Weekend Ranger Programs

Point Reyes National Seashore



Location: LAT/LONG: 38.040717, -122.799570

Bear Valley Visitor Center (unless otherwise noted)

Repeating Event


Every week on Sunday and Saturday


January 27, 2019 to January 05, 2020


1:30 PM


1 hour

Type of Event

Guided Tour


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, Francis Drake, the U.S. Lifesaving Service, or area flora and fauna. Some presentations may use the park's Science On a Sphere® (SOS) 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 additional information about scheduled programs. Some programs may require up to a 1.6 kilometer (one mile) walk on easy to moderate trails. Meet at 1:30 pm at the Bear Valley Visitor Center (unless otherwise noted).

Currently planned* ranger-led programs

Date Program Title
Saturday, January 4 "A Brief History of Your National Parks" illustrated program
Sunday, January 5 "Perilous Waters and Stinking Fogs ~ Saving Lives off of Point Reyes" slide show

* Program schedule subject to change.

Program descriptions:

Below are brief descriptions of the programs that current Park Rangers present. Please note that we usually only offer one program per weekend day. Please see the "Currently planned ranger-led programs" section immediately above for a listing of programs that are currently scheduled to be presented.

"Bats of Point Reyes" illustrated program
Human perceptions about bats have varied throughout history. Are they evil or good? Are they vampires? There are a lot of myths about bats. Dispel some of your misconceptions by learning about these amazing nocturnal animals. Join a Ranger in the auditorium for a one-hour long slide show. Bat Week will be October 24 through October 31, 2019.

"Birding Bear Valley" nature walk
Curious about birds and birding? Join this one-hour ranger-led bird walk for beginners and all others as we look for resident birds and migrants as we walk around areas of the Bear Valley Visitor Center, which may include the Earthquake Trail, the Woodpecker Trail, and Kule Loklo. Please bring binoculars if you have them. Starts at 9:30 am, not at 1:30 pm, unless otherwise noted. Rain cancels.

"Birding Estero Trail" nature walk
Join a ranger-led bird walk on the Estero Trail. We will meet at the Estero trailhead parking lot at 1:30 pm and walk about a mile to the footbridge, looking and listening for birds along the way. Plan on hiking at least a total of two miles on flat but uneven terrain. We may also continue past the bridge and walk uphill to the first overview for views of the Estero, weather permitting. Bring water and wear layers because weather can be quite variable. We will hope to see land birds, shorebirds, and raptors. Rain cancels. Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center to the Estero Trailhead. 

"Birding the Outer Point: From Drakes Beach to Chimney Rock and Points in Between" nature walk
During this spring migration, join a ranger-bird nerd as we look for migrating and resident birds at areas where birds may stop over during their migration journeys. We will meet at Drakes Beach in front of the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center at 1:30pm. We'll look for birds in the area and then move to areas which may include A, B, and C ranches, the Elephant Seal Overlook, and maybe hike the Chimney Rock Trail. This program may be 2 to 3 hours long, or even longer, in total because of the areas covered. The program will conclude at 4:30pm at the latest. Birders of all levels are welcome. If you have them, please bring binoculars and spotting scopes. Rain cancels. Elephant seal activity on Drakes Beach may cancel program. Directions from the Bear Valley Visitor Center to Drakes Beach.

"Birds of Prey" nature walk
Join a Ranger to learn about the birds of prey at Point Reyes. Learn about their adaptations and habits, and hope to see a red-shouldered hawk or a white-tailed kite and more. This 1-hour long program begins at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. From there, we will take a 1-kilometer (0.6-mile) long walk along the wheelchair-accessible Earthquake Trail. Feel free to bring binoculars and/or spotting scopes.

"A Brief History of Your National Parks" illustrated program
There are 418 National Park Service sites in all fifty states and most U.S. territories. Which was the first: national park, national monument, national seashore, etc.? Which is the largest? Smallest? How many have you visited? What’s the closest park to where you live? Join a Ranger in the Bear Valley Visitor Center's auditorium for a slide show to learn more about your national parks.

"Deciphering the Green Blur" nature walk
Do you ever look out on the forest and just see a big blur of green? Get to know the plants of Point Reyes National Seashore by taking a guided 1 hour walk on some of the trails around the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

"Elephant Seals: A Life of Extremes" illustrated program
Elephant seals have amazing adaptations to survive on land and at sea. Explore the life cycle of an elephant seal during this 30-minute illustrated program.

