Every fall, I enjoy a weekend of backpacking at Point Reyes National Seashore. My favorite camp, Wildcat, is just as hard to reserve as the coveted Coast Camp. In order to reserve at Wildcat, you have to make your reservation six months out, to the day, on the first day of your reservation – so mark your calendar!
Wildcat is a lovely camp featuring potable water, group and private campsites, a pit toilet and beach access. I love to hike in on a Friday, then wander down the beach to rinse off in Alamere falls after setting up camp. I’ll then read on the beach or at camp before heading up the trail towards the cliffs and sitting on my favorite (absurdly tall) bench for a stunning sunset.
Hanging out on my tall bench for sunset. Photos by Lisette.
After sunset, I like to make a wonderful little dinner and then head to the beach for a little campfire. Make sure you pick up a permit at headquarters if you’re planning on a beach fire. All permits for camping, fires and overnight parking are available at the Bear Valley visitor’s center.
I highly recommend hiking in and staying for two nights, day-hiking on the day between and then hiking out first thing on a Sunday. Sunday is also the farmer’s market in Point Reyes Station, so it’s a great spot to grab some food before you hit the road. I also highly recommend stopping into the Cowgirl Creamery, grabbing some mead at Heidrun Meadery or savoring oysters at the amazing beachfront Hog Island Oyster Co.
Some tips for camping at Point Reyes:
- Reserve early, particularly if you want a weekend reservation
- Start at the Bear Valley Visitor Center to collect your permit
- Bring a “ratsack” – small mice get into the bear lockers and will wreak havoc on your trail mix and oatmeal
- Get a fire permit, these are free and allow you to build beach fires with driftwood you collect nearby
- Book for early spring (through May) and fall, but avoid June-August or the winter months for ideal weather