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Want to hike Point Reyes? Try this four-day backpacking trip

Want to hike Point Reyes? Try this four-day backpacking trip
You can find solitude and dramatic cliffs at Drakes Beach. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

In the late 16th century, British explorer Sir Francis Drake is thought to have stopped at Point Reyes during a round-the-world journey. The ship's chaplain wrote a description of the landscape and complained about "the stinking fogges" that shrouded the headlands in summer.

That hasn't changed.

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The fog, the hulking headlands and the craggy cliffs define this stunning slice of California's coast. Point Reyes National Seashore is not really on the way to anywhere; you must seek it out off Highway 1 in mellow Marin County about 30 miles northwest of San Francisco.

The national seashore designation can be a bit confusing. True, the beaches along Drakes Bay are a drawing card for visitors, but equally beautiful meadows and fir-tree-filled woods can be found in the interior.

A four-day backpacking trip from the park's eastern boundary provides plenty of time to experience it all — and slip far away from paved roads.