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California: San Francisco to Point Reyes - 6 day(s), California, North America, Western US

Overview

From the bustling crowds of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco to the haunting redwood hush of Cathedral Grove in Muir Woods, Northern California offers a panoply of landscapes to explore. Our unique self-guided walking itinerary starts in the beguiling city of San Francisco—home to eclectic, artsy neighborhoods and raucous flocks of wild parrots—and takes you across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County’s quaint coastal region. While there, you can browse galleries and boutiques in historic Sausalito, marvel at the 100-mile view from atop Mount Tamalpais, and step back in time among the awe-inspiring redwoods of Muir Woods. To the north, Pacific splendor and rich marine life await at the Point Reyes National Seashore. Each stop along the itinerary delights, from seaside boutique hotels to charming English-style inns and mountaintop lodges, all serving up fresh and enticing California fare.

This Tour doesn't have predefined days. Choose your own days and plan your vacation!

What’s Included

  • Three breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners 
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Local transfers as noted in the itinerary
  • Luggage transfers between the hotels
  • Detailed route notes and maps
  • Basic travel insurance coverage
  • 24-hour emergency service

Itinerary

Day 1 - San Francisco - Tour begins
Arrival in San Francisco. Optional Barbary Coast Trail; 4 miles, easy, 100-ft elevation gain, 300-ft elevation loss Upon arrival at your boutique hotel ideally located near Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square, you can set off for today’s optional walk and weave your way through the city on a historical and cultural exploration. Including well-known highlights such as Chinatown and Union Square, the fascinating route also brings you through quieter neighborhoods and to hidden gems such as Maiden Lane and Telegraph Hill. You may shorten the walk as you wish, or, if you arrive later in the day, you may relax at your hotel or stroll along the waterfront, perhaps ride a historical cable car, or visit one of the local museums or art galleries. Complimentary bicycles are also available at the hotel. Adjacent to your hotel is the Maritime National Historic Park’s Visitor Center and Interactive Museum, which provides an excellent introduction to the history of San Francisco and its surroundings. World-class restaurants abound at your doorstep or you may dine at the hotel’s casual seafood restaurant in a Gold Rush Era ambiance.
Day 2 - Sausalito
San Francisco to Sausalito; 8.5 miles, easy, 250-ft elevation gain and loss From vibrant San Francisco to the charming, historical village of Sausalito, this full day of walking is rich in natural scenery and culture. Leaving your hotel on foot, you walk along the San Francisco waterfront, passing Ghirardelli Square (of chocolate fame), historical Fort Mason Park, and the Palace of Fine Arts before following Marina Street, with views of the Bay on one side and lovely San Francisco homes on the other, on the way to cross the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. At 1.7 miles long, this famous suspension bridge offers a pedestrian lane where you can linger over views of the city, bay, and Alcatraz and Angel islands. Leaving the bridge, a quiet road passes a former fort and museum before climbing slightly to a headland—a perfect place to enjoy your packed lunch. The final few miles of walking follow a road leading to the Sausalito waterfront promenade, lined with cafés and art galleries.
Day 3 - Muir Beach
Sausalito to Muir Beach; 5.5 miles, easy to moderate, 700-ft elevation gain and loss A short mid-morning transfer takes you to the Tennessee Valley and a wide, well-maintained trail. In just under 2 miles of walking, you reach the lovely Tennessee Valley Cove—nestled between bluffs on either side, this small beach is perfect for a break. As part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this protected region is home to over 1,200 plant and animal species and encompasses 59 miles of bay and ocean shoreline. A gradual climb rises to a coastal plateau offering spectacular views of the ocean and, on a clear day, the San Francisco skyline. The trail then hugs the coastline, with a short but steep descent into a lush gully before climbing back to the ridge. As you approach Muir Beach, with its beautiful cove (and one of the only swimmable beaches in the area) and hamlet, you are also walking in the foothills of Mount Tamalpais—its ridge is tomorrow’s destination.
Day 4 - Mill Valley
Muir Beach to Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais; 5.5 miles, moderate, 700-ft elevation gain and 1,100-ft elevation loss Today’s walk combines open trails with sweeping panoramas and wooded paths as you leave the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and enter Mount Tamalpais State Park. You leave the inn with a short transfer to the trailhead and start a leisurely 15-minute walk to a stunning hilltop view before descending toward the Muir Woods. At the Muir Woods National Monument, you enter the cathedral-like setting of this ancient and magical redwood forest. The Muir Woods is the only old-growth coastal redwood forest in the Bay Area, and one of the last on the planet. John Muir described this area as “the best tree-lover’s monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.” The trail snakes through fern and redwood canyons, following gullies and streams before reaching the canyon floor. A fairly steep ascent, often on stairs, brings you to the mountain ridgeline and your final destination, a magnificently situated mountaintop inn.
Day 5 - Point Reyes
Transfer to Point Reyes National Seashore. Limantour Beach to Olema; 8.5 miles, moderate, 1,300-ft elevation gain and 1,100- ft elevation loss After a scenic one-hour transfer along the ridge of Mount Tamalpais, you arrive at the Point Reyes Peninsula. This national seashore is known for its dramatic headlands, steep cliffs, white sand beaches, marine life, and tranquil bays. The walk begins along the coast at Limantour Beach, adjacent to an estuary and Drakes Bay, with intriguing tidal pools along the way. With luck, you may spot harbor seals bobbing offshore or, in the spring, gray whales guiding their calves along the shoreline. Leaving the beach, you enter coastal scrub and eventually traverse lush forest, slowly descending to the Bear Valley Visitor’s Center, where you may wish to learn more about the diverse ecosystems and cultural heritage of the park before continuing 15 minutes to your hotel.
Day 6 - San Francisco - Tour ends
After breakfast, a transfer takes you back to San Francisco for onward travels.

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E.g., 2015-04-19
E.g., 2015-04-19

Customize Your Tour

Member Price from $1,998
Nonmember Price from $2,098
Tour Code:
COWACA
Main Activity:
Walking
Other Activities:
Active
Hiking
Nature
Sightseeing
Activity Level: ?

Suitable for active travelers. There might be hiking, biking, rafting, or kayaking. 

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