Where will you walk the first day of the year? I have a few suggestions.
Kortum Trail – in winter the land is raw, the ocean powerful and the air clear
We went to Kortum Trail yesterday starting at Shell Beach. It was a bit soggy, so waterproof boots are in order. Those foreground puddles are nothing, to what lays ahead. Boardwalks cover some of the wettest areas, but not enough. To get to that ‘outcrop’ ahead is about 1.5 miles and there’s a creek crossing with bridge, with a short steep descent and ascent. I used my poles to help. As the sign says, it’s 2.3 miles to Goat Rock, with another creek to cross and a hill to climb.
The trail south of Shell Beach sports a new bridge set higher in the trail. But the runoff from the parking lot has carved a new grove in the trial. A general cave-in serves as a warning about how fragile the area is. Heads up along the creeks and at the ocean bluffs.
Doran Beach – Cheney Gulch leads to a wetland area on the harbor side of Bodega Bay and the beach
Just down Highway 1 from Shell Beach, past the main part of Bodega Bay is a small parking lot for Cheney Gulch Birdwalk. (Regional Park with fees like at Doran Beach entrance. $7. day or your annual pass.) It leads to a trail across the gulch and through a tidal marsh. The waters are often full of birds and in January the migrating birds should be stopping for a visit. So bring your binoculars.
Benches along the way provide resting spots or viewing posts. We’ve sat here to watch the tide rise and go out. Of course, it also leads to Doran Beach, where you can walk for a couple of miles.
China Camp – for an easy walk and a sense of peace along the Bay.
We visited last week for a short walk around Turtle Back Hill. Some puddles on one side of the hill, but otherwise dry. Trails across the road were in dark shadows, so good boots are in order if you want to hike there. Click here for a map of China Camp trails. ($5 day use or annual pass.) Picture is from boardwalk over tidal marsh looking north.
For a contemplative spot, if it’s not too crowded, stop at the China Camp Village. On a calm day, you can hear the water rustle the rocks on the beach and look across the San Francisco Bay. This State Historic Park was slated for closure last year (so glad it’s still open.) To access it from Hwy 101 in Marin County, take N San Pedro Rd.
Hope you find the perfect place to walk on the first day of the new year – and every day thereafter. Hope we can be some help.
See you on the trail!
Lynn and Mike Millar