Sunday, September 27, 2015

Kehoe Beach Trail

Kehoe Beach
Kehoe Beach Trail is a short, level, 0.6-mile-long path connecting the Kehoe trailhead on Pierce Point Road with the sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs of the northern section of Point Reyes National Seashore, a California coast preserve. The trail and beach is named after the nearby Kehoe Ranch. The hiking trail follows a broad and low valley with views of grassy hills, coastal scrub and sandstone rocks. Not very far from the trailhead, you will approach patches of marshland. A freshwater creek is coming into view. Depending on the seasonal weather and tide conditions, the creek ends at Kehoe Beach, as in the picture above, or may be mixed with saltwater during a storm. The sand dunes next to the creek are part of a sensitive wildlife area, in which western snowy plovers nest and hatch between March and September.

Freshwater creek parallel to Kehoe Beach Trail
As the trail approaches the beach and the sound of the surf becomes louder, you will get to a bench in the sand. The beach and ocean is only a few steps away. The loose-sand trail traverses a low sand-dune ridge with a right-side exposure of Monterey Formation sandstone. You'll find more interesting outcrops, formations and crumbling cliffs while strolling north to where the beach terminates into a rock-strewn, pounding-surf zone after about half a mile. When the fog does not blow in, you may be able to locate—across a fifteen-mile-stretch of sand beaches with treacherous surf—the rock peninsula with the Point Reyes Light in the distant south.

Getting to Kehoe Beach Trailhead
Head north from the Bear Valley Visitor Center. After 0.2 miles turn left and go north on Bear Valley Road towards Inverness. Continue northbound alongside Tomales Bay on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. After one mile from Inverness the road bends left, ascending Inverness Ridge. At the junction in the mountains, take right-side Pierce Point Road, leading north and around Tomales Bay State Park to the junction with the road to Hearts Desire Beach. Continue on Pierce Point Road, pass a couple of historic farms and also pass the Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead. Kehoe Beach Trailhead is coming up on your left about two miles north of the latter. Kehoe Beach Trail is open to pets-on-leash walking and bicycling—mud and sand bicycling it is over some sections of the mostly single-track trail.

More to explore:
[1] San Francisco Bay Area Hiker: Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, National Park Service, Marin County [].
[2] Nature Dogs: Kehoe Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore [].
[3] Geology at Point Reyes National Seashore and Vicinity, California [].

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