Us Californians are fortunate enough to even consider a backpacking weekend in the depths of winter, but we still have to battle with many of winter’s tribulations such as shorter days, stronger wind and chillier temperatures. With a fair amount of vacation days during the holidays and high hopes that the beach would be rejuvenating no matter the season, we decided to give winter backpacking a go on the beautiful beaches of Point Reyes.
The first day we hiked 5 miles to the Glen Camp which was tucked away in the forrest and void of the potential for strong winds that many beaches are susceptible to. However, wind or no wind, it was quite chilly and we lost all sunlight by 6pm. This is when true glamping survival skills come in. With limited drink supplies we quickly whipped up an unusual yet delicious cocktail dubbed “The Whiskey Pine”. A simple concoction of hot water (essential for staying warm), pine leaves and whiskey, it’s amazing how luxurious each sip felt.
The next day was definitely the highlight, even with the 8 mile hike it took to get to the Coast Camp. The entire walk was along the beach, offering spectacular views of steep cliffs and bright green grass (thanks to the recent onslaught of rain in California).
Along the way were many stopping points, perfect for a quick wine and cheese break and to take it all in.
Once we reached our destination, it was clear the long and beautiful hike was well worth it. Our spot was completely secluded from everyone else with views of sweeping meadows instead of other tents. And a short walk to the beach brought us to a gorgeous sunset complete with bonfires scattered around. Apparently these sites can get quite windy, but we lucked out with milder temperatures.
You do need reservations to stay at the hike-in camps at Point Reyes, so I would recommend getting on that now so you can enjoy beach backpacking when it warms up a bit!