One of the best hikes in Sonoma County, the Pomo Canyon to Shell Beach hike offers a little bit of everything, from towering redwoods to pounding surf, from ferny dells to ridge-top vistas.
TRAILS TO TAKE:
Moderate to strenuous. This gorgeous 6-mile hike offers wildflowers and stunning views of just about every habitat Sonoma County has to offer. At the trailhead, turn right on Pomo Canyon Trail, climbing north through a verdant redwood forest. The trail curves left, climbing up to a wooded ridge before breaking into boulder-strewn grasslands, where the trail turns south and west, crossing small creeks. Cross a fence by a hiker's ladder then climb to a ridge with fantastic views of the Sonoma County coast. The trail soon joins an old road and descends to Highway 1. From there it's a short a quarter mile stroll over the headlands to Shell Beach.
DIRECTIONS: Turn east off Highway 1 at Bridgehaven just south of Russian River bridge onto Willow Creek Road. Drive 2.6 miles, then turn right on Pomo Campground Road and go 0.5 miles to trailhead near campground. The western trailhead is on Highway 1 opposite Shell Beach access road. If you wish to hike only one way, you'll need to take 2 cars and park one at the Shell Beach parking area.
Photo credit: Paul Bausch