Walking to the Beach in Sea Ranch

We often go to Gualala Point Regional Park just north of Sea Ranch, a private housing development.G visitor center

Last week we visited the park, had a great lunch in Gualala, went to the art center and then tried to visit some of the six beach access points in Sea Ranch. We’ve walked from the park along the coast in Sea Ranch about a mile. Now Bluff Top Trail is open to the public from the park to Walk-On-Beach for about a 3 mile walk on uneven dirt trail. Gorgeous coastline.

6-14 Gualala view to Sea Ranch l

One can access the trail from a parking lot off Hwy 1 at Walk-On Beach. I can’t find our pictures of that area, but here’s a link to information about it – Walk On Beach. It’s only .25 mile away. Set up like the other access points: pit toilet, no water, wooded trail, road crossing, meadow and beach. As I remember this (not necessarily a good source) it’s not really a walk-on, more like stairs down to beach.

The next access point is at Shell Beach. (Use your Sonoma County Regional Park’s annual pass or pay $7/vehicle to access all beaches for the day. )Over a half mile walk to the beach, it is the longest and the loveliest walk. Here’s the trailhead.

SB trailhead

Watch the traffic on the road crossing.

SB road crossing

Enjoy the open meadow.
SB open trail

Dare to take the poison oak trail to the beach

SB poison oak trail

We turned to our right for one lovely beach.


A sign reminded me that this area is part of The California Coastal National Monument – that includes the entire coastline’s huge offshore rock formations and Pt Arena-Stornetta Lands.

SB CA monuments

Another mile down Hwy 1 is Stengel Beach with a very short trek to the ocean. Here’s the trailhead at the small parking lot.

Stengel trailhead

Follow the signs – and please stay off the private Sea Ranch trails.

Stengel cross trail


Stengel trail

While this is a short walk to the beach the staircase down to the beach is challenging for us short-flat-walkers. Beautiful beach with whiter sands like at Gualala and Shell Beaches.

Stengel beach stair

Lastly we visited Pebble Beach, a mile and half south from Stengel off Hwy 1. It’s a little over a quarter of a mile to the beach. Through the pines –

PB trail

to an open meadow

PB open trail

follow the signs with the wave and the bare feet

PB trail guide

to Pebble Beach – only a stairway down.


There is one more access point at Black Point less than a mile and a half south of Pebble Beach. I think I liked Shell Beach the best. It meant the longest walk, but it was beautiful and the beach was the loveliest. Next time, maybe we’ll have a picnic here.

See you on the beach!

Words and pictures by Lynn Millar

Map for all the access points.

Whale watch

After I wrote this I was reminded by the owner of Abolone Bay – that if you own or rent a house in Sea Ranch, you can walk even more trails. Here’s a link to more (well a lot of) information about Sea Ranch and one of those rentals.

Published by Lynn Millar

Walker, reader, writer, traveller - see About Walking

2 thoughts on “Walking to the Beach in Sea Ranch

  1. Hi Lynn, Great summary of the public paths at Sea Ranch. And yes your memory served you well – there is a staircase to the beach. In fact without those staircases it is difficult to do so in many areas. While there are lovely areas accessible to the public, when you rent a vacation home there you are offered full access to not only the 70+ trails that wind around ocean bluffs, meadows and redwoods up in the hills, you also have access to the 3 recreation centers. As a guest you’ll be able to discover even more beaches that are accessed via stairs. In fact, just a short walk from our vacation rental home, Abalone Bay, is Smuggler’s Beach. It is located just outside of the marine and harbor seal sanctuary.

    I actually think one of the best adventures an avid walker would enjoy is the audio tour that winds you past historic markers and homes of architectural interest. You can learn more here: http://searanchabalonebay.com/explore-experience/

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