Olema Valley Trail, Point Reyes: Five Brooks Trailhead, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California
Olema Valley Trail - 11.0 miles
Point Reyes: Five Brooks Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||11.0 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||265' - 181' (627' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-84' net elevation loss (+1,556' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Olema Valley Trail - 11.0 Miles Round-Trip
The Olema Valley Trail is an undulating out and back trail that traces the rift zone of the San Andreas Fault through Olema Valley. The trail can be accessed from the Five Brooks Trailhead or the Olema Valley Trailhead. The following description begins from Five Brooks:
From the Five Brooks Trailhead, the hike begins on the Stewart Trail, a level road-trail that skirts a small pond to the beginning of the loop at the Olema Trail - Stewart Trail junction (.3 miles : 275'). Turn left, then immediately right on the Olema Trail (.38 miles).
The Olema Trail initially trends down, then up through a consuming, biologically rich mosaic of Douglas Fir, oak, bay, laurel, fern and bramble. The trail rises nominally to and hairpins across a bridge (.9 miles : 282'), immediately over which it begins a demanding climb that gains 270' in just .3 miles.
The grade eases momentarily through 1.2 miles (550'), then resumes a challenging pace to the Olema Valley Trail - Bolema Trail junction (1.6 miles : 622'). Turn left to remain on the Olema Valley Trail.
After the Olema Valley Trail - Bolema Trail junction, the trail drops sharply around 100' in .2 miles before briefly opening up from the forest canopy to reveal a beautiful grassy meadow (1.8 miles : 522'). Now hiking through tall Tule grass, the trail levels out and becomes sigificantly narrow before briefly re-entering the dense forest.
The trail oscillates between forest, meadows and dense vegetation before fully opening to Olema Valley (2.5 miles : 536'). Here it begins an undulating descent through open prairie until bottoming out at the the Randall Trail Junction (2.8 miles : 404'). Bear right to remain on the Olema Valley Trail.
Past the Randall Trail Junction, the Olema Valley Trail bends hard right and begins a brief but steady ascent before leveling out to head south once again. Keep an eye out for Red Columbine wildflowers on this ascent as they often line the trail in Spring.
After leveling out, the trail begins an easy descent passing a trail spur to an official park residence (3.3 miles : 390'). After the park residence, the trail narrows and winds through a very dense, often overgrown corridor of vegetation before once again re-entering a forest canopy and pleasantly dropping over 150' before emerging back into the meadows (4.5 miles : 240').
From this point, after a brief view of open sky and valley views, the trail drops down and crosses a creek (4.68 miles : 185'). While the creek is not deep, keep in mind that you may have to get your feet wet at this crossing as no official bridge exists.
Soon after crossing the creek, the trail enters a level stretch of extremely dense and overgown brush including stinging nettles, thistle and poison oak (this is why long pants are highly recommended on this hike). After passing through this difficult area, the trail reaches the Teixeira Trail split (5.05 miles : 172'). Remain on the Olema Valley Trail.
Shortly after the Teixeira Trail split, the Olema Valley Trail crosses another small creek before cutting through a level yet equally overgrown trail section to its terminus at the Olema Valley Trailhead in Dogtown (5.5 miles : 181').
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N37 59.853 W122 45.476 — Five Brooks Trailhead
- N37 59.920 W122 45.711 — .3 miles : Stewart Trail junction
- N37 59.862 W122 45.692 — .35 miles : Bear right onto Olema Trail
- N37 59.494 W122 45.555 — .92 miles : Cross bridge, begin steep climb
- N37 59.188 W122 45.097 — 1.6 miles : Olema Trail - Bolema Trail junction
- N37 59.129 W122 44.905 — 1.8 miles: Small open meadow
- N37 58.662 W122 44.337 — 2.5 miles: Trail opens up - Sweeping views
- N37 58.457 W122 44.208 — 2.8 miles: Randall Trail split
- N37 58.187 W122 44.011 — 3.3 miles: Park residence spur
- N37 57.251 W122 43.055 — 4.68 miles: Creek crossing
- N37 57.004 W122 42.888 — 5.05 miles: Teixeira Trail split
- N37 56.809 W122 42.542 — 5.5 miles: Olema Valley Trailhead
- Long pants are highly recommended in all weather for this trail.
- This trail can be started at either the Five Brooks Trailhead or the Olema Valley Trailhead. It can be done as an 'out and back' or a shuttle hike.
- The Olema Valley Trail is an excellent place for viewing widlife. Mountain Lions inhabit this area and those hiking alone should be reasonably cautious.
- Stinging nettles, thistle and poison oak thrive on this trail, especially towards the Olema Valley Trailhead. Plan accordingly.
Directions to Trailhead
The Five Brooks Trailhead is located on the west side of Highway 1, 3.9 miles south of the Highway 1 - Sir Francis Drake Boulevard intersection. The trailhead is located 4.4 miles from the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
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