Discover Point Reyes National Seashore and Giant Redwoods
Point Reyes and Muir Woods Tour Description: Golden Horizon Tours specializes in private SUV and small group custom adventures. We strive to provide out-of-the-ordinary experiences not offered by other tour operators. Our Point Reyes National Seashore custom tour will take you to one of the most spectacular and rugged shorelines along the California coast and hidden natural wonders.
From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands to its grassy open spaces, brushy hillsides and forested ridges, Point Reyes National Seashore is home to over 1,500 species of plants and animals waiting to be discovered by you! While your guide drives you through Marin County, you will see diverse and amazing ecosystems, each with its own rich flora and fauna. Marine wildlife is abundant along the seashore and you may even encounter seals, sea otters, tule elk, whales, and elephant seals along the way.
After lunch at a local restaurant on the beach or in a famers’ market place, you’ll head to Bear Valley Visitor Center, a museum of natural history where you will view amazing exhibitions about artifacts from the Coast Miwok and the striking geology of this area located along the San Andreas Fault.
As you get closer to the shore, you’ll pass numerous dairy farms and cattle ranches. This rural and remote countryside is authentic and unique in every way. Your guide will drive you to a hidden overlook on the ocean-side where you may see 3,000-pound elephant seals as they flip sand on their backs. Each year, these huge elephant seals come ashore and form colonies for a few months to give birth, breed, and molt. You will also visit Tomales Bay State Park and gorgeous beaches located off-the-beaten-path, where you will see an army of Tule elk roaming in the hillsides.
One of the main highlights of your exploration will be a guided walking tour to Point Reyes National Seashore Lighthouse, perched on a steep dramatic cliff offering stunning views of impressive waves rolling in and crashing against the rocks.
Please expect to walk a quarter-mile from the parking lot to get to this stunning overlook, a 30-story climb down to the lighthouse, but the adventure is worth the trek. You’ll get sweeping views of the ocean, beautiful rock formations, and over the lighthouse tucked at the foot of a steep staircase at the bottom of the cliff. You may also enjoy the stunning scenery and beautiful sights from the top of the cliff overlook where whales and dolphins may be seen swimming. You may also visit the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO), a research center, which was founded in 1965. Grants are given to approximately 85 graduate students and post-doctoral researchers here, to study and understand the effects of climate change on California’s ecosystem. Another stop is Point Reyes Station’s old downtown, which includes a cheese factory, an organic winery, oyster farms, and the old saloon that Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles once visited years ago.
After an amazing outing at Point Reyes, you will travel to Muir Woods National Park via Bolinas and Stinson Beach. Muir Woods National Monument is home to coastal giant redwoods. Did you know that these trees are so monumental that three of them stacked on top of each other would be equivalent to the height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris! Depending on what your tour guide suggests, you may either begin or end your exciting adventure at Muir Woods. After visiting giant redwoods, your guide will drive you back to your hotel through Sausalito where you can walk around, shop, go wine tasting, or eat dinner, returning to San Francisco on your own by ferry across the bay. (Ferry tickets are not included in the tour price). This adventure includes taxes, entrance fees to Muir Woods, Tomales Bay State Park, and a guided tour to Point Reyes’ museums and parks.
Muir Woods and Point Reyes Tour Itinerary
- 9:00 a.m. pick-up
- Drive to Muir Woods National Monument via Mill Valley
- Roam through the ancient forest of the giant redwoods
- Visit Muir Beach overlook
- Visit Stinson Beach and Bolinas old town
- Visit Point Reyes’ natural wonders
- Short hiking trails to hidden beaches in Point Reyes
- Travel to Tomales Bay State Park
- Visit Sausalito - a Mediterranean-style coastal town
- Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands overlook
- 5:00 p.m. Drop-off (time and itinerary may vary based on weather and traffic)
Your tour guide will pick you up from your hotel in San Francisco, Sausalito, or Marin Countym with a sign displaying your name. You will be taken to Muir Woods via Mill Valley, a small charming community located north of Sausalito, known for its scenic hillside cliffs, bay views, marshlands, wooded canyons, and artistic heritage.Drive to Muir Woods National Monument Back to Top
As you pass through Mill Valley, you will head north to Muir Woods National Monument. You will continue along a panoramic highway where you will see spectacular views of Marin County, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Pacific Ocean.
