Inverness Travel Guide

  • Drakes Estero, Marin County, CA
    Drakes Estero, Marin County, CA
    by karenincalifornia
  • Chicken Ranch Beach
    Chicken Ranch Beach
    by karenincalifornia
  • View of Tomales Bay from a standup paddleboard
    View of Tomales Bay from a standup...
    by karenincalifornia

Inverness Things to Do

  • Stand Up Paddle (SUP) in Tomales Bay

    Tomales Bay, when it is not too windy, is an excellent sport for stand up paddling. There are several excellent spots for launch. One of my favorites is Chicken Ranch Beach in Inverness. The Bay is full of harbor seals, birds and jellyfish. You can't really see all of this from the beach. Being in the middle of the Bay is the best vantage point.

  • Jellyfish Watching

    Some people go whale watching. I like to go jellyfish watching from my stand up paddleboard. Take off from Chicken Ranch Beach and paddle across the bay to the Tomales Bay Oyster Company. Along the way, on a calm day, you may very well see countless large aurelius jellyfish (aka moon jellies).

  • Dillon Beach

    From Tomales Point, you will get a view of the town of Dillon Beach on the other side of Tomales Bay. Dillon Beach is a town primarily consisting of vacation homes. Pricey vacation homes. You could rent one for $300 to $500 per night or buy one for $1 million.In the 1960's, a freeway through West Marin was proposed and many large ranchlands were...

  • The end is in sight!

    After you round the crest of that last big sand dune, you'll arrive at the Tomales bluffs - the end of the trail. What a perfect place to stop for lunch! The beauty on a sunny day is mesmerizing - you'll definitely want to allow plenty of time to linger!

  • Cross over to the other side

    As you hike northward, Point Tomales gradually narrows. About 45 minutes into the hike, you will get your first good views of Tomales Bay to the east. Tomales Bay was formed by the San Andreas fault, which runs up through the middle of the Bay and out into the Pacific Ocean. The San Andreas fault is the largest fault in the Bay Area and was...

  • Getting to the Tomales Point Trailhead

    Point Reyes' principal industry is dairy. The road to the trailhead winds through vast diary farms and cattle ranches. These farms and ranches date back to the mid 1800's and were started by a San Francisco law firm, of all businesses. All of the mid 1800's ranches are now historic ranches and are subsidized by the government.Point Reyes is now...

  • Hike to the end of Tomales Point

    The Tomales Point trail, on a sunny day, is one of the most beautiful hikes in Marin County. This is a moderate hike of 9.5 total miles, in and out. The hike takes you over rolling hills, so there is a constant elevation change. You will start out at 300 feet, climb up to 470 feet, down to 135 feet, up to 250 feet and down to 80 feet. Then, to go...

  • Trailhead at Pierce Ranch

    The trail begins at the historic Pierce Ranch. This is one of the historic ranches that was established in the mid-1800's. Many of the other ranches are still operating, but this one is not and it serves only as an exhibit today. Descriptive signs are posted throughout the ranch, so you may take a self-guided tour if you wish. I personally am...

  • This Side Up

    Park Services thoughtfully placed one directional sign on the trail, just in case you lose your sense of direction. Of course, there are only two ways to go - forward and back where you came from.This is a hike where you can't get lost. Other plusses - no bears and no mosquitos.

  • The End

    At the very end of the Tomales Point trail are beautiful tidepools. You cannot get down the bluffs to these tidepools, but with a pair of binoculars, you will be able to see starfish and do some birdwatching. Birds commonly seen here are seagulls, double-breasted cormorants and brown pelicans.

  • Dune

    The final hill you will negotiate before descending down to the Tomales bluffs is actually a big sand dune. Because of the soft dark sand, the hiking becomes a bit more of a workout. The vegetation also changes dramatically, going from grasses to brush. It's about at this point that you start hoping this is the last hill you climb before you see...

  • Magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean

    Within 10 minutes of starting out on the hike, you'll suddenly come upon this stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. This hike has to be done on a sunny day to experience the full beauty Tomales Point has to offer.


Inverness Hotels

  • Motel Inverness

    12718 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, California, 94937, United States

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

  • Inverness Valley Inn

    13275 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, PO Box 429, Inverness, California, 94937, United States

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Business

  • Tomales Bay Resort

    12938 Sir Francis Drake, P.O. Box 295, Inverness, California, 94937, United States

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Couples

Inverness Warnings and Dangers

  • Stand up paddle warnings in Tomales Bay

    WINDS: Be mindful of winds and tides in Tomales Bay when you are on your SUP board. Tomales Bay experiences a prevailing north or northwest wind, which blows from the ocean and down the bay. I went for a paddle the other day and the wind was extremely strong - around 12-15 mph. Nothing like paddling in place. It was too wild to even photograph. I...

  • Sudden weather changes

    The weather is very capricious on Tomales Point. It can be gorgeous weather one minute, and foggy and cold the next. Bring layers, even if it is warm when you begin the hike. Quite often, even if the morning is beautiful, a fog will roll in later in the day.This photo was taken on our return to the trail head. It was completely clear and sunny when...

  • Looks are deceiving!

    That surf out there may look calm and inviting, but here are 5 reasons why you should stay out of the water:RiptidesUndertowSneaker wavesGreat white sharksFriggin coldThe beaches along Tomales Point on the Pacific Ocean side are NOT for swimming or surfing!


Inverness What to Pack

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo

    by karenincalifornia Updated Mar 8, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bring a pair of binoculars. They will come in handy for viewing wildlife. You might even see a whale or two. March is supposed to be a good month to see the mothers and their babies migrating north. I've lived here 8 years and I have yet to see a whale out there in the Pacific Ocean, but they say they are out there....

    Looking for whales at Tomales Point
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking

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Inverness Sports & Outdoors

  • Stand up Paddle (SUP) at Drakes Estero

    Just 3 miles west of Inverness is an excellent spot to launch a stand up paddleboard. The location is Drakes Estero, next to the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm. Drakes Estero is an unspoiled part of Marin County. It is a relatively shallow estuary teaming with wildlife - birds, harbor seals and sea nettles (these are not plants, but large brown frilly...

  • Stand up Paddle (SUP) in Tomales Bay

    An excellent spot for launching that stand up paddleboard or kayak is Chicken Ranch Beach in Inverness. Like so many things in West Marin, there are no signs. Drive north through Inverness, and just as the road veers off to the west to Drakes Beach/Lighthouse/Tomales Point, you'll see some space for off road parking. That is parking for Chicken...

  • Inverness Hotels

    8 Hotels in Inverness

Inverness Favorites

  • Mismatched rocks

    This is the view down the east side of Tomales Point looking toward Tomales Bay. The odd thing about Tomales Point is the rocks in the Point do not match the rocks on the mainland directly to the east. Instead, the Tomales Point rocks match the Tehachapi Mountains 310 miles to the south. This is because the Tomales Point and all of Point Reyes lie...

  • On location

    On a clear day, while at the very end of Tomales Point, you might be able to make out a town off in the distance on the main coast to the north. The town is Bodega Bay, where Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" was filmed. You will almost expect to see Tippi Hedren zipping toward you in a motor boat while being pursued by a flock of seagulls.

  • Tule Elk Preserve

    As you hike along the Tomales Point trail, you will be guaranteed to see at least one herd of tule elk. More than 100 years ago, these animals used to roam freely throughout central and northern California, but were all but wiped out by man during the gold rush era.In 1978, ten elk, eight females and two males, were brought to Pierce Point Ranch on...


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