Abbotts Lagoon.
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Abbotts Lagoon Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore

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Point Reyes National Seashore, on the Californian coast, is home to Abbotts Lagoon, a cool spot to wander and go wildlife peeping!

A view across Abbotts Lagoon on an overcast day.
Abbotts Lagoon on an overcast day

The lagoon’s trail, offering a leisurely stroll through coastal grasslands and marshes, is a perfect adventure for anyone. Here’s everything you need to know about Abbotts Lagoon!

Abbotts Lagoon Trail in Point Reyes

Here are the hike stats. Generally speaking, hikers can complete this trail in about an hour.

Distance: 3.3 miles
Type of Trail: Out-and-Back
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 187 feet

Getting There

You’re about 10 minutes from Point Reyes Station and 1.5 hours north of San Francisco. You’ll want to come out here for a whole day because there’s so much more to see beyond Abbotts Lagoon in this area!

A raven perched on top of the information board.
The raven wanted to know about the lagoon
Nina standing at an information sign overlooking Abbotts Lagoon.
Admiring the view of the lagoon

The parking area is small, only accommodating around 20 cars.

Read our other guides to Point Reyes:

A Glimpse into The History of Abbotts Lagoon

The history of Abbotts Lagoon stretches back to a time when it was home to the Coast Miwok people. Make sure to head to Bear Valley Visitor Center while you’re in Point Reyes to learn more and do another trail showcase of the area’s history.

In the mid-1800s, European settlers began to establish ranches and farms in the region. The land around Abbotts Lagoon (their source of fresh water) served as grazing grounds for cattle and sheep.

Cows grazing in a field besides Abbott Lagoon.
A herd of cows at Abbotts Lagoon

In the early 1900s, the federal government acquired this land, designating it as part of Point Reyes National Seashore in 1962.

Hiking The Trail

The Abbotts Lagoon trail leads you through breathtaking coastal grasslands and marshes. Along the way, keep a watchful eye out for the local wildlife, which may include elk, coyotes, and an array of bird species.

Nina reading information on the notice board at the trailhead for Abbotts Lagoon Trail.
Nina standing at the trailhead

This scenic hike is not only easy to follow but also features several small bridges, adding charm to your journey as they guide you along the waterway that feeds into the lagoon.

Nina walking along a boardwalk trail on an overcast day.
The trail is partially covered with a helpful boardwalk

As you approach Abbotts Lagoon, you’ll happen upon a pristine birding environment, and you’ll want to freeze like a deer in headlights! At least, this is what happened to us. Every which way we looked, we saw some cool new birds feeding in the lagoon, flying overhead, or squawking at each other in the distance.

A bird perched on a bush.
Can anyone tell what species of bird this is?
A white crowned sparrow clinging onto a thing branch.
We know this one, it’s a white crowned sparrow!

Luckily they didn’t scare TOO easily and allowed us to shoot them (with our cameras) like little models! This was the best hike in Point Reyes for wildlife.

We saw rabbits, cranes, crows, other cool birds I’m not sure of, and even coyotes!

A great white egrets standing in the water of Abbotts Lagoon.
A great white egret hunting for food
Two coyotes hiding in the bushes.
The coyotes think they’re camouflaged. I can’t believe we actually saw them out and about during the day!

We heard coyotes throughout our hikes and finally spotted them on our way back, which was really cool and slightly scary too.

You can continue the trail beyond the lagoon and wander the beach, too but we think the best part is right at the bridge that goes over the lagoon, so if you’re short on time, just cut the beach part of the hike out.

Abbotts Lagoon Beach Point Reyes hikes
The bridge in question
A great white egret walking through a channel besides Abbotts Lagoon.
The same great white egret still on the prowl

Tips For Visiting Abbotts Lagoon

  1. Plan Ahead: Check the weather and trail conditions before your visit, as the area can be foggy and muddy, especially in the winter.
  2. Arrive Early: To secure parking at the trailhead, try to arrive early in the day, as the parking lot can fill up quickly.
  3. Stay on the Trail: Abbotts Lagoon Trail is well-marked; be sure to stay on the designated path to protect the delicate ecosystem.
Nina walking along a narrow dirt section of Abbotts Lagoon trail.
The trail is simple to follow
  1. Wildlife Viewing: Bring binoculars or a telephoto lens if you’re interested in birdwatching (or coyote spotting like I was!)
  2. No Swimming: While the lagoon is beautiful, swimming is a no-go!
  3. Check for Closures: Verify trail conditions and potential closures in advance, especially after heavy rain.
  4. No Pets: Pets are not allowed on the Abbotts Lagoon Trail, so leave them at home.
  5. Consider a Side Trip: If you have extra time and energy, explore nearby Kehoe Beach for more natural beauty and solitude! This is one of the best beaches in Point Reyes. We also love the Chimney Rock hike and Point Reyes Lighthouse!

We hope this helped you plan your visit to Abbotts Lagoon!

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