San Francisco to Point Reyes
Only in San Francisco can a walking vacation take you—on foot—from the heart of one of the world’s most beguiling cities to pristine natural areas of sweeping Pacific views, preserved coastal heights and shoreline, and majestic redwood forest. A unique self-guided walking itinerary starts at San Francisco’s bustling Fisherman’s Wharf and eclectic neighborhoods, walks you across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, and winds it way into Marin County’s coastal region, including historic Sausalito and Mount Tamalpais. The Muir Wood’s awe-inspiring redwoods are followed by the grand finale of Pacific splendor and rich marine life at the Point Reyes National Seashore. Each stop along the inn-to-inn itinerary delights, from sophisticated seaside, to charming English, to mountain-top lodge accommodations, all serving up fresh and enticing California fare.
- Breakfast daily, 4 lunches—days 2, 3, 4, 5, and 1 dinner—night 4 (2 lunches, 4 dinners , and beverages are not included)
- All accommodations (with private bathrooms)
- Local transfers as noted in the itinerary
- Luggage transfers between the hotels
- Detailed route notes and maps
- Basic travel insurance coverage
- The exclusive ease of a mobile phone rental with our Cellhire partnership. Receive preferred calling rates, free phone rental, and complimentary shipping of mobile phones 24-hour emergency service
- The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW staff
Easy: Up to 4 hours of activity per day (walking 2-6 miles; biking 5-15 miles) on gentle terrain, with up 750 feet of elevation gain.
Easy to Moderate: Up to 5 hours of activity per day (walking 4-8 miles; biking 10-20 miles) on gentle to rolling terrain, with up 1,200 feet of elevation gain.
Moderate: Up to 6 hours of activity per day (walking 4-10 miles; biking 15-25 miles) on hilly, sometimes uneven terrain, with up 2,200 feet of elevation gain.
Moderate to Challenging: Up to 7 hours of activity per day (walking 6-12 miles; biking 20-40 miles) on hilly to mountainous terrain, with up 3,000 feet of elevation gain.
Challenging: Up to 7 hours of activity per day (walking 6-14 miles; biking NA) on rugged, mountainous terrain, with up 4,000 feet of elevation gain.
**not applicable for Selects and Safaris
Itinerary and Accommodations
Arrival in San Francisco. Optional Barbary Coast Trail; 4 miles, easy, 100-ft elevation gain, 300-ft elevation loss
Upon arrival at your boutique hotel ideally located near Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square, you can set off for today’s optional walk and weave you through the city on a historic and cultural exploration. Including well-known highlights such as China Town and Union Square, the fascinating route also brings you through quieter neighborhoods and to hidden gems such as Maiden Lane and Telegraph Hill. You may shorten the walk as you wish, or if you arrival later in the day, you may relax at your hotel or stroll along the waterfront, perhaps ride an historic cable car, or visit one of the local museums or art galleries. Complimentary bicycles are also available at the hotel. Adjacent to your hotel is the Maritime National Historic Park’s Visitor Center and Interactive Museum, providing an excellent introduction to the history of San Francisco and surroundings.
San Francisco, California
A deluxe, boutique hotel ideally located between Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. The century-old renovated brick building blends authentic timber and brick with a theme reminiscent of the neighborhood’s seafaring past—a working astronomer’s clock, whimsical décor inspired by ocean liners, and nautical print fabric. The hotel’s EarthCare program demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainable practices while guests enjoy spacious rooms, a fitness center, spa services, and complimentary bicycles. World-class restaurants abound at your doorstep (advance reservation of approximately two months recommended), or you may dine at the hotel’s casual seafood restaurant in a gold Rush Era ambiance.
San Francisco to Sausalito; 8.5 miles, easy, 250-ft elevation gain and loss
From vibrant San Francisco to the charming, historic village of Sausalito, this full day of walking is rich in natural scenery and culture. Leaving your hotel on foot, you walk along the San Francisco waterfront passing Ghirardelli Square (of chocolate fame), historic Fort Mason Park, and the Palace of Fine Arts before following Marina Street with views of the Bay on one side and lovely San Francisco homes on the other, before crossing the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. At 1.7 miles long, this famous suspension bridge offers a pedestrian lane where you can linger over views of the city, bay, and Alcatraz and Angel islands. Leaving the bridge, a quiet road passes a fort and museum before climbing slightly to a headland—a perfect place for your packed lunch. The final few miles of walking follow a road leading to the Sausalito waterfront promenade, lined with cafés and art galleries.