"Going Green with the Green and Gray"
Join a Ranger on a 30-minute walking tour highlighting eco-friendly technology and sustainability efforts in Bear Valley at Point Reyes National Seashore.

"Icehouse/Greenhouse" SOS program
Scientists have concluded that periods of so-called greenhouse (warmer, wetter) conditions are times of mass extinctions compared to icehouse (cold, dry) conditions. Causes of climate swings vary, and we are living in the time of human-caused change.

"It's a Small World" SOS program
Although the earth is quite an expansive place from our individual perspectives, it can appear to be quite small when we consider the human and natural connections throughout it. Explore these connections with a ranger and gain a new perspective on our planet that can help us take the first step towards global stewardship.

Junior Ranger Discovery Hike
Join a ranger on the Woodpecker Trail to explore the forest ecosystem and to earn a Junior Ranger badge. Recommended for ages 6 and up. All children must be accompanied by an adult. This easy 1.6-kilometer (1-mile) hike will meet at the flag pole in front of the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 1:30 pm.

Kule Loklo Walk
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.

"The Motion of the Ocean" SOS program
The world's oceans absorb vast amounts of carbon and produce a substantial portion of the oxygen that we breathe. Humans have greatly accelerated the amount of carbon going into our oceans, with some alarming consequences.

"Nature Discovery Walk"
Join a ranger for a nature walk. Highlights include a small stream, a large tree, a meadow, and a historic marker. Meet at the Bear Valley Picnic Area across from the Bear Valley Visitor Center. The route follows a 1-km (0.6-mile) flat, paved, loop trail alternating through areas of sun and shade. Last 45 minutes to 1 hour. Extreme heat cancels.

"On Shaky Ground" nature walk
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.

Park Orientation
Join a Park Ranger for a 15 to 30 minute overview of what to see and do at Point Reyes National Seashore.

"Perilous Waters and Stinking Fogs ~ Saving Lives off of Point Reyes" slide show
Join a Ranger to learn about the history of maritime navigation, the shipwrecks of Point Reyes, and the role of the Point Reyes Lighthouse in saving the lives of hapless mariners. Program lasts ~ 1 hour. Meet inside the auditorium at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

"Planet Ocean" SOS program
Learn how the ocean influences our lives, how we humans are changing the ocean and its ecosystems, and what you can do to help protect the ocean.

"Point Reyes - God Help the Hapless Mariner..."
Explore the maritime history of Point Reyes, including shipwrecks, lifesaving, lighthouse, and maritime radio.

Porch Pop-Up Program with a Ranger
Meet at the Bear Valley back porch area for a casual conversation facilitated by a park ranger and initiated by the interests of participants. This informal 20–30 minute program will explore a bit of Point Reyes National Seashore. Bring your own coffee and tea!

"Revenge of the Nurdles" Beach Walk
Join a ranger down at Drakes Beach to learn about micro-plastic pollution and to pick up and remove any nurdles that we might find on the beach. Nurdles are small beads of plastic that are part of the production process of plastics that enter the waterways and wind up on our shores as pollution. Bring a water bottle, sunscreen, layers and a hat, and a container with a lid to collect nurdles in. Optional: a small colander or hand-held sifter to sift nurdles from the sand. Drakes Beach is a 30-minute drive from the Bear Valley Visitor Center. We will meet at 1:30 pm on the beach side of the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center. The program will last approximately 1–1.5 hours.

Science on a Sphere program
Join a Ranger to get a perspective of planet Earth that once was available only to astronauts. Science on a Sphere® (SOS) gives visitors a view of the Earth and the forces that shape life on our planet. Learn about wildlife migrations, atmospheric and geologic events, and even other celestial bodies. The Science on a Sphere® can be used to explain complex environmental processes in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating. Meet at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

"Tule Elk" ranger talk
Come hear the incredible story of extirpation and return of the tule elk at Point Reyes.

"Where Have All the Fishes Gone" SOS program
Global climate change, a century of over-fishing, and plastics washing into the ocean have led to declines in fish populations, the bleaching of coral reefs that act as fish nurseries, and the slowing of ocean upwelling that makes the waters nutrient rich. Learn more by coming to hear about "Where Have All The Fishes Gone?"

More information

Reservation or Registration: Yes

Contact Information

Bear Valley Visitor Center
415-464-5100 x2 x5
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