Roam through the Ancient Forest of the Giant RedwoodsBack to Top
Your guide will explain everything you need to know about the coastal redwood trees and Muir Woods. Your driver will have your tickets ready (included in the tour price) along with a complimentary map/brochure of the park’s walking trail. You will walk on a flat loop that starts at “bridge 1” by the gift shop, and this loop will take you all the way to “bridge 3.” The loop follows a stream through a canyon lined with tall redwood trees. Please note that Muir Woods staff and rangers prohibit guides from leading tours inside the park to preserve peace and tranquility. Muir Woods has numerous hiking trails, a gift shop, coffee shop, and public restrooms.Visit Muir Beach overlook & Stinson Beach Back to Top
After visiting Muir Woods, you will embark on a scenic ride on Highway 1, which boasts jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean’s dramatic coastline, massive redwood trees, scenic hills, stunning rock formations, wave-beaten rock outcrops, sand beaches, marshlands, and an incredible array of wildlife and numerous turnouts and overlooks for photo enthusiasts.
Discover Stinson Beach, a coastal town and golden beach. Enjoy a walk with your guide on this soft sand beach, have a drink, or choose to lunch at one of the beach’s snack bars or restaurants. This sunny side of the coast is a wonderful getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a relaxing and uplifting excursion.
Some notable Stinson Beach residents include Senator Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Garcia, Steve Miller, and David Grisman. The dramatic scenery of Stinson Beach was the setting for movies: “Play It Again Sam,” “Memoirs of an Invisible Man,” “Basic Instinct,” “Shoot the Moon,” “The Fog,” and “On the Edge.”Visit Stinson Beach and Bolinas Old TownBack to Top
You may choose to add a side trip to Bolinas (optional), a small town located off Highway 1 and accessible via wetlands and beautiful lagoons. The trough in which these lagoons sit was formed by the San Andreas Fault, which runs through the area. The lagoon is separated from the main bay by a small spit of land. Bolinas lagoon is a tidal estuary and part of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.
Bolinas is only accessible by unmarked roads. In the past, road signs were torn down to discourage visitors from entering, and the are also has a long history of environmentalism, characterized by its community of surfers, actors, poets, artists, and authors.
One famous resident of Bolinas is Alice Waters, an American chef and owner of "Chez Panisse," the world-renowned restaurant in Berkeley, California famous for its organic, locally-grown ingredients, and as the birthplace of Californian cuisine. During the tour, you may choose to have lunch in Bolinas, Point Reyes old town, or in one of the local seafood and oyster restaurants with great outdoor seating and stunning views of Tomales Bay.Visit Point Reyes Natural WondersBack to Top
Now the tour will head west to Point Reyes and on your way there, you will see vast farmlands and charming countryside. You’ll see picture-perfect landscapes as you sit back and relax in the SUV while passing through the best-kept secrets and hidden natural wonders of Northern California. Enjoy your lunch at a local beach restaurant and visit Point Reyes’ historic lighthouse where whales and dolphins may swim by (depending on the season). Your guide will also bring you to the Bear Valley Visitor Center and the Museum of Natural History.
The 70,000 acres of Point Reyes have been known as a “National Seashore” since 1962. It was originally named when Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino named the land Punto de los Reyes, (“King’s Point”) in 1603. It is located within the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, an area geologically separated from the rest of Marin County by a rift zone of the San Andreas Fault, half of which is below sea level, forming Tomales Bay. The northernmost part of this peninsula is maintained as a reserve for Tule elk and the southern part is a protected beach for elephant seals.
The rest of the peninsula includes wild coastal beaches, headlands, grasslands, historic ranches, oyster farms, dairy farms, estuaries, uplands, and a coastline that bears a striking resemblance to Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. This volcanic area is home to a rich variety of plants including coastal Douglas Fir, coast Live Oak, Tanoak, Cypress, Bishop and Monterey pines.
Fun fact: Park rangers at Point Reyes National Seashore use Toyota RAV4 electric vehicles, powered by electric solar panels on park buildings, for zero-emissions, carbon, and petroleum transportation, meeting the park's environmental goals.
