Bluff Hugging Hike

Hiking Kortum Trail on the Sonoma Coast

For a superb 8-mile (round-trip) beach-to-beach ramble along a bluffside trail, Kortum Trail on the Sonoma Coast is tops. Crags, coves, cliffs, and amazing views of the Pacific are highlights. Sure, this stretch of coast attracts as much fog as it does hikers, but the good news is it typically burns off by afternoon, and longer days offers plenty of time to finish by dark.

Start at the Kortum Trailhead above Wright’s Beach and follow the trail north to Shell Beach, where a set of wooden stairs descends to a tiny cove often smothered by rough waves during high tide (go at low tide and enjoy some great tide-pooling). Continue on the Kortum Trail, across boardwalks and along singletrack that dips and rises from pocket beaches to big coastal views. Ancient sea stacks get thrashed and smothered by waves, most notably Arched Rock, a favorite for photographers.

The trail veers inland and over a hill, concluding at the spacious, picnic-worthy Blind Beach, reached via a short, slightly steep but well-trodden trail. Return the way you came.

TIP: This hike offers good opportunities to spy gray whales during migration season.

Start the hike at the parking lot right above Wright’s Beach campground, 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 Blind Beach. No dogs on trails, but Wright’s Beach, Shell Beach, and Blind Beach are all dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Drive-In Whale Watching

    Just north of Point Reyes, Bodega Head sits high on the tip of a curving, thumb-like peninsula and offers excellent whale watching in winter.

  2. Sponsored

    Top Dog Destination

    Redding is a pawsitively ideal destination for you and your four-legged pal. Surrounded by Shasta and Lassen and mountainous Whiskeytown, with year-round sunny days and the gleaming Sacramento River running right through it, Redding is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

  4. Stay at Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park

    Stay in a modern yet rustic lodge with vaulted wood-beam ceilings, grand stone fireplaces, panoramic windows overlooking a snow-filled forest, and jagged mountain peaks all around. Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park has adventure trails leaving right from its lobby.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Point Dume Bloom!

    On this 2-mile loop hike in Mailibu's Point Dume Natural Preserve, you can find yourself walking through fields of brilliant yellow specimens—some of them chest high and taller—but also dip down to pristine beaches and tide pools, possibly crowning your visit with a gray-whale sighting.

  2. woman hiking Stornetta Public Lands

    Strolling Stornetta

    Big Sur has some competition. Located along the rugged Mendocino County coastline, the 1,665-acre Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands is a spectacular place to meander for miles along bluffs overlooking small coves, sea caves, dunes, and clusters of offshore islands.

  3. man snowshoeing Calaveras Big Trees

    Big Foot in the Big Trees

    When dinosaurs roamed the earth they shared space with giant sequoias, the biggest trees in the world. Get up close to these bold beauties on a docent-led snowshoe trek in Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

  4. Urban Hike in LA County

    LA Discovery Walk

    Wide-open spaces, hidden art, local cuisine, unique wildlife: Take a cultural walk through the San Gabriel Valley on a 3-mile park-to-park discovery route, then go get some delicious craft beers.