Long sandy beaches below rugged headlands, a craggy coastline with natural arches and secluded coves are features that make Sonoma Coast State Park one of California's most scenic attractions. The Beach, actually a series of beaches separated by rock bluffs and headlands, extends 17 miles from Bodega Head to Vista Trail located 4 miles north of Jenner. Beachcombers, fishermen, sunbathers and picnickers can access the beach from more than a dozen points along coast Highway 1. While the north coast weather can be foggy in the summer, it usually burns off by midday and the cool ocean breezes make the Sonoma Coast a haven for visitors seeking to escape the inland heat.
First mile from the Shell Beach end, is strenuous but the views of the ocean are well worth it. At near the 1/3 mark there is a great view of the Russian River just at Jenner. Here you have a viewpoint and a picnic table. The rest of the trail (going east to PomoTrail campground) is moderate kicking sprinkled with stream crossings.
The description on this trail says it is "Dog Friendly" it isn't. There are signs posted everywhere that say dogs are restricted, but we saw many jerks who brought their dogs, let them run off leash and crap all over the trail. There was a disgusting amount of obvious dog feces - NOT COOL.
Please, do not bring your dog on trails that say they are not permitted, but if you must (because you're an a$$hole who thinks the rules don't apple), the least you can do for other hikers and, you know, the natural environment, is pick up and take out their waste.
other than that, this was a one of my favorite hikes. We started at 9am from Shell Beach, walked all the way to the other trailhead, by the campground then looped back, taking the Red Hill trail to Shell Beach. Gorgeous views of the Russian River Valley shrouded in fog, several old growth forests dotting the loop that offered shade once the sun came out, and got a few good hills in. All in all, a lovely day despite rude dog owners.