Hike/Run/Bike: Bear Valley Trail, Point Reyes National Seashore

Earlier this week, we headed to Point Reyes National Seashore for an adventure on the Bear Valley Trail.  The trail from the Bear Valley Visitor Center to Arch Rock is just under nine miles.  Lush and green year-round, with the reward of gorgeous Pacific Ocean views at the end of the trail, this is one of my favorite trails in the entire San Francisco Bay Area region.  I’m not alone.  You’ll see all kinds of people enjoying this trail – hikers, backpackers, families on mountain bikes, trail runners, and equestrians.  Bicycles are allowed on the trail for the first 3.2 miles, where the bikes must be locked up and the remainder of the trail hiked.

We approached the trail in a way that would be fun for everyone in our family.  I’ve been wanting to run on this trail for quite a while now… I’ve heard it’s great for trail running!  But I also wanted to take photos along the way, and, well, I can’t run with my camera.  My husband has been wanting to take our six-year-old on a mountain bike ride on the trail.  How to satisfy everyone?  I hiked the trail out to the end, taking photos along the way, while my husband and son rode their bikes separately.  They took some time exploring the Bear Valley Visitor Center (a must-see!) to give me a bit of a head start.  They enjoyed their bike ride, I enjoyed my hike and a bit of time alone, and then we met up at the 3.2 mile mark, where bike racks are provided.  Then we hiked the final 1.2 miles to Arch Rock together.  On Arch Rock, we took in the views and had snacks.  Then I gave my camera to my husband to carry back for me, and I ran the trail back to the traihead while the boys hiked and rode their bikes back.  And, I can now confirm, the Bear Valley Trail IS perfect for a trail run!  Here are some of the photos I took on the hike out…

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Interested in going?  Park in the large lot just beyond the Bear Valley Visitor Center in Point Reyes National Seashore.  You’ll find the trail at the end of the lot.  Here’s a great description of the hike, from ProTrails… “Bear Valley Trail to Arch Rock – 8.8 Miles” (www.protrails.com/trail/san-francisco-marin-headlands-mt-tamalpais-point-reyes-bear-valley-trail-to-arch-rock).  For more information about Point Reyes (how to get there, history, other hikes in the area, etc.), visit the official Point Reyes National Seashore site… www.nps.gov/pore/index.htm.

You may also enjoy these articles I’ve written about Point Reyes:

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