Point Reyes is a terminus of the American Discovery Trail, which is the only transcontinental trail in the United States. For backpackers, Point Reyes has four hike-in campgrounds available by reservation (must be made in advance). The movie “The Fog,” directed by John Carpenter, was filmed at Point Reyes lighthouse and starred Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Janet Leigh.
Point Reyes Lighthouse attracts birds and whale-watchers looking for Gray Whales migrating south in mid-January, and north in mid-March. Point Reyes Lifeboat Station is a National Historic Landmark. It is the last remaining example of a rail-launched lifeboat station, once commonly found along the Pacific coast. The style of the native Kule Loklo village, located just a few miles from the visitor center, was heavily influenced by the Coast Miwok.Best Hiking Trails in Point ReyesBack to Top
Bear Valley trail is the most popular hike in the park. From the visitor's center, the trail follows streams through a shaded, fern-laden canyon, and breaks out at Divide Meadow before it heads downward to the coast and then emerges at the spectacular ocean-view at Arch Rock. Three trails connecting from the west with the Bear Valley trail head upward toward Mt. Wittenberg, which, at 1,407 feet, is the highest point in the park.
Across the parking lot at the visitor's center is a 0.97 km loop that runs directly over the San Andreas Fault and a 0.6-mile earthquake trail deep underground, so that when standing, visitors straddle the fault line. On this fault, you can observe details of the surrounding geology. At the western end of Point Reyes peninsula is a 308-step staircase taking you up to historic Point Reyes lighthouse. Unlike many lighthouses, that were built high so ships from far away could see, Point Reyes lighthouse was built low to shine its light below the fog line.Tomales Bay State Park and BayBack to Top
Tours offer an optional visit to Tomales Bay State Park. Coastal Indians, also known as Miwok, were the first to inhabit the area of sheltered coves, tides, beaches, marshes, and forests of Bishop pines known today as Tomales Bay State Park, located 38 miles north of San Francisco. In 1579, Sir Francis Drake was the first to reach this area, followed by the Spaniards in 1595. German and Russian scientists also explored Tomales Bay in the early 1800s.Visit Sausalito - a charming Mediterranean-Style coastal town Back to Top
An optional trip may take you to Sausalito, where you can stroll downtown along the beautiful waterfront of Richardson Bay. You may choose to stay in this enchanting Mediterranean-style coastal town for the rest of the day, have dinner, and return to San Francisco on the ferry (ferry tickets are not included).
Don’t miss visiting one of three houseboat communities in the Richardson Bay, with more than 400 homes of varying shapes, sizes, and cultures — Galilee Harbor, Waldo Point Harbor, and the Gates Cooperative. It was in a houseboat at Waldo Point in Sausalito where singer Otis Redding wrote his famous "Dock of the Bay" in 1967: " I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay - Watching the ships roll in…the tide roll away - I left my home in Georgia - Headed for the 'Frisco bay - Just to make this dock my home..."Golden Gate Bridge-Marin Headlands Overlook Back to Top
Return to San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge where your guide will stop at Marin Headlands overlook for a photo opportunity, with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Your guide may also drive you back to your hotel via the famous Pacific Heights or Marina District depending on your hotel or home location.5:00 p.m - 5:30 p.m Drop OffBack to Top
Your guide will drive you back to your hotel or home via the famous Pacific Heights (optional), the most expensive neighborhood in San Francisco, which is home to movie stars and celebrities, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Don Johnson, Danielle Steel, Nancy Pelosi, and more. You may also see the movie location of the film “Mrs. Doubtfire.” You may also see the beautiful homes of Pacific Heights during our daily San Francisco city tours.
This SUV tour is totally private and the price is per person.
This VAN tour is totally private and not available for public
or individual reservations. The price is per party and not per person.
|Tour Prices:||Price per group|
|1 - 5 Guests||$1,299.00|
|6 - 7 Guests||$1,439.00|
|8 - 10 Guests||$1,539.00|
|11 - 12 Guests||$1,699.00|
|13 - 14 Guests||$1,829.00|
Included: Pick-up and drop off in San Francisco downtown or Fisherman’ Wharf, all applicable taxes, guided tour to Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Olema, Bear Valley Visitor Center, Point Reyes National Seashores, Muir Woods National Monument entrance fees and a private 8-hour guided tour from 9 am to 5 pm.
Not included: The price does not include meals, driver’s gratuity, wine tasting fees, overtime and optional activities or features.