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Point Reyes Offers More Than an Earthquake Trail

April 01, 1990|FREDERIC GOLDEN

Point Reyes, site of the Earthquake Trail, is an easy drive of about 50 miles from San Francisco. Head north via the Golden Gate Bridge and U.S. 101. Near Sausalito turn onto Highway 1, the spectacular coastal route that winds directly through the fault zone.

In the town of Olema, you'll see a turnoff marked for the seashore's Bear Valley Visitors Center. If you're more pressed for time, continue on U.S. 101 until the junction with Sir Francis Drake Highway and follow it to Olema.

The Golden Gate Transit Co. provides some bus service from San Francisco. Call (415) 332-6600 for schedule information. Most visitors will probably prefer to use cars because of the large distances between various points of interest at the 65,000-acre seashore.

At the Bear Valley Visitors Center, you'll find many fascinating exhibits highlighting Point Reyes' rich ecology. Helpful park rangers will not only give you information about the Earthquake Trail, which begins just a few steps away, but also about the many other delights of Point Reyes, which include hiking, horseback riding, overnight camping, whale and bird watching, and a reconstructed Miwok Indian village.

Don't forget to bring binoculars for close-up views of the wildlife, a camera for the many photo opportunities and an extra sweater for the coastal chills that can set in even on the sunniest days.

Except for a beachfront cafe on Drake's Beach, where the English adventurer Sir Francis Drake is thought to have repaired his ship in 1579, there are no dining facilities within the seashore itself. But there are a number of restaurants in the nearby towns.

I have enjoyed many hearty and modestly priced Central European meals at Vladimir's Czechoslovakian Restaurant in Inverness (12785 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.). For those who want to savor locally farmed oysters, Jerry's Farmhouse in Olema (10005 Coastal Highway 1) is worth a stop.

If you plan to stay overnight, you can book a free campsite through the Bear Valley Visitors Center. Call (415) 663-1092. The center can also provide you with information on nearby B&Bs and small inns and motels.

Among the lodgings in Olema are the new Seashore Lodge (10021 Coastal Highway 1, Olema, Calif. 94950, 415-663-9000; $85 to $175 double per night) and the Olema Inn (10000 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Olema, Calif. 94950, 415-663-9559; $95 to $105 double), both including breakfast. A nice B&B is Roundstone Farm, 9940 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Olema, Calif. 94950, $105 per night, including breakfast.

For more information on area lodgings, contact the West Marin Chamber of Commerce at (415) 663-9232.

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