Sonoma Section 3

North Boundary to Salt Point, Salt Point State Park

Sonoma Section 3

North Boundary to Salt Point, Salt Point State Park

In contrast to the last section’s highway walk past privately owned coastal property, this fine walk unfolds entirely within Salt Point State Park, exploring a saw-toothed coast of jutting promontories and rocky inlets. It’s one of the most dramatic and scenic walks in Sonoma County and for this author’s money, in the state

This hike begins at the turnout just north of the Salt Point State Park boundary, which is marked by a sign. Walk the shoulder south briefly past the sign, then locate an unmarked trail plunging down slope through the brush. If it’s too overgrown, continue 38 mile on the shoulder, then turn right where a well-worn trail heads straight down to the shore from a wide shoulder parking area. To hike to the first trail, drop from the road and head south through a stand of trees, across a small gully before 14 mile, and gently downhill past more trees. Cross a wide grassy area, then meet the second trail from the road. You can turn right and descend to bluff’s edge to overlook steep Horseshoe Point and the dramatic cove.

Walk east along a ravine, then cross it heading south on the first obvious path. Then cross the sloping terrace above dense bush lupines and head for the notch in the ridge defining the point. Top the notch at one mile. Before you descend, consider a short climb to the point for a great view. Then follow the old ranch road south, soon leaving the ridge to drop to the bluftop at 114 mile. The big rock outcrop jutting seaward invites exploration of its nooks and crannies carved by the surf. The trail meanders south past fantastically shaped sandstone.

Distance: 6 ¼ miles (10.1 kilometers)

Open to: Hikers

Surface: Trail

Access point: North boundary of Salt Point State Park

How to get there: Park in the wide shoulder on the west side of Highway I at Milepost 44.54, 4.6 miles north of the Gerstle Cove Campground entrance.

Other access: Fisk Mill Cove and Stump Beach parking areas.

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation gain/loss: 260 feet +/380 feet-

Cautions: This trail is mostly unmarked.

Further information: None.

Facilities: Restrooms, water and picnic tables at Fisk Mill cove, stump Beach, and Salt Point parking areas.

Campgrounds: Salt Point State Park has Gerstle cove and Woodside campgrounds, plus a group camp and hike and bike camps.

Lodging: Salt Point Lodge is just south of the park on the next section.

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