Arch view from Chimney Rock overlook

Chimney Rock overlook

Shaped by pounding waves: a natural bridge

The Point Reyes peninsula, which “rides” on the eastern edge of the northwestward-advancing Pacific Plate, abruptly ends in the Pacific Ocean: this “Point Reyes land's end” stretches for about three miles from the western tip with the Point Reyes Lighthouse to the eastside tip called Chinmney Rock. Steep cliffs separate this stretch of ragged headlands from the ocean to its south. The Chimney Rock Overlook is a great place to overview the surrounding ocean habitats including Drakes Bay and the Gulf of the Farallones—with neighboring Monterey Bay farther south. Looking down from the overlook, you will spot sea stacks and the fragile natural bridge, shown in the picture above. The cliffs at Chimney Rock (like all Point Reyes National Seashore cliffs) have a tendency to crumble and slide. The Chimney Rock Trail, beginning at the parking lot east of the Elephant Seal Overlook provides safe access to the Chimney Rock overlook. The narrow social trails leading to the unstable cliff edges should only be walked on (if at all) with extreme caution!
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Point Reyes and beyond