A peaceful escape along the coast away from the inland heat to ocean breezes dancing through the wild grasses and flowers…waves crashing on the bluffs below and cool fog rolling in. Sounds amazing right? That is exactly what this lovely gem of a hike is to us.
Shell Beach is part of the 17 miles of the Sonoma Coast State Park that goes from Bodega to just north of Jenner where the Russian River meets the ocean. There’s tidepools to explore on the beach and 3 trail heads from this spot. Head south to Wright’s Beach, inland to Pomo Canyon or north on Kortum Trail.
It was a hot day and we needed to escape the 90+ temps at home so we headed out to the coast following the Russian River, crossing it and down to Shell Beach. We had to put the top back up at the intersection of Highway 1 because it had suddenly dropped to 65 degrees as we hit the coast. Brrr! Hopping out of the car we put on our windproof jackets and headed north on the Kortum Trail.
You are immediately greeted with amazing views of the Northern California coastline…follow the out and back trail, it will lead you through meadows of grasses swaying, wildflowers of some type all year, wild blackberry bushes, streams flowing down to the ocean and rock formations sticking up as if they were dropped by giants.
The trail has very little elevation gain/loss. It is just a beautiful place to spend some time relaxing and getting in a little 4 mile easy hike. I dream of living in a place like this…someplace where we can walk through beauty while smelling the salty air and hear nothing but the waves crashing and gulls flying overhead. So happy this is close enough to escape the hot days of summer.
Free parking, pit toilets, go during lower tide for the tidepools, it gets busy but there’s a lot of parking, 4 miles of gorgeousness.