Last updated: August 17, 2023
Distance: 4 mi (6.4 km) roundtrip
This out-and-back trail offers an easy hike with opportunities to see diverse bird life, wildflowers, and possibly tule elk! One can either start at the Muddy Hollow Trailhead at the trail's north end and hike to and from Limantour Beach, or start at trail's southern terminous at the Limantour Beach Trailhead and hike north and up the Muddy Hollow drainage.
Beginning at the Muddy Hollow Trailhead, follow the path downstream through lush riparian habitat of red alder and willow. After 1.4 miles (2.2 km), one arrives at a pond, which is a good location for birding. The next 0.4 miles (0.7 km) of trail skirts along the southern edge of an arm of Estero de Limantour before eventually arrive at the picnic area just south of Limantour Beach parking lot. Vault toilets are available at this location. From here, you can continue for ~0.2 miles (~350 meters) to the edge of Drakes Bay at Limantour Beach. Retrace your route back when you are ready.
Alternatively, some prefer to start their hike by parking at the Limantour Beach lot and following the Muddy Hollow Trail north from the Limantour Beach Trailhead. This offers the possibility of relax at the beach upon one's return. To find the southern end of the Muddy Hollow Trail from the large gravel parking lot at Limantour Beach, follow the path from the southern end of the parking lot past the vault toilets, keeping to the right. Just before the picnic area, the trail heads off to the west (to the right) through a small copse of pines.
In the spring and early summer months, tall grasses and new plant growth encroach along sections of the Muddy Hollow Trail. Pants and long sleeves are advised.
Visit the park's Hiking at Point Reyes National Seashore page for hiking tips and information about trail etiquette and safety.
Visit the park's Trail Advisories and Closures page for current information about closed trails, trails blocked by trees, or other temporary hazards or advisories.
Allow 80 minutes to 2 hours to hike the entire length of the Muddy Hollow Trail. Allow for more time to watch for birds and other wildlife, to botanize, or relax at Limantour Beach.
Pets are prohibited on the Muddy Hollow Trail. However, pets on a six-foot-or-shorter leash are permitted on Limantour Beach east of the main Limantour Beach Access Trail. Visit the park's Pets page to learn more about where pets are welcome at Point Reyes National Seashore.
After turning onto Limantour Road, look for signs for the Muddy Hollow Trailhead after about 6 miles of driving. Turn right, and park in the small lot at the end of this road. Allow 15 minutes drive time from Bear Valley to the Muddy Hollow Trailhead.
Or continue driving along Limantour Road and park in the main parking lot (the large gravel lot) at the road's end. Follow the path from the southern end of the parking lot past the vault toilets, keeping to the right. Just before the picnic area, the Muddy Hollow Trail heads off to the west through a small copse of pines.
The heaviest rainfall occurs in the winter months. Come prepared for rain and drizzle to possibly last for several days. In between winter rains, it is often sunny, calm, and cool.
Most spring days are windy and the Limantour Beach area frequently experiences fresh to strong breezes. Expect cool temperatures in March. By late May and early June, temperatures can be quite pleasant, even warm.
Although there is very little rain during summer months, there is often dense fog throughout the day in July, August and September with temperatures often 20 degrees cooler than at Bear Valley.
The coastal areas of Point Reyes experience some of the clearest days in late September, October and early November. The occasional storm will start rolling through in late October, bringing clouds, wind, and rain. The strongest winds occur in November and December during occasional southerly gales.
Point Reyes National Seashore is open for day-hiking from 6 am to midnight.
The trail has a flat or mild grade for its duration. The trail surface is packed dirt, and is approximately 3 to 8 feet wide, depending on the section. There are several narrow footbridges on the path. The vault toilets at Limantour Beach do not meet the criteria for accessibility.