Walking at Goat Rock

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.

Goat Rock near Jenner

Goat Rock

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.

Beach across Russian River at Goat Rock

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.

Up a dune Down a dune

Sometimes when we walk along this beach, we see harbor seals playing in the surf. Today brown pelicans were controlling the fishing.

Brown Pelicans at Goat Rock

Past the parking lot at the actual Goat Rock is another beach and another great view.

View South from Goat Rock

This next picture is taken of that arched rock from the road above.

Arched Rock at Goat Rock

The beach walk continues – best at low tide – for another half mile.

Blind Beach south of Goat Rock

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.

Russian River at Jenner

Kortum Trail

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.

Kortum Trail above Blind Beach

And then go down the hill. Overall it’s about 300′ in elevation change. Yes, still too much for me.

Above Kortum Trail

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.

Kortum Trail looking South

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.

Click for More Kortum Trail: Above Shell Beach and Wright’s Beach.

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6 thoughts on “Walking at Goat Rock

  1. We were just out at Jenner for the weekend. Stayed in a little rental house. The weather was beautiful on Saturday. We went to Salt Point Park, had a scenic walk, and saw seals. Pictures here are lovely.

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