Northern beaches to Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes

Notes by piero scaruffi | Back to the Pt Reyes page
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Abbotts Lagoon is one of the most impressive sights in Pt Reyes. It is a lagoon near the ocean surrounded by Sahara-style sand dunes. There is a short trail from the road to Abbotts Lagoon.
The "northern beaches" are McClures Beach and Kehoe Beach, both north of Abbotts Lagoon and both relatively close to the road. As wild hikers know, there is no trail between the two beaches but it is possible to hike from one to the other... during low tide. The trail, in other words, enters the ocean. Even with low tide, expect to get wet up to your waist.
We left one car at Abbotts Lagoon parking lot then we shuttled everybody to the McClures Beach parking lot. We hiked from McClures Beach to Kehoe Beach. The first pass at the beginning is well marked. You get to a little beach, the first of a long series. Immediately after this beach you have to wade through rocks for about 20 meters. The water is not too deep here. The next passage is easier, as there is a tunnel that takes you to the next beach. You will see a waterfall on your left and you enter an area where it is relatively easy to explore the tidepools, even 50 meters into the ocean. To get to the next beach, walk under the arch and then wade your way through for about 10 meters. Now you are on a long beach dotted with rocks. When you get to the end of it, you are in real trouble because the water is very deep. Your best best is to climb the cliff until you see the keyhole. It requires a little bit of climbing skills. If you are overweight, this won't work, because the keyhole is barely 30 cms wide. It takes you straight to the other side, which is Kehoe beach.
From Kehoe beach to Abbotts Lagoon is simply a long walk on the beach. You could continue all the way to the lighthouse, except it's about 15 kms of sandy beach.
Needless to say, it is important to find out at what time the tide is low. Go to Point Reyes net and click on "Tide". The lower the tide, the less wet you get. We started hiking at 9am and that day the low tide was -1.6 at 10:37.
Dress as badly as you can and use your worst shoes. When you hike in the ocean, you want to keep your shoes on.
On this trip we saw quite a bit of wildlife and flowers, including elks, whales, snakes, blackbirds, crabs, starfish, anemones (and lots of cows staring at us in disbelief from the promontories). The tidepools are a show in itself.