Ocean Cove
Adventure Guide

Gualala Point Regional Park

This oceanfront park in the northwest corner of Sonoma County borders the Gualala River and Mendocino County. Located on both sides of Highway 1, the park features an expansive beach and estuary, where the river meets the sea, and a small, forested campground along the river. Trails connect the beach and campground to coastal bluffs and to The Sea Ranch community just to the south.

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Sea Ranch

Kick back, relax, and enjoy the breathtaking beaches and spectacularly rugged coastline at The Sea Ranch (pop. 1,305), a tiny, environmentally-planned private community stretching for 10 miles along Highway 1 at the northern end of the Sonoma County coast. It's estimated that about half of the houses in The Sea Ranch are rented out as vacation homes.

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Salt Point State Park

Located on the rugged California coastline about 90 miles north of San Francisco on State Highway One, and 8 miles north of Fort Ross State Historic Park. The shoreline of the 6,000-acre park features rocky promontories, such as Salt Point, that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. 

There are two campgrounds and more than 20 miles of hiking trails in the park. For more information visit the California State Park Salt Point site.

The inland portion of the park features both grassland and forest areas. As the terrain rises northeast of Highway One, coastal brush and grasslands blend into lush growths of bishop pine, Douglas fir, madrone, tanoak, groves of second growth redwood and quiet meadow areas.

At the top of the coastal ridge, at about 1,000 elevation, there is a large open prairie and pygmy forests.The park encompasses one of the first underwater parks in California. Fishing is permitted throughout the area with the exception of Gerstle Cove Marine Reserve, where the marine life is completely protected. 

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Stillwater Cove Regional Park

Located on Hwy 1, between Salt Point State Park to the north and Fort Ross State Historic Park to the south, this often-overlooked yet beautiful 210-acre park offers beach access at Stillwater Cove by way of a 1.6-mile loop trail along Stockhoff Creek. A short stub off this loop trail leads to the historic Fort Ross Schoolhouse. Trails wind up through fern lined canyons along creeks through picturesque redwood groves. Stillwater Cove also offers a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, as well as small boat launching and scuba and skin diving access. A campground with picnic, water, coin-operated shower and flush toilet facilities is available year-round.

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Fort Ross State Park

Fort Ross State Historic Park brings attention to the varied stories that have occurred here through the centuries, including the long formation of the coastal natural history, the centuries past and present of resident Kashia Pomo people, the Russian colonization periods (1812-1842), the Ranch era (1842-1972), and the over one hundred year era of this area as a protected resource as a State Historic Park.  The park's Visitor Center is an excellent place to start a tour of Fort Ross to become acquainted with the rich natural and cultural history of the area.

Fort Ross was a thriving Russian-American Company settlement from 1812 to 1841. This commercial company chartered by Russia's tsarist government controlled all Russian exploration, trade and settlement in the North Pacific, and established permanent settlements in Alaska and California. Fort Ross was the southernmost settlement in the Russian colonization of the North American continent, and was established as an agricultural base to supply Alaska. It was the site of California's first windmills and shipbuilding, and Russian scientists were among the first to record California’s cultural and natural history. Fort Ross was a successfully functioning multi-cultural settlement for some thirty years. Settlers included Russians, Native Alaskans and Californians, and Creoles (individuals of mixed Russian and native ancestry.)

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Sonoma Coast State Park

Long sandy beaches below rugged headlands, a craggy coastline with natural arches and secluded coves are features that make Sonoma Coast State Park one of California's most scenic attractions.

While the north coast weather can be foggy in the summer, it usually burns off by midday and the cool ocean breezes make the Sonoma Coast a haven for visitors seeking to escape the inland heat.

Location
The Sonoma Coast is comprised of several beaches separated by rock bluffs and headlands.  Sonoma Coast SP spans 17 miles from Bodega Head to Vista Trail which is located approximately 4 miles north of Jenner. Beachcombers, fishermen, sunbathers and picnickers can access the beach from more than a dozen points along coast Highway 1.  The Salmon Creek Ranger Station is located on Highway 1 midway between the South Salmon beach parking lot off of Bean Avenue and the North Salmon Beach parking lot.

Hiking

  • Bodega Head Loop (easy) 1.5 miles - Park Ocean or Harbor outlook.
  • Bodega Head Overlook (moderate) 3 miles - Park at harbor overlook or Salmon Creek.
  • Bodega Dunes and Westside Trails (moderate to strenuous, unmarked dunes area. Park at Westside Park or Bodgega Dunes Campground.
  • Kortum Trail (easy) 6 miles. Park at Wright’s Beach, Shell Beach or Blind Beach.
  • Pomo Canyon Trail (moderate) 4 miles. Park at Shell Beach or Pomo Campground.
  • Vista Overlook (easy) 3/4 mile - Park at Vista Overlook.
  • Birdwalk Coastal  Access Trail (easy) 1 mile - Park at Doran Beach Regional Regional Park.
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