Reef Point Trail

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Review

Reef Point Trail provides access to the beautiful viewpoint of Reef Point at the southernmost tip of Cypress Island. There, the remains of a former olivine mine are mingled with native plants adapted to the dry shoreline environment and unusual serpentine soils that make up the majority of the south end of the island. Connections with all the other nearby trails has resulted in the Reef Point Trail taking the form of three separate "legs" each leading to a different area.

From Reef Point the trail curves quickly up from the water and briefly parallels the shoreline behind a screen of evergreens and lowly spreading salal. It soon passes through segments of dense shrubs overhung by native willows forming arches imitating aerial nurse-logs with their many vertical "sprouts" reaching skyward. A broad area on both sides of the trail shows signs of a former working area along the tread of this abandoned road. Here, a stand of young alders have thickly filled the void left by the abandoned clearing. Among them are mini-groves of grotesquely stunted Douglas fir trees. The favorite browse of island deer they are continually pruned, constantly having their growing tips sacrificed for tasty morsels. The grass carpeting the old road grade is lush in the spring and shows more signs of the deer’s presence. Matted trails and circular bedding areas provide a visual record of their daily wandering and napping. In only about a tenth of a mile the first junction is reached. Choices are simple, left or right.

To the left of this junction, one arm of the Reef Point Trail circles west then north and in only a little more than a mile connects with the Strawberry Bay Trail (see article this website). Somewhat brushy in sections, this segment climbs gently through forests and approaches the shoreline only briefly providing tantalizing peek-a-boo views of the water. Along the trail, plants indicative of the unusual serpentine soil can be found. Though not rare, the fern with the beautiful name, Indian’s Dream is one such species, seldom found in other habitats.

From the original junction, the right turn begins the eastern leg of the Reef Point Trail passing through a forest corridor. Be careful if pushing through the lush grass of the trail. In some places, openings in the forest canopy have provided enough sunlight to allow nettles and thistles to sprout offering an unwelcome surprise. In less than a half mile, the trail ends at a junction with the Cypress Mainline and the South Shore Trail. The Cypress Mainline offers direct and efficient hiking up to the central saddle of Cypress Island forming a possible loop with the Strawberry Bay Trail as well as other interesting trails and sites nearby. The South Shore Trail requires an out and back hike to the South Beach area but has some of the prettiest hiking on the island, following the high bluff while paralleling the shore and presenting constantly changing views through the open forest.

The Reef Point Trail provides the only land access to Reef Point the southernmost tip of Cypress Island but it also makes various combinations of hiking loops and trail connections possible. Far from the island’s camping options and with no convenient water access the solitude and remoteness of this trail is part of its appeal.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 3/9/2010

Directions

The Reef Point Trail has connections to all the trails on the southern end of Cypress Island. To the west it curves north intersecting the Strawberry Bay Trail. To the east it shares a junction with the Cypress Mainline and South Shore Trail. Landing small craft or even approaching Reef Point by boat can be hazardous (see article Reef Point on this website).

Map

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