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Trails & beaches

Along the far northern coastline of Sonoma County lies a 10-mile stretch of rugged rocky coastline interspersed with golden sandy beaches known as Sea Ranch. The Sea Ranch is a private community offering six public access trails that lead either to the beach or across the bluffs where stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean await. Several trailheads lead to pathways and staircases providing access to the beaches below.

For details on how to find these trail heads, Download the Trail Map.

Although all six Sea Ranch beaches are open to the public to enjoy getting their feet wet, they are not ideal for swimming due to the strong nature of the currents just off the shoreline. There are five parking lots with facilities, however parking is not available to RV’s or vehicles with trailers. For more information, please call the rangers at 707-785-2377.

Sea Ranch beaches are perfect for an evening stroll with an air of romance while listening to the crashing waves as the sea meets the rocky shore. The semi-privacy of secluded beaches provides the ideal spot for a beach picnic.  Watch the whales as they migrate along the California coastal regions. Known for being a popular sea lion resting spot and a bird watching extravaganza, it is no wonder that Sea Ranch real estate is in high demand.

Bluff Top Trail – Get Directions

Overview: 3 miles one way – Runs along the headlands between Walk On Beach and Gualala Point Regional Park. Views of sea cliffs and hidden inlets and vantage points for birding and whale-watching.

Activities: birding and hiking/walking trails.

Hours: Summer – 6 a.m. to sunset; Winter – 8 a.m. to sunset.

Parking: $7 per vehicle or $1 per person for vehicles with 10 or more people.

Dogs: Licensed dogs allowed on leash no longer than 6 feet.

Restrictions: Please stay on marked public access trails. Bicycles are not allowed. RVs and trailers are not allowed.

Walk On Beach – Get Directions

Overview: .25 miles one way – Passes through a large grove of Monterey cypress to a wide, sandy, quarter-mile beach reached via a bluff-top staircase. From Walk on Beach Trail, hikers can follow Bluff Top Trail north to Gualala Point Regional Park.

Activities: beaches, birding, and hiking/walking trails.

Hours: Summer – 6 a.m. to sunset; Winter – 8 a.m. to sunset.

Parking: $7 per vehicle for day use. $1 per person for vehicles with 10 or more people.

Dogs: Permitted on leash no longer than 6 feet. License required.

Restrictions: Please stay on the marked public access trails. Campfires are not allowed. RVs and trailers are not allowed.

Shell Beach – Get Directions

Overview: .65 miles one way – Runs through pines and meadow to a wide, sandy beach with sea rocks and tide pools.

Activities: accessible areas/beaches, biking, birding, camping, fishing, hiking/walking trails, kayaking/canoeing, and picnic facilities.

Hours: Summer – 6 a.m. to sunset; Winter – 8 a.m. to sunset.

Parking: Free.

Dogs: Licensed dogs permitted on leash no longer than 6 feet.

Restrictions: Please stay on the marked public access trails. Campfires are not allowed on beach. RVs and trailers are not allowed.

Stengel Beach – Get Directions

Overview: .12 miles one way – Short path lined with cypress trees leads to a wooden staircase and a small beach. Look for seasonal waterfalls on the cliffs. Stengel has largest parking area of the public trails, with room for a dozen cars.

Activities: beach, birding, and hiking/walking trails.

Hours: Summer – 6 a.m.to sunset; Winter – 8 a.m. to sunset.

Parking: Free.

Dogs: Licensed dogs permitted on leash no longer than 6 feet.

Restrictions: Please stay on the marked public access trails. Campfires are not allowed. RVs and trailers are not allowed.

Pebble Beach – Get Directions

Overview: .27 miles one way – Grassy path runs through pines and meadow to a small black-sand cove reached by stairs.

Activities: beach, birding, fishing, and hiking/walking trails.

** Beach Access may be closed due to Winter Storm **

Hours: Summer – 6 a.m. to sunset; Winter – 8 a.m. to sunset.

Parking: Free.

Dogs: Licensed dogs allowed on leash no longer than 6 feet.

Restrictions: Please stay on marked public access trails. Campfires are not allowed. RVs and trailers are not allowed.

Black Point Beach – Get Directions

Overview: .25 miles one way – Crosses the bluffs to a curving, quarter-mile beach reached by a steep, wooden staircase. Known to surfers, this beach is just north of Black Point, a cape that juts out about 250 yards from the shore.

Activities: beach, birding, fishing, and hiking/walking trails.

Hours: Summer – 6 a.m. to sunset; Winter – 8 a.m. to sunset.

Parking: Free.

Dogs: Licensed dogs allowed on leash no longer than 6 feet.

Restrictions: Please stay on marked public access trails. Campfires are not allowed on beach. RVs and trailers are not allowed in the parking lot.