Park regulations are established to protect Point Reyes National Seashore's natural and cultural resources, and to provide for visitor safety. Your cooperation and assistance will ensure that we may all enjoy these resources for generations to come. The following is a summary of park regulations. A comprehensive list is available in Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR) and the Superintendent's Compendium. Please contact the appropriate office for additional information.
Remote controlled aircraft (both motorized and gliders) are prohibited due to potential disturbance to visitors and wildlife. Hang gliders require special use permit to operate in the park. As per section §7.81 of the Superintendent's Compendium, Drakes Beach Overlook is the only location approved for powerless flight. Contact the Special Park Uses office by email for information about hang gliding at Point Reyes.
The consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages by persons 21 years or older is permitted within Point Reyes National Seashore. However, all public use areas within the park are closed to the possession of receptacles with a capacity of five fluid gallons or more which contain an alcoholic beverage. The behavior induced by the consumption of excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages may adversely affect the park experience of other visitors. Parties with alcohol in large containers (i.e., kegs) have consistently caused problems in the past, including rowdy behavior and vandalism.
Bicycles must remain on paved roads or on trails designated by signs for their use. Bicyclists may not exceed 25 km/hr (15 mph) on trails, and must yield to horses and pedestrians. Visit our Bicycle Riding page for more information.
Non-motorized vessels may be used on freshwater lakes within the Seashore. They are also permitted at Abbott's Lagoon, Limantour Estero and Drakes Esteros, except that Limantour and Drake's Esteros are closed to all boat traffic from March 1 through June 30 each year to protect breeding wildlife.
Per the Marine Life Protection Act (MPLA), the Point Reyes Headlands is closed to all vessels within 305 meters (1000 feet) of shore from Chimney Rock west to Longitude 123° 01.00'. Per the Superintendent's Compendium, from Longitude 123° 01.00' west to the Point Reyes Lighthouse the headlands is closed to all vessels within 91 meters (100 yards) of shore. There are also 91-meter (300-foot) special closures around Point Resistance and Double Point/Stormy Stack, per the MLPA. Other temporary or seasonal closures may be in effect at different times due to breeding populations of marine mammals or seabirds. Please check in at the visitor center prior to a trip in order to get updated information on closures or conditions. Or visit our Kayaking page for more information.
Personal water craft are prohibited in Tomales Bay.
Camping is allowed by permit ONLY in designated backcountry campgrounds and on the western Tomales Bay beaches that are not closed for wildlife protection. Campers on Tomales Bay beaches must arrive by boat and may not hike, bike, or ride horses to the beaches. Overnight parking for boat-in campers is prohibited within Point Reyes National Seashore (i.e., along the Pierce Point and L Ranch Roads and at the Marshall Beach Trailhead) and Tomales Bay State Park. Contact the camping desk at 415-464-5100 x2 x5 or visit our Backcountry Camping page for more information.
All objects (plants and animals (or parts of them such as flowers, seashells, or antlers), historic artifacts, minerals, etc.) within the National Seashore are protected and may not be collected. However, certain products are available for personal (non-commercial) use only in limited quantities. These are:
Research specimens may only be taken with a special use permit. Contact the Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center at 415-464-5187 for more information or visit the NPS Research Permit and Reporting System to learn about the NPS procedures and requirements for applying for scientific research and collecting permits.
Please note: employee housing as well as park administrative, maintenance, operations, and storage facilities, including, but not limited, to access roads, outbuildings, grounds, and docks, are closed to public use.
Most commercial activities are prohibited. Those which are permitted require a permit obtained in advance. Check with the park special uses office by email for information on conducting commercial activities within the park.
See "Remotely Operated Aircraft"
Before February 21, 2010, guns and firearms of all types were prohibited within the park. As of February 22, 2010, a new federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws, to legally possess firearms in this park.
It is the responsibility of visitors to understand and comply with all applicable state, local, and federal firearms laws before entering this park. As a starting point, please visit our state's website.
Federal law also prohibits firearms in certain facilities in this park; those places are marked with signs at all public entrances.
Hunting within the National Seashore is prohibited.
36 CFR 2.4 (b)(1)(iii) prohibits the use of firearms within Point Reyes National Seashore.
See "Weapons" section below for regulations pertaining to other weapons.
Fires are allowed on beaches but are subject to restrictions. A permit is required and is available at the visitor centers, from field rangers, or from our Beach Fires page. Permits are issued free of charge on a same day basis (the same-day you plan to have a fire). During periods of high fire danger, all open fires may be prohibited. Check with a visitor center for fire closures on the day you obtain your permit. For more information about fire regulations, visit our Beach Fires page or call the Bear Valley Visitor Center at 415-464-5100 x2 x5.
