Arch Rock is a 4 mile hike from the Bear Valley visitor center. Take the Bear Valley trail from the visitor center. The trail follows a small creek through the woods until it up to Divide Meadow. From there, it descends along Coast Creek all the way to the beach and Arch Rock.
The trail takes you to the top top of Arch Rock, where you have views of the beach and Drake’s bay. To get down to the beach, backtrack slightly and scramble down a steep trail which crosses Coast Creek and leaves you at the mouth of the creek. From here, you can take pictures through the arch.
Through the Arch
My wife and I were spending the weekend after Thanksgiving at the Bear Valley Inn in Olema. After breakfast on Sunday we took a run from the Bear Valley visitor center to Arch Rock. The temperature was in the 30’s at the visitor center, but it was so much warmer at the beach that we were too hot in t-shirts (Bear Valley was still cold when we returned).
This shot was taken after scrambling down to the beach, to where Coast Creek flows out under Arch Rock. I believe this was low tide (it certainly wasn’t the highest tide). The waves kept coming in and changing the scene, so I ended up taking quite a few shots and later picked the one with the nicest waves.
Coast Creek Cascade
The trail to arch rock leaves you at the top of the bluff, but it is possible to scramble down to the beach. Coast Creek tumbles down over these rocks before flowing out to the ocean. I wanted to emphasize the form and texture of the rocks and found the color distracting so I decided to go with black and white on this shot.