Pierce Point Ranch

Pierce point ranch overlooks Tomales Bay. The white buildings are clustered in the shelter of pines.
Pierce Point Ranch overlooks Tomales Bay.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Picnic Table, Telephone

Pierce Ranch (aka Pierce Point Ranch) was considered to be the best dairy ranch in California as of 1900. It was the largest ranch operation on the Point Reyes peninsula in the late 1800s. Imagine what ranch life was like as you walk through the ranch complex, where interpretive signs describe the history and function of the various buildings. Historic features include the main house, a schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, barns, dairy houses, and many other structures.

Please note: The main house currently serves as a residence for park employees. Please respect the privacy of the residents.

The Best Butter in the Land

Established in 1858, Pierce Ranch excelled in the production of the finest quality of butter, as indicated by Goldberg, Bowen, and Company—a famous San Francisco fine food purveyor—which purchased the entire butter production of Pierce Point Ranch during late 1800s. Pierce Ranch was at the top among the Point Reyes ranches in the quality of its product. In recognition of its importance, it was written up in 1878 and again in 1880 as an outstanding example of a dairy ranch. The Pierce Ranch ceased operations in 1973.

Preserving the Pierce Ranch

Beginning in 1980, the National Park Service invested in the rehabilitation of the ranch core, citing it as the best example of a west Marin dairy ranch from the 1800s. Pierce Ranch is probably the least altered, least modernized, physical complex of ranch buildings in the area. Part of the ranch's main house dates to 1856, making it the oldest surviving ranch house in the Point Reyes region. Pierce Point Ranch was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, and was subsequently opened to the public as an interpretive site.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Last updated: September 16, 2022