Sonoma Section 1

Gualala Point Regional Park Visitor Center to Sea Ranch Lodge

Sonoma Section 1

Gualala Point Regional Park Visitor Center to Sea Ranch Lodge

This first walk in Sonoma County traverses a part of the coast that gave birth to the modern coastal protection movement. See the feature The Battle For the Sea Ranch Coast. Though Sea Ranch has many houses, you'll enjoy its gorgeous shore line. Consider staying overnight in Sea Ranch accommodations, which gives you the right to walk private trails at Sea Ranch, including the southern six miles of the Blufftop Trail to Sea Ranch Lodge.

This walk starts at the visitor center with dramatic views overlooking the GuaIala River and Mendocino shore to the north. Take the paved trail northwest then southwest for about 450 feet, then go left on the dirt path where the paved trail swings to the right. You follow a row of cypress trees and the fence marking the Sea Ranch boundary. At ¼ mile turn left through the fence and trees onto the Blufftop Trail which meanders along the convoluted, rugged bluffs. At ¼ miles you drop down to a small creek and meet Salal Trail which loops back to the visitor center.

Distance: 9.25 miles ( 14.9 kilometers).

Open to: Hikers. Bicyclists on highway.

Surface: Trail, highway shoulder.

Access point: Gualala Point Regional Park Visitor Center.

How to get there: Turn west off Highway 1, .25 mile south of the Gualala River bridge and drive .5 mile to the visitor center.

Other access: Via Salal TraiI and at Walk-on Beach, Shell Beach, Stengel Beach, Pebble Beach, and Black Point Beach trailheads.

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation gain/loss: 230 feet+/ 190 feet-.

Cautions: Sea Ranch is closed to the public except for the northern Bluftop Trail, Salal Trail and the five access trails and the beaches they reach, plus any of the tideline you can walk below the mean high tide line. Wandering off the trails is trespassing. Blufftop Trail south of Walk-on Beach is closed to the public, but open to anyone staying in Sea Ranch lodgings.

Further information: Gualala Point Regional Park (707)785-2377.

Facilities: Park's visitor center has water, restrooms, picnic tables. The five beach trailheads have chemical toilets. Sea Ranch Lodge has a restaurant and small store.

Campgrounds: Gualala Point Regional Park Campground is east of the highway.

Lodging: Sea Ranch has a lodge and many houses for rent (800)732-7262. If you stay in Sea Ranch lodging, you have the right to walk the non-public trails of Sea Ranch.