Sonoma Coast Facilities & Activities
Be Safe When Visiting Sonoma Coast State Park
Like most north coast beaches, Sonoma Coast SP is NOT FOR SWIMMING. Strong rip currents, steep beaches, heavy surf and sudden ground swells make even surf play dangerous. The water temperature averages 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A small staff of well-trained lifeguards is usually on duty during the peak season, but with so much coastline to cover, they may not be available. Those wishing to swim or wade on this coast should investigate Doran Beach, part of the Sonoma County regional park system.
Warning: It is especially important to keep back from the highest water-line (adults and children). Never turn your back to the ocean. Many rescues are made each year, and sadly, a number of people lose their lives. Also be careful of the bluffs and rocks. The shale formations are unstable and unsafe for climbing, so stay on the trails and heed warning signs. Stewards has been instrumental in posting warning signs in English and Spanish.
The tidepools on the Sonoma Coast State Park beaches are teeming with multitudes of flora and fauna. From virtually invisible colonies of aggregate
anemones to sea stars tucked under kelp, there are fragile intertidal creatures everywhere. Stewards offers two levels of hands-on tidepool
exploration education programs to help students and the public safely explore the tidepools without destruction to the habitat. The Tidepool Education Program is designed for school groups. The Tidepool Roving Naturalist Program places trained docents on certain Sonoma Coast beaches on weekends to interact with the general public. There is usually no charge for either
of these programs. We schedule dates and times when the tides are lowest to maximize access to the tidepools.
Jenner Visitor Center
The Sonoma Coast Visitor Center in Jenner (JVC) is situated on the Russian River estuary in the heart of Jenner. Previously called the Jenner Boathouse, it was operated by the Jenner Community Club for many years. In 1996, the community asked Stewards to take over the staffing of the JVC.
The Visitor Center is operated by State Parks docents and open most days of the week year round. The center contains a wonderful Nature Store with an excellent assortment of educational sales items. There are interesting, interpretive displays showcasing local history, flora and fauna. In addition, you will find information about local lodging, restaurants and things to do in the area. Please call (707) 865-9757 to confirm hours of operation.
The Russian River estuary and Sonoma Coast State Park offer extraordinary opportunities to experience nature at its finest. It is not unusual to
see harbor seals, river otters, an occasional sea lion or elephant seal swimming in the estuary. The bird life is prolific, with ospreys, bald
eagles, Great Blue Herons, egrets, turkey vultures, pelicans, gulls, cormorants and many shorebirds. Popular activities in the area include
kayaking, fishing, hiking, biking, surfing and tidepooling.
The following facilities currently have REDUCED SERVICES (pack it in/pack it out and no restroom facilities):
- Bodega Dunes Day Use
- Blind Beach Day Use
- Bodega Head East Day Use
- Campbell Cove Day Use
- Russian Gulch Day Use
- South Salmon Day Use
- Schoolhouse Day Use
- Vista Point Day Use
- Pomo Canyon Environmental Campground (closed until further notice)
- Willow Creek Environmental Campground (closed until further notice)
The following facilities are OPEN:
- One loop of the Bodega Dunes Campground
- One loop of the Bodega Dunes Campground
Kortum Trail: Magnificent hike along approximately 10 miles of the California Coastal Trail. The trail starts at Blind Beach (enter the Goat Rock beach entrance just south of Jenner and drive 0.8 miles to the Blind Beach parking lot). The trail crosses multiple State Beach parking lots. We recommend parking one car south at your end destination and carpooling back to Blind Beach. This trail is limited to hiking (no equestrians or mountain bikes).
Pomo Canyon Trail and Red Hill: The Pomo Canyon Trail, part of an ancient Indian trade route, runs from Hwy. 1, just east of Shell
Beach, to Pomo Canyon Campground, off Willow Creek Rd. Redhill is accessed using a 2-mile leg of the trail, which takes you across open grassy
hills, past two hidden redwood groves, and then to a vantage point atop a rocky ridge. For a longer hike, you can continue to the Pomo Canyon
Campground, a beautiful redwood environmental campground. This trail is limited to hiking (no equestrians or mountain bikes).
To make camping reservations contact: RESERVE AMERICA
There are 27 developed campsites located adjacent to the beach. There are no showers, but campers may use the hot showers at nearby Bodega Dunes Campground. Maximum trailer length is 27', no hook-ups are available. Each site has picnic tables, fire rings and paved parking spurs. Running water and flush toilets are nearby. When the campground is filled, the overflow area in the Wright's Beach Picnic Area may be used for self-contained vehicles. This area is along the roadway adjacent to the kiosk. Reservations are recommended, especially on the weekends and during the peak season.
There are 98 campsites with hot showers, flush toilets, and a trailer sanitation dump station. Maximum trailer length is 31', no hook-ups are available. Campfire and Junior Ranger programs are held in the summer months. The day use area includes a disabled accessible boardwalk out to a classic sandy beach. No DOGS and NO FIRES are allowed on the beach as a measure to protect the snowy plovers.
Willow Creek Environmental Camp - CLOSED SEASONALLY
11 primitive campsites with fire rings, picnic tables, and pit toilets. Campsites are within 1/4 mile from the parking lot and there is no running water. The only State Park campground on the Russian River, sites are shaded by willows but close to a large beach for swimming and fishing. Blue heron, egrets, osprey, and occasionally river otters can be seen by the river. To protect the wildlife, no dogs are allowed. These sites are not on the reservation system.
Pomo Canyon Environmental Camp - CLOSED DUE TO SERVICE REDUCTIONS
20 campsites with fire rings, picnic tables, pit toilets and running water nearby. Campsites are within 1/4 mile from the parking lot, one is disabled accessible. Camps are set in a beautiful redwood grove among the ferns. A three mile trail to Shell Beach takes off from the campground, crossing seasonal streams and rising up into the grassland with marvelous views of the river and finally the ocean. To protect the wildlife, no dogs are allowed. This campground is not on the reservation system.