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.)

Hike among the redwoods at Pomo Canyon on the Sonoma Coast

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!

Check out these Sonoma County Trip Ideas

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!

Shell Beach on the Sonoma Coast

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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