Olema - Bolema - Ridge - Stewart Trail Loop, Point Reyes: Five Brooks Trailhead, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California
Olema - Bolema - Ridge - Stewart Trail Loop - 6.75 miles
Point Reyes: Five Brooks Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||6.75 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||265' - 265' (1,170' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+905' net elevation gain (+995' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Olema - Bolema - Ridge - Stewart Trail Loop - 6.75 Miles Round-Trip
Inverness Ridge is a divisive topographic line between the Pacific Coast, Olema Valley and Bolinas Ridge to the east. The San Andreas Fault runs beneath Olema Valley, where tectonic plates moving in opposite directions create geologically distinct ridges on either side of it.
This lengthy demarcation between coastal and inland facing slopes influences local weather patterns and ecological compositions.
The Five Brooks Trailhead launches a network of trails that fan out across the southern half of Inverness Ridge.
The Olema - Bolema - Ridge and Stewart trails join to form a short but challenging loop through a dense mix of fir, cedar, oak, spruce, hemlock, California bay, California hazel, big leaf maple, poison oak, brambles and ferns.
The following description travels clockwise up, atop and down the east face of Inverness Ridge:
The route begins on the Stewart Trail, a level road-trail that skirts a small pond to the beginning of the loop at the Olema Trail - Stewart Trail junction (.3 miles : 275').
Turn left, then immediately right on the Olema Trail (.38 miles). The Olema Trail dips and rises to a bridge (.9 miles : 282'), over which it climbs 270' in just .3 miles. Travel eases momentarily through 1.2 miles (550'), then resumes a challenging pace to the Olema Trail - Bolema Trail junction (1.6 miles : 622'). Bear right on the Bolema Trail.
The Bolema Trail climbs 265' in .4 miles before moderating to the Bolema Trail - Lake Ridge Trail - Ridge Trail junction (2.7 miles : 1,165'). Turn right on the Ridge Trail, and peer through a small clearing on the loop's highest point before pressing on.
The Ridge Trail drops gradually through mixed forest and glades past the Alamere Falls Trail split (3.65 miles : 1,060') to the Ridge Trail - Stewart Trail junction (3.7 miles : 1,035').
Merge onto the Stewart Trail for a fast descent on a wide, graded path. It hairpins several times with partial views across Olema Valley to Bolinas Ridge, and of deep folds along Inverness Ridge. Watch for bikes and yield to horses on this busy, heavily used segment.
The trail winds by the Greenpicker Trail (5.55 miles : 490') to the beginning of the loop (6.45 miles : 275'). Stay left on the Stewart Trail back to Five Brooks Trailhead (6.75 miles : 265').
Interactive GPS Topo MapKey GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84
- N37 59.853 W122 45.476 — 0.0 miles : Five Brooks Trailhead
- N37 59.920 W122 45.711 — .3 miles : Stewart Trail junction
- N37 59.862 W122 45.692 — .35 miles : Olema Valley Trail junction
- N37 59.494 W122 45.555 — .92 miles : Cross bridge, begin steep climb
- N37 59.188 W122 45.097 — 1.6 miles : Olema Trail - Bolema Trail junction
- N37 59.103 W122 45.398 — 1.95 miles : Steep climb eases momentarily
- N37 58.745 W122 45.708 — 2.7 miles : Bolema Trail - Ridge Trail junction
- N37 59.261 W122 46.231 — 3.75 miles : Ridge Trail - Stewart Trail junction #2
- N38 00.119 W122 46.256 — 5.55 miles : Stewart Trail - Greenpricker Trail junction
- N37 59.920 W122 45.711 — 6.45 miles : Complete Loop
- N37 59.853 W122 45.476 — 6.75 miles : Five Brooks Trailhead
- The road-trail circles the pond at the beginning of the loop, a good bird watching locale and worthwhile excursion for those with time. The pond is home to scores of birds and waterfowl.
- Yellow Jackets are found along these trails and have been aggressive at times, especially towards horses. Be mindful of their presence, particularly around wet and muddy areas.
