Surprise Factor

Russian Gulch Hike-in Beach

Some people don't like surprises, but we're guessing even those people will like the surprise hidden beach at Russian Gulch. While you can drive by and see multiple beach options in these parts, most cars zip right past the locked gate on Highway 1. That might be because the humble sign reading Russian Gulch doesn't also say, "For a fantastic beach, walk this way!" But you're going to want to walk because there is a fantastic beach a third of a mile in, accessed by a trail through the forest. The canopy cover is thick and the path is straightforward. Another surprise comes at the end of the trail, and requires a sense of adventure … plus a willingness to get a bit wet. There's a relatively wide creek that you'll have to wade across to reach the main beach. Lots of people do it, and it's totally manageable if you choose your route carefully (or you might get thigh-deep wet). However you get there, the hike-in is well worth it. You'll arrive at an expanse of sand bookended by 30-foot tall cliffs and decorated in driftwood. Bring a blanket and something good to read—you won't want to leave anytime soon (unless the wind is howling; go in the morning for the best chance of less gust).

The turnoff/roadside parking for Russian Gulch is 3.25 miles north of Jenner on Hwy. 1. Park on the west side of the road without blocking the gate. Walk to the back of the parking lot and follow the trail to the beach. Dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park waterfall hike in Sonoma Valley

    Sweet as Sugarloaf

    Right in the heart of wine country there’s plenty more than wine flowing right now, with an oft unheralded waterfall that has surged to an exuberant spectacle from all the recent rain.

    View
  2. Muiraculous Beauty

    Ready to make your non-California friends jealous? Have a bonfire at Muir Beach while watching the sunset. This is Northern California living at its most braggadocious.

    View
  3. From Town to Falls

    Mount Tam’s Cascade Falls is a bit under the radar, tucked back off a residential area in Mill Valley. Some people drive up to the tiny parking lot nearest to the falls. Do an easy 3-mile (round-trip) hike right from downtown Mill Valley, weaving through quiet streets and secret trails.

    View
  4. oak manor labyrinth

    Loma Alta's Hidden Labyrinth

    Oak Manor Labyrinth in Marin’s Loma Alta Open Space is a hidden gem with huge views. The 2-mile out-and-back hike to reach it is a bit steep in parts, but the payoff is a 360-degree joy to the wild (with a bit of cityscape).

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Best in Snow

    There’s snow better destination for outdoor fun and events. Plumas County is a northern Sierra Nevada dreamland, with vast outdoor spaces, places, and races! Snowshoe Lassen Volcanic National Park, downhill ski at charming Coppervale Resort, and have a blast at the quirky Longboard Races.

    View
  2. Hike from Point Fermin Park to Angels Gate Park

    Park it Here

    Do a 2.5-mile scenic hike from Point Fermin Park to Angels Gate Park in Los Angeles. It’s got big trees, big ocean views, and a food and beer bonus!

    View
  3. Skull On!

    Temescal Canyon not only has epic views, it's got a waterfall right now, one that only shows after big rains. Head out on this 4.6-mile loop.

    View
  4. Two people walking towards Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point Orange County

    Getting Salty

    Long walks on the beach are great, but what about long walks to the beach? This 7.7-mile (round-trip) to the beautiful Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point is one of the best in Orange County.

    View