On the Trail: Muddy Hollow

One of the first things riders mention when they talk about Limantour Beach is the steep downhill part of the drive out there. They are not exaggerating, and no matter which trail you ride, you will have to go down that hill. On the way home, you have to pull back up that grade. It is not a road for half-hearted hauling vehicles.

The only warning I would add to that is that the Muddy Hollow trail involves crossing at least one bridge. Getting to the beach means crossing another, much bigger one. Both appear to be in very good condition. At the beach parking area there are bathrooms but we did not encounter water for horses. This is probably just as well with the diseases out there these days. It is best to always carry water for your horses.

Maps for Point Reyes trails can be found here.

There are some tricks to finding the trail heads. Except for the  parking lot right at the beach, none are quite visible from the road, and they don’t have helpful signs saying things like “horse trailers this way.” This was a problem for us since we were not sure where we were going and we were trying to meet someone. We did not find them, and did not think it wise to go looking for them with the truck and trailer. So we saddled up in the last lot on the road, right at the beach, and rode out to find a trail. We found the Muddy Hollow trail, which is apparently also accessible from a parking lot at the end of a road marked “Muddy Hollow.” We passed that road on our way in.

It was a holiday weekend, but we were still surprised to find quite a crowd headed for the beach. On the other side of the mountain, it was a sunny day but the beach was pretty gray. No matter, many folks seemed to be having a nice time.

Of course they were not horse-savvy people. In some cases, the horses caused a stir, some dogs barked and lunged, though luckily (and by park rules) the dogs were on leashes. We encountered strollers, parasols, little children and folks who did not know they should probably wait for the horses to cross the bridge before starting to walk across.

There is another bridge at the other end of the Muddy Hollow trail, of moderate width and without the high sides. It also curves around. It does not span a very long drop, but I don’t think anyone would like going over the side into the bog.

There is also a short patch with cobblestones, a necessary evil I suppose, in a marshy area. Beyond that, the trail is very pleasant and not steep. In July, we saw a lot of flowers and some ducks. The key to a good ride at Limantour seems to be avoiding windy days and having a heavy-duty truck. On our way out, we did see a couple pulling in with a smallish SUV and a Maverick trailer. Know your rig.

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