Sunday’s Revisit: Walking to the Beach in Sea Ranch


We covered most access points last fall – but on our January return from Mendocino, I thought we could go to the southernmost access point to the beach in Sea Ranch.

Black Point trail is .3 mile to the beach – er, cliff top. Here’s the trailhead. This is a Sonoma County Regional Park – so don’t forget to hang your annual pass.

Black Point Trailhead

It’s a grassy path that is soggy in spots during rainy season.

Black Point Trail

We crossed a Sea Ranch road – off limits to park visitors – but I was tempted giving the standing water on the trail.

Cross Sea Ranch road

The trail curved to the sea.

Black Point to sea

And then there’s the ocean.

Black Point staircase

Mike pondered the stairs and down two flights it appeared like he was standing on a ship’s prow.

Black Pt stairs

Mike's leap

He went down more stairs and reported that there was no beach – the water and waves being so high. I enjoyed the views north.

Black Point north view

Here are Mike’s pictures from beyond the brink.

platform Black Point

Helter Skelter
Helter Skelter

Looking down.

Looking down

The Beach.

Beach view


From September 2015:

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

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