Goat Rock and the rest of Kortum Trail.
Just south of the Russian River and the town of Jenner, CA is access to Goat Rock part of the Sonoma Coast State Park. The beach, with soft sand and a steep slope, does not make for ideal walking. But it is worth a visit.
Last week with offshore breezes the coast was warm and sunny. The fall is often the best time to visit the coast because the summer fog is gone. We drove north on Hwy 1 from Bodega Bay and turned off at Goat Rock. This picture shows Goat Rock and the north end of the Kortum Trail.
Just past the parking lot for Blind Beach (that means it’s below a cliff and not visible from the road), we could get a view of the Goat Rock beach. At this time of year – before the rains – the Russian River is closed by a sandbar to the ocean. It was also low tide, so the waves weren’t washing over the beach.
We chose to park at the lot to the right and to the north. The dunes are not as big as the ones looming at Bodega Dunes. On a beautiful sunny day, it did not seem so tough.
To the north by the river is a favorite hangout for harbor seals. Please keep your distance from them. They have enough trouble from the occasional visit of an elephant seal. No dogs are allowed on the beach to protect the seals.
Sometimes when we walk along this beach, we see harbor seals playing in the surf. Today brown pelicans were controlling the fishing.
Past the parking lot at the actual Goat Rock is another beach and another great view.
This next picture is taken of that arched rock from the road above.
The beach walk continues – best at low tide – for another half mile.
Back near the north parking lot and towards the river we enjoyed a view of the Russian River and Jenner. Several kayakers were enjoying the calm day.
We have reported on the Kortum Trail many times and walked it many more times. Just not this section of the trail because it is steeper. It starts near those cars close to the Blind Beach parking lot. First part climb the hill to where this picture was taken.
And then go down the hill. Overall it’s about 300′ in elevation change. Yes, still too much for me.
Once you get down this hill, there are plenty of plateaus and a few creek crossings. It’s about 4 miles to Wright’s Beach.
The northern part of the Kortum Trail area was grazed until the 1990s and the southern part until the 1980s. Guess that’s why the spring wildflowers are better in the south. And in winter? it’s just raw beauty.
See you on the trail!
Words by Lynn Millar, Photos by Mike MIllar, copyright 2013, available upon request.
Distance: Goat Rock - About 2 miles round trip from sandbar at the Russian River to Blind Beach. Kortum Trail: About 8 miles round trip from Blind Beach to Wright’s Beach.
Cost: Use your state pass. Otherwise, $8/vehicle or $7/senior
Picnic tables: a few with wind protection from the dunes by the north parking lot.
Dogs: For most of the Sonoma Coast under CA State Parks, dogs are not allowed on the trail. Here’s a link to where dogs are allowed.
Bathrooms: Real building, flush toilets, cold water at each parking lot at Goat Rock. Pit toilet at Shell Beach on the Kortum Trail.