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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.

For the record:

4:30 PM, Sep. 07, 2016This story incorrectly says bicycles are allowed on the route. Bicycles have limited access to the backpacking loop and campgrounds inside the parkland.

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.

RELATED: Unplugging at Point Reyes National Seashore, home to a famous lighthouse, pristine beaches and off-the-grid peace »

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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.