Below is a listing of Ranger Guided Programs offered at Point Reyes National Seashore. Program schedules are subject to change. Check back immediately prior to your visit for the most up-to-date information and times. Programs are not offered on December 25.
Teachers and Educators: For Ranger-Led Educational Offerings, please visit our For Teachers pages.
Groups of 15 or more: Please contact the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 415-464-5100 x2 x5 in advance of attending one of the following programs so that staff can make the necessary preparations for the extra participants.
Daily Ranger's Choice Program
10:30 am, daily from Sunday, June 1, 2014, through Monday, September 1, 2014, except on June 7, June 9, June 11, June 13, July 19, and August 31.
Come join a Park Ranger to learn more about Point Reyes National Seashore's natural and cultural history. Topics may cover earthquakes and plate tectonics, the Coast Miwok, Sir Francis Drake, the U.S. Lifesaving Service, or area flora and fauna. Some presentations may use the park's Science On a Sphere® to help explain complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating. Check the program schedule on our Schedule of Events: Summer 2014 Daily Ranger Program page, or stop by or call the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 415-464-5100 x2 x5 for information about today's program. Some programs may require up to a 1.6 kilometer (one mile) walk on easy to moderate trails. Meet at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
Lasts 1 to 1.5 hours.
Experience Tule Elk
10:30 am to 4:30 pm., Weekends and holidays from August through October, weather permitting.
View tule elk during the rut (mating season). Docents will be stationed at the Tomales Point Trailhead from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm and at Windy Gap, which is 1.6 km (1 mile) north along the Tomales Point Trail, from 11 am to 4 pm. Volunteer docents will have binoculars and spotting scopes to allow visitors to observe elk rut behaviors. Feel free to ask the docents questions about the tule elk.
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A Look into the Lens
2:30 pm through 4 pm, Friday through Monday, mid-April through December. Operational Changes Beginning May 1, 2013: A Look into the Lens is no longer offered on Thursdays from mid-April through May or September through December, but will be offered on Thursdays during from May 29, 2014, through August 28, 2014.
See inside the Point Reyes Lighthouse and discover its history and function with a Park Ranger. Access requires a strenuous descent and ascent of 308 stairs. Stairs close when weather and winds are hazardous, i.e., if the winds are in excess of 40 mph (64 kmph). The lens room is open with a Ranger present from 2:30 pm to 4 pm, Friday through Monday mid-April to late December. From May 29, 2014, through August 28, 2014, the lens room will also be open on Thursdays. The Visitor Center and steps leading down to the Lighthouse are usually closed early at 2 pm on Thanksgiving and December 24 and are closed all day on December 25. No programs are offered on these days.
Lighthouse History at Point Reyes
Illuminating the Point Reyes Light
The first and third Saturday, June through August, 2014, except on July 19. Times will vary depending on sunset. The program used to begin about a half-hour before sunset, but, due to safety concerns, now begins about 1.5 hours before sunset in order for the program to conclude early enough for participants to return to their vehicles before dark. Operational Changes Beginning May 1, 2013: The Illuminating the Point Reyes Light program is now only offered during summer months, instead of from April through December.
Experience the Point Reyes Lighthouse just before sunset. Learn about the lives of the keepers and the operation of the light. Space is limited on this popular program. Group size is limited to 8.
Call 415-669-1534 after 10 am the day of the tour for times and reservations. The program will be cancelled if winds exceed 40 mph. Call back between 4 pm and 4:30 pm to confirm status of program.
- Wear very warm clothes as the weather is often cold and windy.
- Bring a flashlight for the 0.6 km (0.4 mile) walk back to your car if you decide to wait until after sunset to return.
- Meet at the Lighthouse Visitor Center. Allow at least 1 hour to travel from the Bear Valley Visitor Center to the Lighthouse Visitor Center.
- Access to the Lighthouse requires a strenuous descent and ascent of 308 steps.
Lasts 1 hour.
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Whale and Elephant Seal Season Programs
Note: Due to the high volume of traffic out to the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock areas during the gray whale migration, visitors wishing to attend the following programs may be required to ride a shuttle bus from Drakes Beach. On weekends and holidays from New Year's to Easter each year, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard from the South Beach junction to the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock areas is closed during shuttle operating hours (9 am to 5:30 pm), weather permitting. On the day you plan to attend one of the following programs, call 415-464-5100 x2 x1 to find out whether shuttles are operating. More info on the shuttle bus system may be found on our Winter Shuttle Bus System page.
