New Trails at Bodega Head

Last Sunday became a day of colors and raptors as we got closer to Bodega Bay. Along Hwy 1 near the town of Bodega, where a fire took out a few acres last summer, the lanky eucalyptus had glowing golden leaves and black scorched trunks.

We turned onto Bay Hill Rd, a bumpy winding road, but a thrilling road through trees, meadows, vistas and searching raptors. Some of the birds sat on posts and wires and some of them glided over the hills.

Our destination was Bodega Head and some newer trails we had tried ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­in September. Out Westside Rd, go right, up the hill at Campbell Cove. Take the road left and follow to a parking lot overlooking Doran Beach across the channel. (Campbell Cove and this entrance are closed due to budget cuts – proceed to Bodega Head and go up the hill behind the bathrooms. So much for wheelchair access to the new trails.)

It’s not just me that finds bathrooms important, and one marks the beginning of this trail. A 3’ wide path of hard packed sand and gravel takes off south. This new path is wheelchair accessible (and it looks like more are to come.)

Wide New Trail at Bodega Head

The sun was breaking through the three layers of clouds; there was hardly any breeze and it was t-shirt warm. At a picnic table, we had a fine view of the harbor and bay.

The coast is often a fine spot to see the land, for few trees or houses clutter the sweeping contours. Here, you can look down Tomales Bay and see the rising mounds of Tomales Point. It’s easy to realize that up the bay through Doran Beach is the San Andreas fault. Bodega Head is on the northern bound part of the land.

Off the main trail are narrow paths. The first one leads to a spot looking down on the channel and provides a clear view of Doran Beach. Sunday, RVs filled the lots but the beach was empty.

Back on the main route, the path starts up a gentle hill and curves around the coast line. There’s turnaround and the newer trail goes right. It continues in zigzags and curves up and down the hill.

We went left on a narrow grass path then recrossed the newer trail We went left again, as the trail descended and connected to the old rutted trail near cliff’s edge. Near the edge we looked down steep gray rock to the jade ocean.

Turkey vultures soared, an osprey cruised the hill, gulls waddled at land’s end and cormorants sunned on the rocks below.

Rock to Ocean view from Bodega Head

We worked our way along the coast for a while and then went to a couple of low-lying cypress. When we walked here in winter, another walker told us this was an intriguing shelter. After admiring the weaving tree trunks, we went back to the road and noted work for more trails.

These new even trails seemed to be built for better durability and accessibility. The old trails have eroded so much they’re not easy to traverse. They get me close to the cliff’s edge, but when I try to focus on landscape, whales, flowers, and birds, I like to have a good trail under my feet.

Other Points of Interst:

Campbell Cove is just a ‘Hole in the Head’ where PG&E was going to build a nuclear power plant. Rose Gaffney (who owned the farm used in The Birds) would not sell her land and started a successful movement against building the plant.

Channel from Harbor to Bodega Bay

Bodega Marine Lab is on the way to the Bodega Head on Westside Rd. It is open on Fridays 2-4 on a drop in basis. Groups can make reservations for a tour. For more information click here.

Nicholas Green Bell Tower: Located north of Bodega Bay on Hwy 1 is the Bodega Bay Community Center. There is one bell in the drive and down the hill is the Bell Memorial. The gift to Italy was from the parents of Nicholas Green who donated his organs (uncommon in Italy until that time) after his tragic death on a visit there. The gift from Italy to the Green family and Bodega Bay is a tower with many kinds of bells. For more information click here.

Wheelchair access: These new trails are the best access in the area. Otherwise it’s limited or you’re stuck in the car.

Camping and boat launch: For more information click on Westside Regional Park .

Bathroom: Trailhead entrance or ending, depending how you look at it. Pit toilets, no water. Other bathrooms in area and at Marina.

Food: Sunday we stopped for some delicious chowder at the Spud Pt. Crab Company. They also have crab. (Across from the Spud Pt. Marina)

No dogs or bikes on trail. Dogs can go to Doran Beach. Westside Rd is supposed to be improved for bicyclists.

Horses: Off Eastshore Rd (from Hwy 1) is a large parking lot for horse trailers. Access is to dune area.

Fishing and Boating: Spud Pt. Marina.

Whales: Jan – May, except we saw some in September

Other walks in the area: Click on each one. Another part of Bodega Head. Doran Beach. Bodega Dunes.

Map: Bodega Head Map

Published by Lynn Millar

Walker, reader, writer, traveller - see About Walking

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