Sonoma Coast State Beach,
California State Parks, Sonoma County
3.3 mile out and back hike on a Sonoma County bluff above the ocean is a perfect summer destination to escape from city heat.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 3.3 mile out-and-back hike is easy, with about 280 feet in elevation change. There is one short uphill stretch, and the rest of the hike is flat.
1 1/2 hours.
Really pleasant in summer.
From the junction of CA 1 and Bodega Highway (Sonoma County) drive north on CA 1 about 12.5 miles (about 7 miles north of Bodega Bay), then turn left into the Shell Beach parking lot.
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS coordinates* for trailhead:
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Stores, gas, and restaurants south in Bodega Bay, or north in Jenner. There are several very good campgrounds in the area, including Bodega Dunes and Wrights Beach.
Paved parking lot with two designated handicapped spots. No parking or entrance fees. Vault toilets at edge of parking lot. No drinking water or maps. Nearest phone at Wright's Beach. Trails are poorly suited to wheelchairs. There is no public transportation available to this trailhead.
Park hours are 8 a.m. to sunset. No dogs, horses, or bikes on Kortum Trail.
The Official Story:
CSP's Sonoma Coast State Beach page
Park office 707-875-3483
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Sonoma Coast State Beach map (pdf)
Afoot and Afield: San Francisco Bay Area, by David Weintraub (order this book from Amazon.com) has a great map and descriptions of a hike on Kortum Trail.
101 Great Hikes of the San Francisco Bay Area, by Ann Marie Brown (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and trail descriptions.
The Hiker's hip Pocket Guide to Sonoma County, by Bob Lorentzen (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and trail descriptions.
North Bay Trails, by David Weintraub (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and trail descriptions.
View photos from this hike
Sonoma County coastline from Bodega Bay to the mouth
of Russian River, some of the most spectacular shoreline in the state,
is protected as Sonoma Coast State Beach. Sandy beaches and stark bluffs
are easily accessible from a series of trailheads and parking lots strung
along CA 1, where you can enjoy views of the ocean without even leaving
your car. But Kortum Trail offers a special coastal perspective, on an
easy bluff-top trail that winds through coastal prairie from Wright's
Beach to Blind Beach. The trailhead at Shell Beach (in between Wright's
and Blind beaches) permits hikers to trek north or south on Kortum Trail,
or even out and back both directions. Spring wildflowers are gorgeous,
but the trail is a fine summer destination too, for cool temperatures
and butterflies. The Trail is named for Bill Kortum, a coastal Sonoma