Journey of the Whales
1:30 pm, weekends and holidays, late December through April.
Join a Ranger to learn about gray whales as they migrate past Point Reyes. Learn about their habits and adaptations, and hope for a whale sighting from the Observation Deck. Program lasts 30 minutes.
This program is given out-of-doors. Come prepared for windy, cold and damp weather.
Meet at the Lighthouse Visitor Center. If the shuttles are operating, be sure to arrive at Drakes Beach at least an hour before the program start time to ride the shuttle in order to arrive at the program on time.
Historic Lifeboat Station Open House
Weekends and holidays, late-December through mid-March. Open House 11 am to 4:30 pm.
Visit a site where heroes of our coast were housed. See the historic lifeboat, view exhibits, and experience 80 years of lifesaving history at Point Reyes. Kids activities, a 10-minute video on elephant seals, and complimentary hot beverages (cocoa, tea, coffee) will be available. Hands-on interactive activities allow both children and adults to learn about seal and whale adaptations.
Special slide programs may also be available at the Historic Lifeboat Station, depending on staffing availability. Check at one of the Visitor Centers for whether the slide program is being offered. The slide programs last about 30 minutes.
Experience Elephant Seals
Weekends and holidays, late-December through April. Docents will be stationed at the Elephant Seal Overlook from 11 am to 4 pm. View an elephant seal colony through binoculars and scopes. Ask volunteer docents about the amazing adaptations and life cycles of northern elephant seals.
A special slide program about elephant seals may be available at the Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock, depending on staffing availability. Check at one of the Visitor Centers for whether the slide program is being offered. The slide program lasts about 30 minutes.
Experience Gray Whales
Weekends and holidays, late-December through April, weather permitting. Volunteer docents will be stationed at the Lighthouse Observation Deck from 11 am to 4:30 pm to answer questions about gray whales. Visitors will be able to view gray whales through park-provided binoculars and scopes.
Kule Loklo Workday
10 am, second Saturday of each month
Help maintain a recreated Coast Miwok village that offers a glimpse of life in pre-European California.
- Meet at Kule Loklo.
- Wear work clothes and boots.
- Bring gloves, bag lunch and drinking water.
- Rain cancels workday.
For more information, call 415-464-5140 or visit our Volunteer: Kule Loklo Workday page.
Habitat Restoration Workday
HRP, the "Sunday Team," meets in front of the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 9 am on the second and/or last Sunday of each month. Drop-ins are welcome. Call in advance to confirm the workday (occasionally the team travels to another park) and to discuss carpooling needs. Bring lunch, water, and sturdy shoes. Gloves and tools are provided. Contact Ellen Hamingson at 415-464-5196 or by email for more information. Groups may schedule additional weekend or weekday dates by contacting Ellen Hamingson at 415-464-5196 or by email.
For more information, check out our Volunteer: Habitat Restoration - Short Term page.
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Daily Ranger Program
Weekdays during the week following December 25 and during Spring Break (variable -- for 2013, programs will be offered weekdays from March 25 through April 5). Program start times have yet to be determined, but in the past the programs offered were: Ranger's Choice at 10:30 am and Science on a Sphere® at 1:30 pm.
Come join a Park Ranger to learn more about Point Reyes National Seashore's natural and cultural history. Topics may cover earthquakes and plate tectonics, the Coast Miwok, Sir Francis Drake, the U.S. Lifesaving Service, or area flora and fauna. Some presentations may use the park's Science On a Sphere® to help explain complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating. Stop by or call the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 415-464-5100 x2 x5 for information about todays' program. Some programs may require up to a 1.6 kilometer (one mile) walk on easy to moderate trails. Meet at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
Lasts 1 to 1.5 hours.
On Shaky Ground
10:30 am, Every Saturday through Saturday, May 31, 2014
Dare to tread the San Andreas Fault where the earth's crust shifted and moved 5 meters (16 feet) in 1906! Meet a Park Ranger at the start of the Earthquake Trail for this easy 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) walk.
Lasts 1 to 1.5 hours.
Kule Loklo Walk
10:30 am, Every Sunday through Sunday, May 25, 2014
This lesiurely 1.3 kilometer (0.8 mile) tour introduces visitors to the Coast Miwok and their history and culture. Meet at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
Lasts 1 to 1.5 hours.
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