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Phillip Burton Wilderness

General Location Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Trip Planning Images

Area Management

The Phillip Burton Wilderness is part of the 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Phillip Burton Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.


-- Unless otherwise specified, no motorized equipment or mechanical transport, with the exception of wheelchairs, is allowed.

-- No dogs or other pets are permitted in any campground or on park trails. This prohibition does not apply to working service dogs, which are allowed on trails and in public buildings. If you have a service dog, please inquire at a park visitor center for information before setting out.

-- Wood fires are prohibited in the hike-in campgrounds. Only gas stoves, charcoal, or canned heat may be used for cooking. Downed wood may not be gathered and burned. Small fires made out of natural driftwood are permitted on sandy beaches (below the high tide line, if possible). Permits are required for beach fires in the park and can be picked up with your camping permit at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Put fires out with water, not sand. Charcoal fires are only allowed in the park-provided grills at designated campsites.

-- Weapons, fireworks, and hunting are prohibited.

-- Boaters must remove human waste. Disposing of human waste in the bay or onto park beaches is prohibited, so campers must bring portable toilets or limit camping to Marshall Beach and Tomales Beach, where vault toilets are available.


-- Camping is restricted to four designated primitive campgrounds that all require permits. Visitors may make online reservations for backcountry and boat-in campsites at Visitors may also check for available permits on a same-day basis at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Hike-in camping is allowed only in one of the four established campgrounds at the numbered site specified on the permit. Boat-in camping is allowed on national park beaches on the west side of Tomales Bay north of Tomales Bay State Park's northern border (i.e., north of Indian Beach and Duck Cove). Camping permits are $20/night/site for "individual" sites of up to 6 people; $40/night/site for small group site for 7-14 people; $50/night/site for large group sites for 15-25 people.

-- The minimum age of any camper is eighteen unless accompanied by an adult. Permits are not issued to children seventeen years of age or younger; an adult must pick up the permit at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

-- An overnight parking pass must be displayed on the dashboard of every vehicle associated with a hike-in camping permit parked overnight in the National Seashore. If you are starting your hike from Bear Valley, park your vehicle(s) in the gravel parking lot on the left (east) side of the access road close to the Bear Valley Trailhead.

-- Campers on Tomales Bay beaches must arrive by boat and may not drive, hike, bike, or ride horses to the beaches. Overnight parking for boat-in campers is prohibited within Point Reyes National Seashore (i.e., along the Pierce Point and L Ranch Roads and at the Marshall Beach Trailhead) and Tomales Bay State Park.

-- Camping is limited to four nights per visit, with a maximum of thirty nights per year.

-- We do not allow groups of more than six people to split up into multiple individual sites within the same campground. Groups of more than six are restricted to group sites only, and, similarly, may not purchase more than one site per campground. Everyone associated with your party at a given campground must stay in the same, single campsite.

-- Parties of six or fewer people are not permitted to reserve group sites.


-- Maximum number of horses or pack animals in any campground is eight. Horses are not allowed at Glen Camp. Pack animals and horses must be tied to hitch rails.

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