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Point Reyes views and other diversions from Mount Vision.

Point Reyes views and other diversions from Mount Vision

The windswept crown of Mount Vision at Point Reyes National Seashore offers several diversions for the Point Reyes lover. Unlike Mount Wittenberg to the southeast (1,407 feet), where a steady stream of hikers is the norm, the Mount Vision area is much less traveled, and you can drive to its summit. It's 40 miles northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge via U.S. 101 and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

At 1,282 feet, aptly named Vision looks over the point, the estero, the foam-laced beaches to the west, and the golden hills around Tomales Bay to the east.

Depending on the weather, your view will take in foggy fingers sliding up the estero and obscuring all but the point. You may be subjected to blustery winds, or it may be so still all you'll hear is the chirping of crickets. Close in, the chaparral-covered hillsides are dotted with shimmering ponds used for watering cattle. If you come at dusk, you'll have a ringside seat to watch the day come to an end over the Pacific.

To reach the peak, drive past the town of Inverness on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard into the national seashore, taking the fork that goes to the lighthouse. About 1 mile past the intersection, go left on Mount Vision Overlook Road and follow it for 4 miles. Near the summit, a map at a turnout describes the geography unfolding before you. From the turnout, you can wander the deer tracks; they don't go far before petering out. The road is gated about 1/2 mile ahead; you can park there.

Here's a fairly strenuous 8-mile loop to explore

From the gate, walk up the paved road to the FAA installation on Point Reyes Hill.

The Bucklin Trail begins on your right. It descends for 3 1/2 miles through scrub, a pine forest, and a rolling grassy valley. You'll have constantly changing views of the coast, perhaps with hawks and deer as your only companions.

This trial ends at Muddy Hollow Road. Walk left for 1/2 mile to where Bay View Trail heads back towards the mountains on your left. It takes you past a grove of cedars, over alder-covered Muddy Hollow Creek, up an exposed ridge to its end. Inverness Ridge Trail, an unpaved road, begins on your left; follow it 3/4 mile. Where it ends, ignore the two trails that begin on your left and walk up the paved road, past a few hidden houses. In about 500 feet, you'll see the trail sign on your left. It's about 2 miles back to your car; the last 1/2 mile is steep.

Or try this 7-mile car-shuttle walk from Mount Vision to Limantour Beach

If you are an avid downhill walker and your group brings two cars, drive out Bear Valley Road 2 miles past the visitor center, turn left on Limantour Road, and wind about 10 miles to the beach. Leave one car there and swing back in the other to the parking area atop Mount Vision.

Once on foot from Mount Vision, take the road on the left; it turns into Muddy Hollow Trail in 1/2 mile. Follow it about 3 miles down to Limantour Beach. You'll be walking parallel to Limantour Road.

If you feel like walking farther, you can head out on long Limantour Spit.

Brochures and maps for the asking

For more information and maps, stop by the park headquarters at the Bear Valley Visitor Center, off Bear Valley Road just west of Olema. It's open 9 to 5 weekdays and 8 to 5 weekends and holidays; call (415) 663-1092. The Point Reyes National Seashore north district trail map, available free at the visitor center, is highly recommended.

No dogs are allowed on the trails.

Photo: Glorious views of Point Reyes and the fog lifting over waters of Drake's Estero make an inviting backdrop for a family picnic

Photo: Hikers traverse an alder-shaded footbridge over Muddy Hollow Creek on their way back to Mount Vision
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 1, 1987
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