Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Sonoma Coast State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Began foggy at the parking lot but cleared up about 1/4 of the way up. Did the loop clockwise which I thought was better because the way down you have a great view of the mouth of the Russian river and ocean.

hiking
13 days ago

More of a pleasant stroll with fantastic views than a work out hike. (Unless you jog it). It is short and little incline. I did an up and back versus the loop because all the breathtaking views are on one side. You’ll initially get views of the pacific, then you’ll see where the ocean feeds into ‘bodega Bay’. And even left even more you’ll see where the bay connects to the sheltered harbor. Lots of sea birds and beach access by the parking lot. Place gets busy, even on a weekday. I won’t want to be around during a weekend.

Started at the coast, foggy day and good wind made this positively delightful. Beautiful views.

hiking
1 month ago

This a great little “daily minimum” walk. I live close by and come out often just to get a bit of exercise (2 + miles if you do some of the extra loops). Try to avoid the high-erosion type side-loops. Wonderful views, mostly flat with a few low-key inclines, seal rock activity as you head south around the trail, wildlife can be abundant when its not too crowded. There are connector trails heading North too, if you want to make it a hike. VERY crowded on summer weekends.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is breathtaking and extremely easy for all skill levels. Make an afternoon of it and if you're not worried about heights, take every single side trail that goes towards the cliffs. You'll be able to see seabirds from above them, it's amazing! There are a lot of deer along the trail as well.

hiking
2 months ago

Started at Goat Rock parking lot and the route from this recording of the trail was not correct. Ended up walking along the beach to Blind Beach before actually getting on the Kortum Trail and ‘on course’ for AllTrails.. Still a very nice hike. Started foggy and could not see anything until we turned back at Wright Beach then the views were spectacular. Some parts of the intersecting ‘trails’ are not well marked but it is such a wide open space you can not get lost.

hiking
2 months ago

Great views and very easy trail. Last section is harder to follow with many options of ‘trails’ but any will lead to the end.

hiking
over grown
2 months ago

For me, the trail was not as described. I went over Labor Day weekend starting at Shell Beach. The walk to the beach was nice and all downhill. From there it was all uphill. I’d prefer a combination of trails vs all up or all down. I walked for about an hour and a half and never saw the water. I’m glad I went but next time will start from the other end. The beach was nice and secluded. Roped off and a platform out on the water you could swim to and dive from.

First mile and a half or so goes directly into the sun, so wear a hat and don't expect any shade even if you go early in the morning. On our hike, there was no wind as well, so despite it being 57 degrees out at 7:30 AM, it was really hot. The parts of the hike under tree cover are pretty nice. Many parts of the trail are sort of narrow. Another hiker mentioned that she scared away a mountain lion with her whistle. We didn't see a mountain lion, but worth being careful as always. Not a bad trail, but nothing special either, and definitely not deserving of a 4.5-star ranking.

hiking
2 months ago

Park at Wright Beach to do the full 9 mi. Otherwise a great hike. Bring all the water you'll need as there is nowhere to fill up on the trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Great views, easy hike

hiking
no shade
2 months ago

Only hike a portion of this trail out and back starting at Shell Beach and turning around at peaked hill. Did it on a whim in very foggy conditions I so didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. Gorgeous landscape and views of the coast. Saw lots of birds. The path was fairly even until just before peaked hill, which starts a brief but steep ascent. Would love to come back and do it again sometime when it’s slightly less foggy.

Some great coastal views, but the trail also veers away from the coast through less interesting grasslands. Highlight is the saddle peak that overlooks Goat Rock beach.

hiking
3 months ago

There’s some areas where the bushes are a little bit overgrown, dress wisely. You get a close view with wildlife, such as deer and birds. Hope you enjoy this trail.

hiking
3 months ago

I’m probably bias on this place because I’ve been coming here for years and it hasn’t gotten old. It’s not a long strenuous hike but I just love the view. It’s a great place to whale watch season permitted. The sunset is always spectacular. I did a full moon hike once there. Weather was jus right and the moon light up the sky.

The trail was great. There fog at the bottom by shell beach but you immediately climbed out of it.

This trail is in my top five. The trail head is tough to get. It’s the road gate and then you hike down the road to the campsite where the actual trail begins. Breathtaking redwood grove to start the hike. Nice trails and scenery to shell beach. Well worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

don't be fooled. this is for horses

Windy and exposed coming from the coast, but exhilarating and beautiful. Lots of sun exposure except in the occasional redwood stands (an unexpected treat!). Counter-clockwise, did not take the tiny, narrow trail to the right up Red Hill because it didn't look legitimate, though I know now that it is. Instead went up at the marked junction up the back of the hill and back down. Did not take the Pomo Cyn trail all the way down to Willow Creek, but wish I had for extra elevation loss/gain. Instead took Shell Beach trail back to Hwy 1. Not at all busy, saw maybe 5 people on a Monday.

3 months ago

Great trail. Amazing views (so much so I chose to prepose to my girlfriend there!!) relatively easy elevation wise. Stay on the trail though! Take it from me, I learned the hard way! (Poison oak)

hiking
3 months ago

From the trail head, the trail starts off with beautiful views. Saw elk right on the trail (had to stop and proceed with caution) on the Horseshoe Cove Overlook, which is a short up and back I’d recommend. After that, it goes downhill. Trail is for horses and full of sand (dunes, so expected), which means basically walking in a horsey litter box. Decent workout, though. If you do end up on this trail and aren’t staying at the campgrounds, I recommend hiking to the bend in Whaleship Rd, where there is a well marked trail from dunes to the street between the houses. Then, walk down Whaleship to Bay Flat Rd, turn right and walk 1/2 a mile to the best clam chowder and crab sandwiches you’ve ever had at the SECOND restaurant, Spud Point Crab Company. You deserve it. Try to grab a table. After you eat, it’s a 3 mile walk on Westshore Rd back to the trailhead. Two cars would be perfect.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike even with the morning fog! Recommend wearing pants to avoid scratchy brush along the trail.

Uncrowded, beautiful views, well maintained trail.

The trail offered endless amazing views. It is a bit overgrown and you have to watch out for poison oak along the trail.

hiking
3 months ago

a super weird trail. there's an upper trail and a lower trail. the upper trail is behind people's houses but both are 100% in deep sand and the upper trail is a horse trail so there's tons of horse shit. not really meant for normal hiking.

High points: side trip from the parking lot to the beach and view from the peak.

hiking
4 months ago

we did the overlook trail and the path is extremely narrow. worth it for the great views.

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