- Conditions on the Olema, Bolema and Ridge trails can be muddy and further worsened by churning from horse travel.
- This loop is biologically and scenically similar to trails associated with Mt Wittenberg (save the climactic summit), but see thinner crowds. Consider trails leaving from Five Brooks when the Bear Valley Trailhead is overrun with weekend and holiday traffic.
- Anticipate equestrian groups and honor proper yield etiquette.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Camping is by permit only. Camping permits must be obtained from the Bear Valley Visitor Center before starting your trip. If you have made a reservation and are arriving after 5 p.m., a permit will be left for you in a small wooden box on the back side of the information board outside the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
- Campsites may be reserved up to three months in advance. To obtain a reservation, call 415.663.8054 between 9 am and 2 pm, Monday - Friday. Reservations by phone are not accepted at any other time. You may make reservations in person 7 days a week at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. You may also fax your reservation using our fax form and fax number: 415.464.5149.
- Wood fires are prohibited in hike-in campgrounds. Only gas stoves, charcoal or canned heat may be used for cooking. Downed wood may not be gathered and burned.
- Camping is limited to 4 nights per visit, with a maximum of 30 nights per year. The minimum age of any camper is 18 unless accompanied by an adult.
- Pets are not permitted in campgrounds. The maximum number of horses or pack animals in any campground is eight. Pack animals and horses must be tied to hitch rails.
Stewart Horse Camp
- The Stewart Horse Camp is located 4.25 miles from the Bear Valley Trailhead, or .15 miles from the Five Brooks Trailhead. It is a privately operated facility.
- Call 415.663.1570 for reservations (9 am - 5 pm, PST).
Wildcat Camp - Campground Information
- Wildcat Camp is located in a coastal meadow between bluffs and the ocean It's located 5.65 miles from the Palomarin Trailhead, 7.8 miles from the Bear Valley Trailhead, and 6.7 miles from Five Brooks Trailhead.
- There are 5 individual sites and 3 group sites; three of the individual sites only hold up to four people. Each individual site has a picnic table, food storage locker and charcoal grill. Group sites have two picnic tables, two food storage lockers and one large or two regular charcoal grills.
Glen Camp - Campground Information
- Glen Camp is tucked in a quiet wooded valley, 4.6 miles from the Bear Valley Visitor Center via the Bear Valley Trail and Glen Trail. To access via bicycle, start at the Five Brooks Trailhead and follow the Stewart Trail to the Glen Trail, then north to the Glen Camp Loop. This is 6.3 mile bike ride. No groups, horses, or pack animals are allowed at Glen Camp. There are 12 individual sites at Glen Camp.
Sky Camp - Campground Information
- Sky Camp is located on the west side of Mt. Wittenberg in open rolling meadows, 1.4 miles from the Sky Trailhead on Limantour Road. The site is located at 1,025'. On clear days it provides sweeping panoramas across Drakes Bay. Sky Camp has 11 individual sites and 1 group site.
Coast Camp - Campground Information
- Coast Camp is located in a small coastal valley with easy access to Santa Maria Beach. The shortest route begins from the Laguna Trailhead, and travels 1.8 miles on the Laguna and Firelane Trails. It's also accessible from the Coast Trailhead for a longer but easier 2.7 mile route that's also open to bikes.
- Coast Camp is located approximately 9.5 miles from the Bear Valley Visitor Center via the Bear Valley and Coast Trails. 12 individual sites and two group sites are available. Sites 1-7 are in a semi-protected canyon.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs are not permitted on hiking trails in Point Reyes National Seashore.
Directions to Trailhead
The Five Brooks Trailhead is located on the west side of Highway 1, 3.9 miles south of the Highway 1 - Sir Francis Drake Boulevard intersection. The trailhead is located 4.4 miles from the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Rd.
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
Visitor Information: 415.464.5100 x2 or 415.663.8522 x2
Headquarters: 415.464.5100 x 1
Volunteer Information: 415.464.5145
Education Programs: 415.464.5139
Special Use Permits: 415.464.5111