Best Trails near Duncans Mills, California

26 reviews

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on Pomo Canyon Trail
16 days ago

hiking

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.

on Pomo Canyon Trail
22 days ago

hiking

Wonderful hike! Will do it again soon! And we took Red Hill on the way down, highly recommend.

on Pomo Canyon Trail
1 month ago

hiking

Beautiful hike! You get to see the Redwoods, Russian River, and the ocean from this trail. Pretty moderate with some minor steep uphills. Please note that online this trail says dog friendly; however, there are signs posted at both entrances that says dogs are not allowed.

on Pomo Canyon Trail
2 months ago

walking

Beautiful. Somewhat challenging to do round trip. A great achievement for the occasional hiker. Will do it again for sure. From our parking spot trough the trail to the beach and back was probably 7+ miles. Loved it

on Pomo Canyon Trail
3 months ago

hiking

Gorgeous hike- I started at shell beach and took the Pomo canyon trail and then skipped the campground and took the red hill trail and did a loop- worked out to about 5.5 miles

on Pomo Canyon Trail
3 months ago

hiking

I had planned to try and combine the Pomo Canyon / Red Hill trails with the Wright Hill Road track shown on the AllTrails site. However, from the top of Red Hill, the route seemed blocked by a property fence and cattle on the far side of it. I ended up settling for a shorter hike (about 6.5 miles).

Many parking spots at Shell Beach (down toward the beach or just off CA 1 if you want to be closer to the trail-head. That trail-head is just across CA1 from the parking lot entrance. The sign says "Dr David C. Joseph Memorial Trail" but wooden posts along the trail will help identifying "Pomo Canyon Trail" and "Red Hill Trail".

The first part of the trail (about 1.3 miles) is fully exposed (bring water and hat/cap) and offer sweeping views of the coast and later the estuary of the Russian River. On the Pomo Canyon trail (north side of the loop) you will reach an overlook with wooden table off to the left after a bit more than 1 mile. Continuing on, the trail was noticeably narrower and progressively overgrown as well as muddy in spots (late April, small run-offs on the trail). That section also offers series of shaded spots, including short strolls though stands of Redwoods.

At about 2.5 mile, and just before descending toward the Pomo Canyon Campground, the Pomo Canyon trail intersects with the Red Hill Trail. A right turn on the Red Hill trail and the ascent toward the top starts in a sustaine fashion, offering open views to the East and then to the North, overlooking the Russian River from a higher vantage.

After crossing a last stand of Redwoods, the trails goes around to the South Slope and then up to the top. In late April, the grassy slopes around the top were nicely adorned with a spattering of wildflowers.

The top is a grassy and flat-ish mound and the views are fully opened over the Pacific and the coast from Bodega Bay (even Point Reyes in the distance) in the South to to upper reaches of Sonoma County to the North.

A trail descends almost due West to eventually rejoin the Red HIll trail and, further down, the Pomo Canyon (David C Joseph) trail for a return to the parking lot. That descent offers constant views of the Coast and Russian River along with a few nice rock formations for better photography....

Back at the parking lot, and if this loop was too short, there is the option to walk a few more miles on the Kortum coastal trail North or South.

All in all, a very nice place to hike. You will however not be alone as the trail is fairly popular.

on Goat Rock Beach to Harbor...
4 months ago

scenic driving

on Pomo Canyon Trail
5 months ago

Gorgeous! Took the Red Hill trail offshoot overlooking the coast.

on Pomo Canyon Trail
6 months ago

hiking

on Pomo Canyon Trail
10 months ago

Only did

on Pomo Canyon Trail
10 months ago

camping

I loved the trail, I loved the campsite. What I loved of the campsite that its a perfect weekend getaway, not that far from the bay area. I do have a question, I heard the campground has been closed for a while now, does anyone know if it has opened? or when it will be? its been about 4 years since the last time i was there. Thank you

on Pomo Canyon Trail
1 year ago

hiking

This was a really great trail! Well maintained and a perfect distance. But, it is not easy! It should be rated as moderate. Steep uphill both ways. :-) But, it is gorgeous! Starts in the redwoods, ends at the beach. Not much more that a person could ask for. A little tricky to find because no cell service, so make sure you have your directions written down. Also, campground is closed, so you have to walk about a mile out to the trailhead. Lovely day all around!

