Bodega's Hidden Hike-in Beach
Hike Bodega Head to Salmon Creek Beach on the Sonoma Coast
Bodega Head is popular for its cliff-hugging hiking trails, but there’s a more-secret hike-in beach if you follow the path north to a less traveled trail that winds along the bluff and through dunes to spectacular South Salmon Creek Beach.
It’s 4 miles (round-trip), leaving from the Bodega Head parking area and heading north up the dramatic bluffside, then following the sign pointing the way to Salmon Creek Beach. Hiking on the coast can be misty and mysterious, or clear and sunny. Enjoy it either way! You’ll get nice views of Bodega Harbor before passing through the UC Davis Bodega Marine Reserve and across sand dunes covered in tall coastal grasses.
You’ll need a keen eye passing through the reserve and following the white sign-posts on an obvious trail, crossing the road at one point. After passing through a cattle gate and leaving the reserve, be sure to stay left (do not head to the right). Hike immediately down the momentarily steep trail to keep following the trail leftward until you get to a sign pointing to Salmon Creek Beach.
Follow the path until you reach a large resting area with picnic tables. Turn around and note your entry point here or take a picture with your phone (if all else fails, remember you took the trail that doesn’t allow horses). At this point you’ll see a rising sand dune that you can’t see beyond. Walk up and over it to descend to the beach.
South Salmon Creek is usually quiet this time of year, with giant driftwood being the only company you might have. Walk the dune-backed sands (just remember where you entered) or spread a blanket and relax for a while. Returning the way you came, you’re rewarded with stellar views of Tomales Bay.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: In the episode “Secrets of Sonoma County” the Weekend Sherpa team discuss their adventure hiking to a hidden beach and getting some amazing BBQ in Bodega Bay. Part of the podcast was recorded on a beach at Bodega Head!
Best in BBQ Bonus: There’s just something extra special about a friendly, family-owned eatery that’s making the best BBQ in the West. However you enjoy this beautiful part of the coast, your taste buds will appreciate the visit to Ginochio’s Kitchen, located on the harbor front.
The casual outdoor patio overlooks beautiful Bodega Harbor all the way out to famous Bodega Head. Thirty-year-old Alicia is in charge of the BBQ here, and she’s winning all kinds of awards as the youngest BBQ smoker in Sonoma County, including for the pork ribs, pulled pork, and bacon/brisket. There’s fish tacos and clam chowder too, or if you’re a pastry lover, caramel bacon monkey bread. Yes, your mouth is watering!
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