Spectacular McClures Beach is located towards the northern end of Point Reyes National Seashore. The broad sandy beach is enclosed by bluffs and rocks in a rugged setting with typically rough surf coming off the Pacific Ocean. The rock at the southern end of the beach, known as Elephant Rock, can be climbed for a commanding view south all the way down the Great Beach and north to Tomales Point. There are several blow holes and intricate features in this rock that are worth exploring. Around the southern corner beyond Elephant Rock is a small sandy cove with picturesque rock formations. On the day I visited the surf was very high so tidepooling was not feasible, but I imagine these rocks are nice locations to view sea creatures during low tide on a calm day.
Part IV of the Point Reyes photos adventure is tidepooling! These shots are taken at low tide on Sculptured Beach. The sea creatures here are plentiful and seemed larger than other local tidepooling areas. I suspect this is due to the remote and relatively undisturbed location. The rocks and small caves in the area provide virtually limitless opportunity for exploration and observation. Especially intriguing were the groups of enormous sea stars piled on top of each other in a variety of colors, including orange, pink, purple, and green. Another highlight was the “fields” of thousands of mussels clinging to the lower terraces of rock. There are some beautiful anemones, and in particular I like one with purple tips. Other sea creatures included urchins, crab, small fish, barnacles, limpets and abalone. Some of my favorite photos are below (including a view of the Point Reyes coastline from the Woodward Valley Trail) with the complete album here.
- Part I - Kelham Beach & Arch Rock
- Part II - Sculptured Beach
- Part III – Secret Beach
- More Photography (Dec. 2011)
- Alamere Falls & Phantom Falls (Dec. 2010)
- Headlands (2010)
- First Visit (2009)
Part III of the Point Reyes photo adventure is Secret Beach, a hidden gem along the remote coastline of the southern district of Point Reyes National Seashore. This marvelous stretch of sand amid rugged cliffs and bluffs is only accessible at low tide (either negative or close to negative). One must walk through a small arch (the “door”) at the south end of Sculptured Beach. This arch is notable in itself with bountiful mussels clinging to its rocks and other sea creatures like anemones and sea stars. While the coastal trail travels in parallel above the beach, the steep cliffs and brush essentially preclude alternative access so be mindful of the tides and plan your entry and exit accordingly. Secret Beach is about one mile long and terminates at the cliffs of Point Resistance to the south. The highlight of the beach is a capacious amphitheater accessed by a narrow tunnel (the “blow hole”) just past the entrance to the beach. This remarkable and unique natural phenomenon is a nearly perfect spherical amphitheater with colossal vertical cliffs and curvature sculpted by erosive processes. The golden cliffs juxtaposed with the shaded floor of this natural bowl is striking. The entry to the amphitheater varies depending on the level of sand and can sometimes be a crawl, but on this day it was fairly wide. Several hawks circled above the bowl adding to its mystique. Other highlights of Secret Beach include a small waterfall bouncing off a cliff and an aesthetic arch extending from Point Resistance into the Ocean at the south end. A few of my favorite photos from Secret Beach and a short video clip of the amphitheater are below with a complete photo album here.
Complete album here.
Following up on the Kelham Beach & Arch Rock post, Part II of the Point Reyes photo adventure is aptly named Sculptured Beach, with its namesake rock formations providing ample opportunity for exploration, inspiration, and natural beauty. There are several arches and bountiful sea creatures clinging to the rocks including mussels, anemones, and starfish making this an excellent spot for tide pooling in low tide (photos in a later post). The immense golden bluffs above the beach have been chiseled by the erosive processes over the millenia creating a stunning background. Since this beach requires a hike to reach, it is rarely crowded. Here are some photos from this trip to the Sculptured Beach with the complete album here.
Complete album here.
As part of a day spent exploring some new spots in Point Reyes National Seashore, I enjoyed a gorgeous afternoon walk along Kelham Beach to Arch Rock and then beyond to an overlook of Wildcat Beach. Here are some of my favorite photos from this part of the day with the complete album here. More to come from Point Reyes, including Sculptured Beach, Secret Beach, and tidepooling!
Complete album here.