McClures Beach, Point Reyes: McClures Beach Trailhead, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California

McClures Beach - 0.8 miles

Point Reyes: McClures Beach Trailhead

Turbulent coves on the south end of McClures Beach

Turbulent coves on the south end of McClures Beach

Round-Trip Length: 0.8 miles
Start-End Elevation: 287' - 0' (+287' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Elevation Change: -287' net elevation loss (287' max elevation)
Skill Level: Easy
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

McClures Beach - 0.8 Miles Round-Trip

McClures Beach is the northern most accessible beach in Point Reyes National Seashore, an idyllic crescent framed by towering bluffs and pounding waves.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Distance from the main visitor center keeps crowds to a minimum in this tranquil corner of the Park. Swimming, wading and surfing are not permitted at McClures Beach due to strong surf and active White Shark populations just off shore.

Hazards notwithstanding this is arguably one of Point Reyes' most compelling beaches for its size, scenery and location:

The trail drops sharply from the parking area down a steep, narrow ravine and merges with another in .17 miles. The steep grade continues to the beach (.4 miles), where it spills into its approximate center.

The north end of McClures Beach is hemmed by outcrops, but a narrow slot on the south end - safely navigable at low tide - threads the bluffs and Elephant Rock to a secluded cove with sea stacks just offshore.

This secluded beach is narrow and has no alternative outlet, making accurate tide reading a must. Leave yourself plenty of time to negotiate the passage back to McClures Beach.

Sneaker Waves
Sneaker waves are known to occur on McClures Beach. Sneaker waves are defined as unusually large and powerful waves that reach much higher up the shore than normal waves. They may also carry debris with significant force onto the beach.

Sneaker waves cannot be predicted and may occur at any time of day, year, or interval; the only possible indication is a sudden lowering of the water level. Sneaker waves have caused several deaths in Point Reyes National Seashore. Beach goers are advised to stay 30 yards from the water, and keep children and pets within close range.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N38 11.310 W122 57.492 — McClures Beach Trailhead
  • N38 11.269 W122 57.832 — .4 miles : McClures Beach

Worth Noting

  • Harbor Seal pupping season runs March - June. Remain at least 300' from colonies and report abandoned pups to Park Headquarters (415.464.5170).

  • Great White Sharks are known to patrol the waters off McClures Beach. Surfing and swimming are not permitted.

  • Tide pools dot natural jetties on the south end of McClures Beach near Elephant Rock. Be mindful of the surf at all times.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Camping is not permitted on McClures Beach.

Rules and Regulations

  • Wood fires are permitted on McClures Beach. Permits are required for any wood fire within the National Seashore. Permits are available at visitor centers, the dispatch office, and field rangers. Permits may only be obtained on the day of use. The permit is free. Permits are not available or valid during high fire danger periods, or on Spare The Air Days. For current beach fire information, call 415.464.5100 x2 x1.

  • Wood fire locations: Wood fires are allowed only on beaches (below the high tide line, if possible), 30' or more from vegetation and other flammable material.

Directions to Trailhead

The McClures Beach Trailhead is located just west of the Pierce Point Ranch - Tomales Point Trail parking area.

From US 101 in Marin County, exit Sir Francis Drake/San Anselmo. Drive west on Sir Francis Drake about 20 miles to the junction with CA 1. Turn right for 0.1 miles then left onto Bear Valley Road. After about 2 miles Bear Valley Road ends at Sir Francis Drake; turn left. Continue on Sir Francis Drake about 5.5 miles, then turn right onto Pierce Point Road. Drive about 9 miles on Pierce Point Road to the cul de sac and parking area for Pierce Point Ranch. Just before entering the cul de sac look for signs (left) pointing to McClures Beach. Turn left for .3 miles down the winding access road to the McClures Beach parking area.

Contact Information

Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Rd.
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Visitor Information: 415.464.5100 x2 or 415.663.8522 x2

Headquarters: 415.464.5100 x 1

Volunteer Information: 415.464.5145

Education Programs: 415.464.5139

Special Use Permits: 415.464.5111

Fax: 415.663.8132

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


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