Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore

Winter Activities

Winter Shuttle Bus

Winter is an exciting time to visit the park. As the gray whales migrate past and the elephant seals return to the Point Reyes Headlands, so do lots of visitors. This means increased traffic on the narrow roadways and in the small parking lots at the lighthouse and at Chimney Rock - especially on weekends and holidays. In the mid-1990's, the park experimented with a variety of options to meet the increased demand for parking. Options included closing the road, numbering parking spaces, and running van shuttles. Those options, unfortunately, resulted in two hour waits and lines of cars backing up in the South Beach parking lots. The whales were passing by as visitors waited patiently in their cars.

In 1998, to relieve this congestion and eliminate the two-hour waiting period, Point Reyes National Seashore contracted large 40-passenger buses to provide transportation from Drakes Beach to the Headlands. The 1998 -1999 lighthouse shuttle bus experiments proved successful, parking lot congestion was relieved and visitors were provided with a comfortable and quick trip to the Headlands. The success of the lighthouse shuttle bus prompted the National Park Service to continue this service.

The lighthouse shuttle bus system usually begins on the last Saturday of December and continues through mid-April. Sir Francis Drake Boulevard will be closed to private vehicles at the South Beach junction from 9:00 a.m. through 5:15 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays when the weather is fair or better. To ensure the safety of bus operators and passengers, we do need to limit private vehicle access on the narrow and curving road while the buses are running. Map of road closure.

NOTE: Sir Francis Drake Boulevard from the South Beach junction to the Lighthouse visitor parking lot is open to private vehicles on weekdays, and on weekend days when the shuttle bus system is not operating.