How Does One Access the Landing Site?

Drake’s 1579 landing site sits generally on Point Reyes National Seashore property which is in Northern California. The area is just north of the Golden Gate by, a distance of roughly a couple dozen miles or so. The major highway into the region is U.S. Highway 101. Exit at Petaluma or Novato and it is about a half-hour drive to the west.

The precise landing site, the basin of the Golden Hind’s careenage, is known as Drake’s Cove. It was named by Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, a founding member of the Drake Navigators Guild. The site is also somewhat remote. It is attainable by boat, raft, or kayak. It is also reachable by a one-hour hike along the beach heading east from Drakes Beach. But be careful when planning this beach route. That route is only possible during low tide and during months when the beach is extended. That is usually from May to October.

If you are feeling particularly ambitious, the site can be gained by two longer, somewhat rugged, cross-country routes. It is probably best to seek the assistance of people knowledgeable of the area before attempting either of these routes.

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Two cross-country hikers, Guild members Alan Proctor and Bob Allen, were well acquainted with the area. This view looks generally east and the hikers trek south.

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Proctor and Allen are hiking up an old road made in the 1940s by the local rancher Bill Hall. Hall also altered the Cove when he bulldozed a dam across it to make a stock pond. The pond—which used to be the west end of the Cove—is at center, Drakes Bay is at top, and the photographer is facing generally south.


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This deer stands along a cross-country route. Drakes Bay is to the left and the view is to the west.

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Elk such as these were seen by Drake and his crew. They were unfamiliar with the animal and described it in the terms of a large deer.