Point Reyes, Wildcat Camp

May 27-29, 2013

A 3 day trip full of rain, fog, sunshine, waterfalls, and the Pacific to Wildcat Camp in Point Reyes National Seashore.
»jump to the pics & details

our trail
We parked at the Bear Valley visitors’ center and took the Bear Valley trail to the Glen Trail to Wildcat Camp.

Total distance: 6.75 mi
Max elevation: 768 ft
Min elevation: 46 ft
Total climbing: 1001 ft

Started:5/27/13, 1:34:00 PM PDT – N38 02.464 W122 47.992
Ended:5/27/13, 4:08:12 PM PDT – N37 58.213 W122 47.475

the way in – Day 1
The Bear Valley trail snakes through the woods from the visitor’s center following a creek for most of the first portion of it.  This part of the trail is wide and very well used.  We passed a number of other hikers, but didn’t see many backpackers.  As we got further into the park, the hikers thinned out and we were mostly alone on the trail.  Leaving the Bear Valley trail, we ascended a little bit on Glen Trail.  This took us up and over a ridge and eventually dropped us down toward the coast when it meets up with Stewart Trail.  It was a typical, foggy afternoon.  Our clothes and gear were fairly damp by the time we made it to our reserved campsite.  At some point on our walk in the forest on the shore, Lily came into the world!

the campsite
Wildcat Camp is set on the edge of the beach in a large meadow.  There are 8 campsites and while they’re positioned near each other, the tall grasses and bushes keep each site relatively private.  The sound of the waves crashing on the nearby beach wakes you in the morning and lulls you to sleep at night.  When we arrived, we set up camp as quickly as possible.  The fog showed no signs of stopping and we didn’t want to get our gear any wetter than it already was.  As if nature were timing us, as soon as the tent was set up, the fog turned to rain.  It was already late afternoon and with the rain not letting up, we decided to spend the rest of the day in the tent.  We cooked our meal in the vestibule and eventually went to sleep, hoping for better weather in the morning.

In Search of Alamere Falls – Day 2
The sun greeted us in the morning, and by the time we had made our coffee and breakfast, most of our gear was well on its way to dry.  We packed a daypack and set off on Coast Trail, which leaves the Wildcat Camp area from the south.  The trail took us back up onto the coastal ridge and dipped in and out of the forest and meadows and passed a couple small bodies of water.  We expected to reach another trail that would take us west toward the ocean and Alamere Falls, the last hurrah of a creek that runs into the Pacific.  The trail wasn’t marked on the map, but I had seen it online before leaving.  After hiking for about an hour and not locating the trail, we decided it must have been an old trail that had fallen out of use and started to head back.  We looped around on the Ocean Lake Loop Trail for some different scenery on the way back.  Deciding that lunch would reinvigorate us, we headed back to camp and planned a different route to get to the falls.

After eating, we took to the beach.  Figuring it would be impossible to miss the waterfall from the beach, we headed north.  The falls turned out to be about a mile and a half up the beach from the campsite.  The water pouring off the sea cliff cut a valley in the sand on its way to the beach.  We found a place to scramble up to the top of the falls and realized there was indeed a trail that led to it after all.  There are a series of smaller falls and pools on the top of the cliff before the stream meets the beach.  Definitely a destination worth hunting for!

the way out – Day 3
We followed the same trail on the way out, though we had originally planned to loop around on the Coast Trail.  The section of that trail where it spurs off Stewart Trail had clearly not been maintained in a while.  The way out was much like the way in, cool and foggy.  The damp, refreshing air made the miles pass by.  As soon as we made it back to the parking lot (and cell signal land), I finally had my first look at my new niece!  What an awesome reward!

the pics
[forthcoming, be patient]

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the details
reservations at recreation.gov
no dogs allowed
pit toilets and a water spigot available at the campsite.  They say they post a sign when the water hasn’t been treated/isn’t fit for consumption, so make sure to bring something to treat it.
each campsite has its own food box and coal fire grill




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