Horses and other pack animals are permitted on most established trails and beaches at Point Reyes National Seashore. They may not travel off trail because conditions are not maintained for their safety, and their presence can negatively impact the environment. You can download maps indicating which trails are designated for horse travel or stop by one of the park's Visitor Centers to pick up a trail map and obtain more information.
Five Brooks Ranch (415-663-1570) is a full service riding stable with a concession to operate within the National Seashore. They offer a variety of activities and services, including guided trail rides.
Safety and Etiquette
Trail conditions vary throughout the year. Visit our Trail Guide and Trail Advisories and Closures pages or check with park staff at the Bear Valley Visitor Center in person or by phone (415-464-5100) before your ride for current trail information and special closures. There are also some trails and areas of the park described below that are permanently closed to horses and pack animals.
Stinging nettle is a common plant at Point Reyes National Seashore and some trails may be overgrown with nettle at certain times of the year, especially during the spring and summer. Horses can react strongly if they are stung by stinging nettle's small needle-like hairs. Stung horses may begin to panic and leave the trail, thereby moving deeper into the nettles. In extreme cases, horses have died after extensive exposure to this plant. Both horse and rider should avoid this plant. The best way to do this is to stay in the center of the trail.
Horse riders should pay attention to signs at trailheads warning about yellow jackets, in addition to being alert for increasing numbers of yellow jackets. As a horse passes near a yellow jacket nest, it can shake the nest. Yellow jackets will then swarm out to defend the nest. If you are on a horse that is being attacked by yellow jackets, you will definitely want to promptly move out of the area. Some horses might panic upon being stung and may start bucking and bolting. Use your knowledge of your horse's temperment and your best judgment to resolve the situation.
Horse riding etiquette and rules for safety at Point Reyes National Seashore are much the same as at other parks:
NPSWilderness has produced three videos entitled Wilderness Calling: Point Reyes, Wilderness Motion: Point Reyes, and Wilderness Visions: Point Reyes featuring images and sounds from the Phillip Burton Wilderness within Point Reyes National Seashore, in addition to two videos about NPS wilderness: America's Wilderness and Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics which horse riders and other visitors to Point Reyes may find of interest.
Areas Closed to Horses and Pack Animals
On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, the following trails (Map - 140 KB PDF) are closed to horses and pack animals:
Horses and pack animals are not allowed in the following areas at any time:
The following areas have seasonal closures:
Llamas are prohibited from all areas that are inhabited by tule elk. Map (180 KB PDF)
Camping with Horses and Pack Animals
Camping is by permit only in three established campgrounds. Permits must be obtained at the Bear Valley Visitor Center before starting your trip. All advance reservations are now handled by Recreation.gov. Visit our Backcountry Camping page for more information.
The maximum number of horses or pack animals permitted overnight at Sky, Coast and Wildcat Campgrounds is six. Horses are not permitted over-night at Glen Camp. Llamas are not permitted at Coast Campground.
Pack animals and horses must be tied to hitching rails. Do not hitch animals to water supply faucets or picnic tables.
Grazing in the wilderness areas is prohibited. All feed for the animals must be packed in with you. In order to control the spread of non-native plants, please bring in only weed-free feed.
There is usually potable water available at each of the camps from faucets. Sky and Wildcat Campgrounds also have a water trough for horses and pack animals.
Commercial Horseback Trips
Special Use Permits are required for commercial horseback riding or pack trains into the backcountry. Call 415-464-5111 for more information.
Stewart Horse Camp
Overnight camping is also available during the summer and fall at Stewart Horse Camp. This is a privately managed camp located on Highway 1, 0.4 kilometer (1/4 mile) north of Five Brooks Trailhead. Stewart Horse Camp is currently closed.
Since late 2018, when the Stewart family notified the National Park Service (NPS) they would no longer be operating the horse camp within Point Reyes National Seashore, the NPS has been working to coordinate continued seasonal operation. Point Reyes National Seashore is now approved to enter into a temporary concession contract with Andreas (Andrew) Loose to provide horse camp operations. This approval is the first step for operations to begin at the horse camp this summer. The next step, issuance of the temporary concession contract, is anticipated once review of the contract is complete. We are currently waiting for the review of this contract from the National Park Service office in Washington, D.C. When the temporary contract is signed, horse camp operations may proceed. The park is currently working with Mr. Loose to make sure there is a smooth transition to allow him to commence operations as soon as possible. Please check back here for updates. (Last updated on June 17, 2019)
Popular Trail Rides
From Bear Valley
From Five Brooks Trailhead
Last updated: June 17, 2019