Fishing is closely regulated in the park and is subject to California State Fish and Wildlife regulations and the Marine Life Protection Act. It is the individual's responsibility to be familiar with the state laws pertaining to the area they intend to fish, and with the species and limits of fish they take. A valid state fishing license is required. Fishing is allowed on most park beaches and freshwater lakes and ponds. Fishing is prohibited in Lagunitas Creek and all its tributaries including Olema and Bear Valley Creeks, in all inland freshwater streams in the park, in Limantour Estero, in the Point Reyes Headlands Marine Conservation Area, and in certain Marine Protected Areas. See our Marine Life Protection Act and Fishing at Point Reyes pages for more details.
Possession of a glass container within fifteen meters (fifty feet) of any riverbank, lakeshore, or beach, or on the water, or in a vessel is prohibited. This restriction is necessary to reduce the amount of injurious trash in the park and for the protection of visitors who frequent these areas in bare feet.
Horses and pack animals
Horses are permitted on all open trails in the park. The Bear Valley Trail (between the Mt. Wittenberg Trail and the Glen Trail junctions), the Meadow Trail, and the Old Pine Trail are closed to horses on weekends and holidays. Horses are prohibited at Kule Loklo, Drake's Beach, Earthquake Trail, Woodpecker Trail, and on roadways. Download a Map of trails closed to horses (140 KB PDF). Llamas are prohibited from Tomales Point Tule Elk Reserve and the Limantour area from Home Bay to the Coast Trail/Woodward Valley Trail Junction from the beach up to Inverness Ridge. Download a Map of trails closed to llamas (180 KB PDF). Read the Superintendent's Compendium or contact the visitor centers for further information.
From March 1 to September 30, kite-boarding is not allowed:
This seasonal closure is necessary as kite-boarding can interfere with wildlife behavior and disturb nesting shorebirds, such as the threatened western snowy plover, causing nests to fail.
From March 1 to September 30, kite-flying is not allowed:
This seasonal closure is necessary as kite-flying can interfere with wildlife behavior and disturb nesting shorebirds, such as the threatened western snowy plover, causing nests to fail.
The use and/or possession of marijuana remains illegal on federal lands, including Point Reyes National Seashore and other National Park Service areas.
Metal detecting and detectors are prohibited in the park to protect cultural and historic resources. Metal detectors may be transported through the park if they are cased and broken down so as to prevent their use.
Point Reyes National Seashore requires visitors to obtain permits before participating in certain activities, such as backcountry camping, building beach fires, weddings or ceremonies, group picnics, special events, and commercial filming and photography. Left unregulated, these activities could cause harmful impacts to the park's natural and/or cultural resources or to the enjoyment of the park by other visitors. Visit our Permits & Reservations page or contact the park's Special Park Uses office by email for more information.
All pets must be restrained at all times while in the Seashore on a leash no longer than six feet long. Pets may not be tied to an object and left unattended, or be allowed to make unreasonable noise. Pets are not permitted in public buildings, on most trails, or in campgrounds. Pets are permitted on the Kehoe Trail to Kehoe Beach, and, within Golden Gate National Recreation Area unit adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore, on the Bolinas Ridge, Cross Marin, Jewell, McCurdy, and Randall trails. Please observe all signs indicating pet restrictions. Check out the Pet Regulations page or contact a Visitor Center for additional information on where pets are permitted.
Remotely Operated Aircraft
Launching, landing, or operating a remotely operated aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Point Reyes National Seashore is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.
Definition: The term "remotely operated aircraft" (aka "remotely piloted aircraft," "unmanned aircraft," or "drone") means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g. model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.
This closure is necessary to protect wildlife, visitor experiences, and wilderness within the seashore. Due to the variety and distribution of wildlife, the accessibility of the park, and the geography of the wilderness, nothing other than a full closure will provide sufficient protection.
If you observe drone use in Point Reyes National Seashore, please call park dispatch at 415-464-5170 or contact staff at the nearest Visitor Center as soon as possible. If you observe drone use in other National Park Service areas or if you find photographs or videos online or elsewhere that were illegally taken within National Park Service areas from drones, you can report the violation to the National Park Service tip line at 888-653-0009 or by email.
Skating, skateboards, and similar devices.
Using roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices is prohibited.
Wildlife may not be viewed with an artificial light at night, nor approached so that animal behavior is altered.
All weapons (including, but not limited to, B-B guns, slingshots, bows and arrows, or any object capable of discharging a projectile), as well as weapons prohibited by the state, are prohibited.
Hunting within the National Seashore is prohibited.
Last updated: May 19, 2023