Northern California Treasures, Part 1

My approach to travel during this pandemic is that of rediscovering what my home state has to offer. Driving the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California is ideal for someone like me who is passionate about travel and photography. Even if the popular sights are closed, I can always stop to  photograph the landscape and enjoy the view.   

Point Reyes National Seashore

The Point Reyes National Seashore offers some of the best scenery in California. The highlight  is the Point Reyes Lighthouse which is located at the western-most end of the Point Reyes Headlands and Sir Francis Drake Blvd. I must admit the drive here is not easy due to winding roads, high winds and fog. But the spectacular views are worth the drive. From the parking lot we hike about half a mile uphill to the visitor center. And in this short walk, we see varying landscapes from rolling hills covered with wild plants, wildlife (tule elk) roaming around the hills, and rugged cliffs that fall into the ocean, and shore breaks that paint the beach below with monochromatic shades of blue.  Past the characterful huge rock behind the visitor center is the observation deck where the stairs to reach the lighthouse begin. The lighthouse is perched on a ledge at the bottom of the cliff. The surrounding views are simply stunning. And the fog provides a more dramatic effect to the scenery. 


To see the lighthouse up-close and the Fresnel lens and the clockwork, you have to go 300+ stairs steps down. It requires strenuous effort to climb the stairs which are equivalent to a 30-story building. 

313 steps to the lighthouse


Tule elk and other wildlife roam around the rolling hills covered with wild plants

The fog, and the shore breaks paint the beach down below with two shades of blue.


After visiting the lighthouse, I stop at the Cypress Tree Tunnel , another landmark in the Point Reyes National Park that is popular to photographers. The roadway that starts off Sir Francis Drake Blvd to the historical RCA building/North District Operations Center is covered by a canopy of very old Monterey cypress trees which is where name Cypress Tree Tunnel came from.


The Point Reyes National Seashore has a few sandy beaches like the South Beach and the North Beach. I drive to the South Beach but heed the warning sign posted at the parking lot about the dangerous shore breaks and rip currents, so I just stay to take photos of the beach and the colorful ice plants on the roadside.



There's turn off to the left with the sign "to Chimney Rock" shortly before the end of Sir Francis Drake Blvd.. If you want to explore this area, there is also a short trail from the parking lot that will lead you to the Chimney Rock, elephant seals overlook, and the historic Chimney Rock Life Boat Station. 

NOTE:

  • Check with the State Park or National Park service for park closure before your visit. 
  • I have not received any compensation for writing this post and have no material connections to the brand or products mentioned in this blog.
  • Visit or follow me on Instagram (@greencaviar) or Tiktok (@greencaviar_features) for visual stories/reels.

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