Abbott’s Lagoon in Point Reyes is an easy hike and great for young families, occasional hikers, and beginners!
My only caution is that it’s windy there most days, so bring a windbreaker! You won’t catch me out there in the Winter, as I imagine it’s extremely windy and freezing cold.
The hike is only 4 miles round trip with very little change in elevation. It’s a gentle stroll among rolling hills to the beach and back, with an abundance of Spring wildflowers and birds. As you approach the beach, there are dramatic views of the water, sand dunes, and cliffs.
Want to know more about the lagoon aspect? Abbotts Lagoon is a two-stage lagoon. The upper lagoon is a freshwater expanse which overflows into a lower brackish lagoon level with occasional winter tidal exchange. (1) Brackish means containing both fresh and salt water. The eastern shore of the lagoon is covered with old growth northern coastal scrub, including coyote bush, yellow bush lupine, sword fern and California Blackberry. (2)
Maps: There is a map posted at the trailhead, but no maps to carry with you. The trail is easy to follow and has a sandy texture. (Not rocky like so many trails.)
If you want a Point Reyes Map, go to the Point Reyes Visitor Center at 1 Bear Valley Rd, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, where there are rangers, parking and lots of natural history exhibits.
(Photo credit of ocean and cliffs: Isma Kahn)
Birds: There are tons of birds at the lagoon! Here a few you might see: blackbirds, cormorants, ducks, eagles, falcons, finches, geese, grebes, gulls, hawks, herons, hummingbirds, larks, owls, pelicans, plovers and more!
Crowds and Parking: I understand this is a great place to go for a quiet nature experience, especially on weekdays. We visited on Mother’s Day and there were plenty of other people but it wasn’t crazy. There is plenty of parking and two pit toilets at the trailhead.
Dogs: Not allowed here and in 99% of Point Reyes. The ranger at the Point Reyes Visitor Center can tell you where you can go, but honestly, the only place dogs are allowed is two forsaken ultra-windy beaches.
I Heart Moss is a project about art, nature, and environmental activism. We offer free local hikes in Fall, Winter, and Spring and donate 5% of our proceeds to Greenpeace.
We have a gift shop for nature lovers which can be found at www.shop.iheartmoss.com. In the shop, you’ll find hip jewelry and gifts all made by artists and makers.
1. Abbotts Lagoon. Great Outdoor Recreation Pages. Archived from the original on 2010-09-09h Retrieved 23 August 2011.
2. Stallcup, Rich & Pitkin, Melissa Discovering Birds at Point Reyes (2007) Point Reyes National Seashore Association ISBN 0-9607890-6-5, pp.35-37