Redwoods, Blue Coast
Hike Shell Beach to Pomo Canyon Redwoods on Sonoma Coast
Red: redwoods. White: wave ripples on sandy beaches. Blue: the Pacific. Combine all of the Sonoma Coast’s best features on a this 6-mile (round-trip) hike from Shell Beach to Pomo Canyon.
Start at Shell Beach (arrive early for best chances of getting an easy parking space). Cross Highway 1 (carefully!) to the Pomo Canyon trailhead (aka Dr. David C. Joseph Memorial Trail) and ascend the coastal hills, topping out at a gorgeous northern vista of the Russian River emptying into the Pacific.
Descend into Pomo Canyon for its major highlight: a pristine, tranquil old-growth redwood forest where patches of sunlight sneak through the tall canopy and fall like fairy dust to the ground. (October 2020 Update: Multiple environmental campsites are here, along with picnic tables, but camping is currently not allowed at Pomo Canyon; check the Sonoma Coast SP website for updates.)
Return the way you came and head down the set of wooden stairs to Shell Beach. Low tide brings tide-pool sightings of hermit crabs, sea stars, and giant green anemone clinging to rocks. Red, white, blue, and you!
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: In the episode “Secrets of Sonoma County” Weekend Sherpa co-founders discuss their adventure hiking at Pomo Canyon. And they share a story about their back-in-the-day camping trip, which involved a late-night visit from a mountain lion!
Start the hike at the Shell Beach parking lot, which is 7 miles north of Bodega Bay on Hwy 1. The Kortum Trail runs north and south; for the route mentioned, go north toward Goat Rock and Blind Beach. Shell Beach is dog-friendly. Watch for high tides! No dogs in Pomo Canyon.
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