Chimney Rock is a short 2-mile round trip hike in Point Reyes National Seashore. It is very popular, and while it is not one of my favorite places to explore, it is still an easy trail with nice coastal views. Here is all the information so you can check it out yourself.
- 2 miles round trip
- ~100 feet of elevation gain
The turn off for Chimney Rock is on the far end of the park, near the lighthouse. You will follow signs for the lighthouse all the way till about the last 2 miles; this is when a sign will instruct you to turn left for Chimney Rock. The road is about a mile long and only one lane, so go slow and make sure to turn out for others as needed. When you reach the end of the road, there is a decent sized parking lot for this trail and the Elephant Seal Overlook Trail.
The trailhead is right next to the pit toilets, and it leaves from the parking lot.
The trail heads out on a single track as it gently climbs the hillside and proceeds past the residence below.
The trail continues a gradual climb before getting to an overlook which provides a great view down to the elephant seals on the beach below and the overall coastal scene that unfolds here.
Turning the other direction you will see the famous old lifeboat station that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The trail then heads up a small hill before reaching the top.
From here you are basically walking on the top of the hill along a flat path for the last half mile.
There are many places where the trail splits but signs will tell you not to take these trails as they are unauthorized.
From here you will eventually make it out to the overlook point for Chimney Rock.
I have to admit I was pretty unimpressed with Chimney Rock; I just expected it to be a lot cooler then it was.
There is a nice little arch in the water next to it though that I thought was better then Chimney Rock itself. You can look over the other edge and see the shoreline expanding out from you in the distance or just sit on the bench here and enjoy the view.
When you are done, head back the way you came. Be sure to note the coastline to the left of you though as it was pretty dramatic when I was there, and it had an extensive gathering of elephant seals as well.
All in all, this is a nice hike with some good views in the park; however, if you only have a short time, I would recommend skipping this for some of the better hikes. Read more about what to do at the seashore here and let me know what you think in the comments.