Kelham Beach

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Rating: C

Kelham Beach features a spring-fed waterfall that spills down the cliffs.  Hikers sometimes sunbathe or swim naked at the site.  Remembers visitor Michael Velkoff, who went nude there:  "Just past Arch Rock, which parallels the beach, there's a trail that cuts through the woods on the bluff above the beach and takes you there." The final portion of the footpath to the sand is, he adds, "about 25 yards long. At the north end of the beach, look for an arch-shaped tunnel leading to what some people call Real Secret Beach. "Visitors should use caution when visiting this beach," warns a National Park Service site. "High tides frequently cover much of the beach."

Legal status:

Part of Point Reyes National Seashore.

How to find it:

In Point Reyes, a 4.8 mile trek from the Bear Valley trailhead, starting at the end of the Bear Valley Parking Lot, brings hikers to an overlook above Kelham. But getting there requires more like a three-to-six hour walk of just over 8 miles via the Bear Valley Trail, which is considered the Seashore's most popular path. You'll go through a forest of firs and other trees that provide protection from sun, wind, and fog, next to Bear Valley Creek. The beach overlook is at Arch Rock. Follow signs to Kelham Beach, off the Kelham Beach Trail, whose cutoff, near a huge eucalyptus tree, is about .8 mile north on the Coast Trail.

The beach:

The National Park Service calls Kelham a "quiet, secluded beach." For photos of Kelham and its waterfall, go to: www.scaruffi.com/monument/hikes07/rrey.html and Google images.

The crowd:

Probably just you and other hikers.

Problems:

Fog; wind; cold water; long hike; lack of others to help you if you fall.

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