Invigorating, peaceful and quiet well describes the experience of walking the coastal environs during winter. Because fewer people take to the the trails, you’ll see more wildlife, such as black-tailed deer and rabbits, and myriad species of birds with unique calls and songs to lift your spirits. You may catch sight of migrating gray whales; volunteers are stationed at Bodega Head to assist viewers witness this annual journey. Cheers to the environmental trailblazers, leaders and rangers who protect and care for our natural resources!
Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail
355 Highway 1, Bodega Bay
The Sonoma County Regional Parks Department has revitalized a salt water marsh next to the Bird Walk that is home to thousands of birds. There are 1.19 miles of trail that circle two ponds, offering coastal views and excellent birding opportunities. After a brief rise from the parking lot, this gentle trail system has a gravel surface that is moderately accessible to wheelchairs. The Cheney Creek Bridge Trail connects Birdwalk Coastal Access to Doran Regional Park. Dogs permitted on 6-foot leash.
Shorttail Gulch Coastal Access Trail
20242 Osprey Drive, Bodega Bay
If you like views of hidden coves and rock formations, this steep coastal access trail is for you. It’s a perfect place to spend a day exploring, and fishing is said to be excellent. The access trail can be hiked as a 1.9-mile loop with Pinnacle Gulch Trail. The park opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. Free parking. Dogs permitted on 6-foot leash.
Pinnacle Gulch Coastal Access Trail
20600 Mockingbird Road, Bodega Bay
This trail leads to a beautiful beach on Bodega Bay, an ideal spot to let out your inner beach bum and a fine place for a picnic. The trailhead is across from a small parking area in the Bodega Harbour golf community. At low tide, the trail can be hiked as a 1.9-mile loop with the Shorttail Gulch Trail Coastal Access Trail. Low tide also allows you to hike from Pinnacle Gulch to Doran Beach. Free parking. Dogs permitted on 6-foot leash.
You’ll see rare coastal prairie habitat and breathtaking views of the ocean on this easy bluff-top trail, situated along part of the California Coastal Trail. It is named after environmenal leader Bill Kortum, who co-founded Coastwalk and spent much of his life defending the California coastline and working to preserve public access to the coast. The Kortum Trail extends from Blind Beach to Wright’s Beach. Parking access is midway along the trail at Shell Beach at Wright’s Beach.
Pomo Canyon Trail and Red Hill
The Pomo Canyon Trail runs from Highway 1, just east of Shell Beach, to Pomo Canyon Campground, off Willow Creek Road. Redhill is accessed using a 2-mile leg of the trail, which takes you across open grassy hills, past two hidden redwood groves, and then to a vantage point atop a rocky ridge. For a longer hike, you can continue to the Pomo Canyon Campground.
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