Last updated: February 16, 2024
Distance: 3.2 miles roundtrip (5.1 km), easy
Start from the Bear Valley Trailhead and stroll through a forest of towering Douglas fir trees alongside Bear Valley Creek. The trail is fairly well shaded and several benches along the way offer resting spots. The trail gradually ascends 240 feet (73 meters) over 1.6 miles (2.6 km), crossing the creek a few times, before the forest gives way to Divide Meadow.
Two vault toilets are available at Divide Meadow, but no water is available. If you would like to take a break or enjoy a picnic in this beautiful area, please be mindful not to trample the sensitive meadow vegetation. Please Leave No Trace.
From Divide Meadow, you can retrace your steps back to the trailhead or continue deeper into the Phillip Burton Wilderness via the Bear Valley Trail or Old Pine Trail, which descends from Inverness Ridge just south of the vault toilets.
Along the northern three miles of the Bear Valley Trail, you can see evidence of the backfires that were set to combat the Woodward Fire, which was started by lightning strikes in August of 2020.
The Bear Valley Trail to Divide Meadow is a multi-use trail and is shared with bicyclists and horse riders. Please yield to horses, and be respectful of all users.
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 the Bear Valley Visitor Center on your way.
Always check the current conditions before heading out into the park, for up to date information on closures and hazards. Visit our park regulations web page for more information on specific 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.
Allow one to 1.5 hours to hike to Divide Meadow and back. Allow for more time to relax at Divide Meadow.
Pets are prohibited on all of the trails that depart from Bear Valley. Visit the park's Pets page to learn where pets are welcome at Point Reyes National Seashore.
To help reduce traffic congestion in the paved parking lot adjacent to the Bear Valley Visitor Center, please park your vehicle(s) in the gravel, trailhead/picnic area parking lot on the left (east) side of the access road close to the Bear Valley Trailhead. Parking is free. Download the Bear Valley Area Map (427 KB PDF), which shows the location of the trailhead parking lot relative to the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
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. Expect cool temperatures in March. By late May and early June, temperatures can be quite pleasant.
Although there is very little rain during summer months, there is often dense fog, which tends to burn off by mid-day. Afternoons are often sunny and warm to hot with a light breeze.
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.
The trail has a flat or mild grade (less than 5% slope) for most of its duration, although there are a couple sections with grades of more than 5%. The trail surface is packed dirt and gravel, and is approximately 8 feet (2.4 meters) wide, depending on the section. The trail serves as a service road for NPS vehicles. The steeper sections and a few somewhat rocky sections are passable for those in wheelchairs with assistance. While the trail does not technically meet accessibility standards, it can accommodate some wheelchairs. Strollers and bicycles are also permitted on the Bear Valley Trail from the trailhead to the Glen Trail Junction. The vault toilets at Divide Meadow are not accessible.