on Pomo Canyon Trail
1 year ago

hiking

I take this hike every year around New Years (will hopefully be returning for the 10th time in late December!) the weather is always lovely and the scenery throughout the duration of the trail is spectacular. If you start at the trailhead in the canyon you'll end up at Shell Beach which is a great place to rest your legs afterwards. Perfect for people of all ages!

on Pomo Canyon Trail
1 year ago

mountain biking

Beautiful! I love it here.

on Pomo Canyon Trail
1 year ago

hiking

Gorgeous redwoods, rolling hills & ocean views!

on Pomo Canyon Trail
1 year ago

hiking

Really great hike, with just the right amount of elevation gain for my ability and great views - especially from the picnic table about a mile in from the trailhead at Shell Beach. Will be even better when we finally get some rain and the hills aren't all brown and the trail isn't so dusty. The campground was closed, so there was an additional mile, or so, walking from the closed gate where we parked to the trailhead.

on Pomo Canyon Trail
2 years ago

hiking

First, AllTrails should properly name this trail; it is the Dr. David C. Joseph Memorial Trail as named at the end at Shell Beach. Starting at that end it is a steady climb up to the ridge where the trail levels out into ups and downs as it follows the ridgeline up above River Road to Duncans Mills. Late on a Sunday it was sunny and serene. At the picnic table up on the ridge overlooking the ocean and Shell Beach I saw a silver fox scurrying through the brush, but other than birds no wildlife (sign at the trailhead does warn about mountain lions being a possibility). The trail winds in and out of the trees and low scrub, so sun and shade alternates. Several wells up on the ridge were still running even in late August during our extended drought. Truly a wonderful hike, on the easier side of the moderate rating.

Edit: It is moderate from the Shell Beach end, but there is a fairly steep grade when starting from the Pomo Canyon Campground that requires more exertion than moderate would suggest, so really moderate+. Still, that end is deep in woods so not too hot if you make the climb.

Bonus is that you can veer off from either end to go all the way to the top of Red Top Hill, and have an *amazing* view of the coast - well worth the sweat to do it.

on Pomo Canyon Trail
2 years ago

hiking

Loved this trail! We started at the Pomo Campgrounds. The campgrounds were closed, but the short walk to the campgrounds and trailhead from where we had to park the car was a nice warm up. The road leading up to where we parked was a little bumpy, and there were some puddles in a few places, but there was a BMW, and a few other sports cars parked where we parked, so any car should do fine. The start of the trail was pretty steep, but very beautiful; redwoods, creeks, and the air felt great (nice and cool)! It was pretty easy to see where the top of the hill was as the trees thinned out, and the scenery turned into more of grassy hill scenery. Still very pleasant however, and much more flat, so a good stretch after climbing up the previous hill. It takes about 1.7-2 miles to get to this point, so when you first start the hike, just persevere and don't lose hope! There are also some fantastic views of the Russian River, the surrounding valley, and the ocean from this point. While the ocean may still look super far away and out of reach, never fear, the point you can see from this view is not the point you'll be hiking out to! The hike down to Shell Beach is a pretty steep decline, so steel yourself for the return trip! The beach is well worth it though. Very beautiful, albeit very rocky water. There were seals sunning on a rock not far out from us. And while Shell Beach itself is a very short beach, if you climb the rocks to your left (when facing the water) there isn't much to get past to get to a much larger and more open beach. There are a few trails along the top of the cliffs to get to different vantage points, but dogs are not allowed on those trails. The hike back to the campgrounds seemed to go very quickly. I've seen a few suggestions to start the hike from Shell Beach, but the incline going this way goes on much longer, even if it isn't as steep as starting from the campgrounds. I think I prefer getting the super steep part (from the campgrounds) done first in the hike, rather than worrying about that when I'm already tired … The steep decline to get back down the hill to the campgrounds felt amazing on our tired legs, and even the dogs picked up a little pep in their steps again. All in all, a beautiful hike, on a beautiful day. Well worth the soreness, and definitely one we'd love to do again!