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Phillip Burton Wilderness

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Recreational Opportunities

The Phillip Burton Wilderness at Point Reyes National Seashore contains spectacular vistas of forested coastal mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The 115 miles of trails provide access to all parts of the wilderness from often fog-shrouded ridge tops to dramatic ocean cliffs and beaches. There are ample opportunities to experience the varied topography and plant communities within the wilderness and view wildlife including tide pool inhabitants, neo-tropical birds, marine mammals and the rare tule elk.

Camping at four primitive backcountry campgrounds is available by reservation. Two of the campgrounds are located near the beach with the other two high on the shoulders of Inverness Ridge overlooking the coast.

Climate and Special Equipment Needs

The Phillip Burton Wilderness has a Mediterranean climate characterized by mild wet winters and generally warm dry summers. Winter temperatures can be cold from December through January, and summers are often characterized by persistent coastal fog. Winter season rainfall averages 40 inches, mostly occurring from November through March. The mean annual temperature is 55 degrees.

Safety and Current Conditions

The yearround average temperature is 55 degrees. Winters can be cold and rainy so proper clothing and raingear are highly recommended. The mild climate produces lush vegetation including some plants that require caution including poison oak and stinging nettles. Coastal geology is steep with highly errodible cliffs. Approach cliffs with caution and do not attempt to climb them. Narrow cliffside beaches should be approached with caution as rising tides may result in stranding. Travelers along cliff side beaches need to be aware of the "Sneaker Wave" phenomenon that can result in large unexpected surf. The Pacific deer tick is seasonally abundant.

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