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Point Reyes Light House Walk

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by Transit & Trails


Wildlife Sightings

by iNaturalist


Length: 1.1 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Halfday
Jules Evens
Created by Jules Evens

Naturalist and writer Jules Evens has lived near Point Reyes for over 30 years. He is the founder of Avocet Research Associates and the author of The Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula and An Introduction to California Birdlife (both UC Press).

Park: 38.05243289 -122.87606295 park Point Reyes National Seashore

Good for:
  • Beaches/Shore
  • Birding
  • Views
  • Marine
  • Trail Hiking


The Outer Point Reyes Peninsula is a Mecca for both birds and birdwatchers during autumn migration. The month of September is the peak of songbird passage and when conditions are right—lack of strong northwest winds, night sky obscured by high overcast—migrant landbirds “fall out” on the outer point. The islands of Monterey cypresses that were planted as windbreaks around the historic settlements attract migrating songbirds (“passerines”), providing cover and refueling opportunities. And birdwatchers are highly attuned to the ideal conditions that will help them find species that are rare in California. The rarest of these are considered “vagrants,” birds off course from their normal migratory routes.

The short trail to the Lighthouse passes a wind-sculpted row of cypress that have historically attracted vagrants and provided a challenge to even the most experienced birdwatcher. It requires  dogged patience and keen attention to see and identify tiny warblers, vireos, and flycatchers backlit against the gray sky as they flit and flutter through the tangle of branches. When no birds are present, other natural phenomena catch the eye. Especially fetching is the exposed geology here, known as “Point Reyes conglomerate,” and the life it supports.

Read more about this location and see more photos on Jules Evens's Point Reyes Walkabout blog.



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