Backpacking for Beginners: Sky Campground in Point Reyes National Seashore

Backpacking isn’t for the faint of heart—it takes a bit of careful planning and, yes, you have to carry all your stuff. But the rewards are well worth it: no cars, no RVs, no crowds. Take baby steps toward becoming an intrepid backpacker by first setting off on short hikes into campsites that will check all your boxes for privacy, lush foliage, and killer views. A nice one starting with a short trek into Sky Campground, is at Point Reyes National Seashore, California.

Most Bay Areans have been to Point Reyes National Seashore, but only the backpackers will have found the small, secluded, and serene pockets of nature that are carved out specifically for hiking into one of its four campgrounds: Wildcat, Glen, Coast, and Sky. The latter is the most accessible to beginner backpackers, requiring a steady, 1.4-mile uphill climb to the campsite, which sits on the western side of Mount Wittenberg.

The hike to the campsite is uphill but also moderate; this will get you accustomed to carrying the weight of a small child on your back without overdoing it. Don’t rush—after a while you’ll forget the weight of your pack and, when you arrive to your campsite, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Drakes Bay, and Point Reyes from the tent sites, which are scattered along the hillside and tucked among the trees or out in the open for ocean views.

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