Built in 1885 as a private villa overlooking the Bay Area, temporarily hosting military families during World War II, and scheduled for demolition following a series of mudslides, the mansion as well as 16 hillside cottages are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The elegant Casa Madrona offers spacious contemporary rooms with private balconies overlooking the harbor and heart of historic Sausalito. Amenities include a 3,000-square-foot spa and a fitness center. Dining options include casual al fresco bistros to a Michelin-recognized restaurant (some requiring advance reservations).
Sausalito to Muir Beach; 5.5 miles, easy to moderate, 700-ft elevation gain and loss
This morning, a short mid-morning transfer takes you to the Tennessee Valley and a wide, well-maintained trail. In just under 2 miles, you reach the lovely Tennessee Valley Cove—nestled between bluffs on either side, this small beach is perfect for a break. As part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this protected region is home to over 1,200 plant and animal species and encompasses 59 miles of bay and ocean shoreline. A gradual climb rises to a coastal plateau offering spectacular views of the ocean and, on a clear day, the San Francisco skyline. The trail then hugs the coastline, with a short but steep descent into a lush gully before climbing back to the ridge. As you approach Muir Beach, with a beautiful cove (and one of the only swimmable beaches in the area) and hamlet, you are also walking in the foothills of Mount Tamalpais—its ridge is tomorrow’s destination.
Muir Beach, California
From a family of British innkeepers, Charles Felix drew his inspiration from Sir Francis Drake when creating this charming inn in 16th-century England’s West Country style in the quiet cove of Muir Beach. The seven-room hotel features antique furniture, a cozy salon with an inglenook fireplace, and covered garden patio. Typical English fare of locally sourced ingredients is served at a full country breakfast and for dinner, either al fresco or family-style at the dining room’s Refectory table. Of course, fine ales are available at the lively pub.
Muir Beach to Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais; 5.5 miles, moderate, 700-ft elevation gain and 1,100-ft elevation loss
Today’s walk combines open trails with sweeping panoramas and wooded paths as you leave the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and enter Mount Tamalpais State Park. You leave the inn with a short transfer to the trailhead and start a leisurely 30-minute walk to a stunning hill-top view before descending towards the Muir Woods. At the Muir Woods National Monument, you enter the ancient and magical redwood forest in a cathedral-like setting. The Muir Woods is the only old-growth coastal redwood forest in the Bay Area and one of the last on the planet. John Muir described this area as “the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.” The trail snakes through fern and redwood canyons following gullies and streams before reaching the canyon floor. A fairly steep ascent, often on stairs, brings you to the mountain ridge line and your final destination, a magnificently situated mountain-top inn.
Mountain Home Inn
Mill Valley, California
Perched atop Mount Tamalpais, this historic inn was founded by a Germanic couple, and once a stop along the “Crookedest Railroad in the World”. Eco-friendly restorations were inspired by the 1930’s Grand National Park Hotels, featuring hardwood floors and redwood columns. Ten rooms with French doors or large windows open to stunning views. In the evening a dinner of organic California cuisine is served either on the expansive deck, or in front of the fireplace in the cozy dining room.
Transfer to Point Reyes National Seashore. Limantour Beach to Olema; 8.5 miles, moderate, 1,300-ft elevation gain and 1,100- ft elevation loss
After a scenic one-hour transfer along the ridge of Mount Tamalpais, you arrive at the Point Reyes Peninsula. This national seashore is known for its dramatic headlands, steep cliffs, white sand beaches, marine life, and tranquil bays. The walk begins along the coast at Limantour Beach, adjacent to an estuary and Drakes Bay, with intriguing tidal pools along the way. With luck, you may spot harbor seals bobbing offshore or, in the spring, gray whales guiding their calves along the shoreline. Leaving the beach, you enter coastal scrub and eventually traverse lush forest, slowly descending to the Bear Valley Visitor’s Center, where you may wish to learn more about the diverse ecosystems and cultural heritage of the park before continuing 15 minutes to your hotel.
Point Reyes Seashore Lodge
In the charming town of Olema and set in 5 acres of landscaped grounds and flower beds along the Olema Creek, this comfortable lodge is adjacent to the Point Reyes National Seashore with a direct half-mile trail leading to the park’s headquarters. Spacious rooms feature fireplaces and private balconies. Adirondack chairs in the garden, a well-stocked library and game room offer plenty of opportunities to relax. The restaurant, established in 1865, supports organic farming and sustainable practices with a seasonally changing menu of local fare.
Return to San Francisco
After breakfast, a transfer takes you back to San Francisco for onward travels.
Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.