Chimney Rock sounds to me like a hike you would find in Great Smoky Mountains National Park or maybe in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. However, in this case, the Chimney Rock Trail is located in Point Reyes National Seashore in California.
Chimney Rock is a 1.75 mile round trip hike out to a popular whale spotting overlook. The trail gets its name for a small rock island in the ocean visible from the overlook. In addition to whales, the trail promises lots of opportunities to spot elephant seals and sea lions.
The trail starts thru a grassy section heading uphill. I promptly spotted my first wildlife with a rattlesnake crossing the trail about 5 feet in front of me.
Quickly you come to a crest in the trail with a gorgeous view of the coast off to the right. You can see sea lions lounging down below.
Sea Lions are pretty lazy
Continuing to follow the trail up and over the crest soon you are surrounded by ocean on three sides. It is a very beautiful spot to just soak in the views.
Right above the view of Chimney Rock is the best spot to see whales. Remember to bring binoculars! We were lucky as a pod of whales was passing by a few miles offshore. With the naked eye I could see their spray and with binoculars I could see some fins and their backs as they swam by. Pretty cool!
Chimney Rock. My iPhone camera couldn’t pick up the whales sadly.
Looping back, I noticed that there were quite a few elephant seals lazing about on the opposite side of the shore of the peninsula we were on.
Going downhill now, I arrived at the parking lot in short order. There is another shorter trail on the far side of the parking lot with leading to an overlook with a huge population of elephant seals. Some of these were playing in the water so it was good to see some actually moving about.
More elephant seals.
Point Reyes and Chimney Rock didn’t disappoint. I recommend checking out this trail and the rest of the National Seashore if you are ever in the area. Thanks for reading. rk