Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes: Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California

Abbotts Lagoon - 2.1 miles

Point Reyes: Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead

Abbotts Lagoon is framed by vegetated sand dunes home to the snowy plover

Abbotts Lagoon is framed by vegetated sand dunes home to the snowy plover

Round-Trip Length: 2.1 miles
Start-End Elevation: 72' - 15' (78' max elevation)
Elevation Change: -57' net elevation loss (+105' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Abbotts Lagoon - 2.1 Miles Round-Trip

Abbotts Lagoon is a special place where pastoral land, coastal scrub communities and inland bodies of water meet sand dunes, beach and sea. A coastal lagoon is a brackish lake separated from the ocean by a narrow strand of beach or dune band. Abbotts Lagoon is an exceptional example comprised of two distinct, adjacent lagoon wings.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The north wing is bound and protected by acres of rolling sand dunes and dense dune vegetation; the larger south wing is more exposed and separated from the turbulent coast by only a thin strip of sand. Winter storms sometimes breach this tenuous barrier; when so, accumulating sands can eventually seal off the opening.

Shifting coastal sand dunes are stabilized by the leaves and root systems of specially adapted plants, protecting inland areas from wind and tidal surges.

The 200 acre lagoon complex is fed by two fresh water ponds that attract of waterfowl and wildlife. Western Grebes, Pied-Billed Grebes, Coots, Caspian Terns, the endangered Snowy Plover and several migratory bird species call Abbotts Lagoon home.

Look for deer, fox, coyote and quail around the lagoon. Seals and sea lions occasionally visit the beach, while seasonal whale migrations can be seen from high points over the lagoon.

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A graded path leads through open pastoral land into a coastal scrub zone on the south side of Abbotts Lagoon's north wing. Wildflowers line the trail including lupine, iris, monkey flower, poppies and thistle.

The trail crests in .85 miles (78') with views of the lagoon and sand dunes that extend to the ocean. The trail undulates down to the bridge and isthmus connecting the north and south wing (1.05 miles : 15'), where an unmarked path continues around the dune base and between the lagoon wings to Point Reyes Beach (1.65 miles : 0').

Despite its large size the south wing is still relatively concealed by coastal hills and contours; to see it, climb over the isthmus to a bluff with panoramas across the lagoon, dunes and Point Reyes Beach.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N38 07.416 W122 56.145 — 0.0 miles : Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead
  • N38 07.213 W122 56.584 — .5 miles : level path around lagoon
  • N38 07.153 W122 57.072 — 1.05 miles : Bridge over isthmus between lagoon wings
  • N38 07.130 W122 57.294 — 1.35 miles : Unmaintained path to beach
  • N38 07.170 W122 57.513 — 1.65 miles : Point Reyes Beach

Worth Noting

  • April and May are peak wildflower and bird watching season at Abbotts Lagoon. Lighting is most favorable early morning and late afternoon. Arrive early to stay ahead of crowds during this peak time.
  • Enjoy the dunes from a distance, and avoid disturbing plants and wildlife by keeping to established trails. Binoculars are highly recommended.

  • Sand dunes in Point Reyes are threatened by invasive, non-native species such as ice plant and European beach grass that aggressively displace native plants.
  • Weather can change quickly on the Point Reyes Coast. Carry multiple layers, wind and rain gear no matter the time of year.

Directions to Trailhead

Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead is located 10.6 miles from the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Travel 7.8 miles on Bear Valley Road to Pierce Point Road and bear right. The Abbotts Lagoon Trailhead is located 3.3 miles up Pierce Point road on the left (west) side of the road.

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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