Photographer’s Guide to Point Reyes

Tomales Point

Tomales point has two things that set it apart from the rest of the park: wide-open views, and lots of elk.

From much of the trail you can simultaneously look down to Tomales bay and out to the Pacific. The grassy fields along the trail are a great place to kick back and enjoy the sunshine on a warm day. There are also a few spots on the trail where you can look north along the coast. If afternoon sun is hitting the cliffs, they can be attractive for photographs.

Tule Elk were reintroduced to the park in 1978. Today, several hundred elk roam Tomales point. The elk make easy photography subjects because they are so used to hikers. It should obvious, but don’t get too close to the animals. They are a lot bigger (and faster) than you. The bulls will have antlers in the fall and can make majestic subjects. If the elk are well positioned, you can get nice silhouettes against

Cliffs on the West Side of Tomales Point

Photo of cliffs

About a mile past Pierce Point Ranch, the trail turns and drops through a small gap. Just before the low point, there is a nice vantage point to look north along the coast. This was a surprisingly clear day, so I was able to capture quite a few of the cliffs in succession. All along this part of the coast there are little pocket beaches at the bottoms of cliffs. I think it might be possible to scramble down to the beach in the lower left of the photo (we didn’t try) but farther out along the point there are some that you could only reach by sea

Elk on Tomales Point

Photo of cliffs

This was taken on a sunny day in the Tomales Point elk preserve. It is right before the grassy flat area on top, as the trail is just finishing climbing back up from White Gulch. I like how open this part of the park feels, almost like you are on top of the world. With the right camera angle, it is fairly easy to frame subjects against the sky like this so you don’t have any distracting background.

This was taken in the fall, antler season. These elk are obviously not very wild. In fact, a little farther down the trail we had to leave the trail to go around another group of elk that didn’t want to move off the path.