Distance: 6 miles (9.6 km) roundtrip, moderate
Bass Lake is a great destination for a moderate day hike, or a beautiful pit stop on the way to Wildcat Beach.
Begin at the Palomarin Trailhead and head northwest on the Coast Trail. Much of the first mile (1.6 km) of this hike offers spectacular ocean views from the tops of bluffs high above the surf. The Coast Trail then heads inland and drops in elevation to a valley floor before switchbacking out the other side. After climbing over a pass, one hikes past the Lake Ranch Trail junction and past a number of small ponds before reaching Bass Lake after 2.8 miles (4.5 km) of hiking. At 2.9 miles (4.6 km), an unmaintained spur trail leads to the southwest along the northwest side of Bass Lake.
Bass Lake is a popular, but unofficial, swimming spot; accessing the lakeside can be challenging and poison oak is common. There are no lifeguards—swim at your own risk.
This hike is mostly within the Phillip Burton Wilderness. There are no toilets at Bass Lake; be sure to use the vault toilets at the Palomarin Trailhead before starting your hike. Please practice Leave No Trace principles.
This route description alone is not a substitute for a trail map. Print out the Point Reyes National Seashore's South District trail map (3,422 KB PDF) before your visit, or pick one up at a visitor center on your way. Always check current conditions before heading out into the park and familiarize yourself with park regulations.
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.