning of the hike. We stopped there to take it all in and grab a snack. We didn't stick to the trail as described here. Our route was Bear Valley to Coast Trail into Camp Wildcat. The camp site is on a cliff right by the ocean. It can be loud from the waves at night. There are food lockers there as well as bbq grills. The beach is right there. Arch Rock and beyond from here. We saw Elk/Deer there. We didn't see racoons or skunks. However, they apparently have no problems tearing through your tent to get to smelly socks/food. There is TP equipped bathroom and running water was a bonus. Negatives: POOP!! Horse, Deer/Elk, Mountain Lion, racoon...etc etc.
The trails in this park are the best maintained trails I have ever seen. There were no snags and there was at least 18 inches of clearance on either side of the trail. The national parks service definitly gets an A+ on the way this park is maintained. The campsites are clean and well maintained and there is very good access to spectacular views.
The top of Mount Wittenberg appeared beautiful, although it was a very foggy day and could not see the potential view of the ocean. However, it was a beautiful trail down to the ocean,with many other options for getting to the water towards the end of the trail before getting onto the Bear Valley Trail. The cliffs and ocean were great, although again, it was VERY foggy.

Bear Valley Trail Photos

Trail Information

Point Reyes National Seashore
Nearby City
Phillip Burton Wilderness Area

Activity Feed

Jun 2018