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Stillwater Cove Regional Park

This gorgeous hike tops my list as one of the best hikes in the Bay Area. Located on the Sonoma Coast, just north of Jenner on Highway 1, Stillwater Cove Regional Park has it all. The hike consists of an interpretive trail that winds through a canyon of lush ferns and towering old-growth redwoods, and ends with a short out-and-back hike to a small seaside cove and picnic area.

The entire hike is only 3-miles, but you can pack a lunch at make an afternoon of it. I recommend starting the hike with the redwoods interpretive trail, including making a side trek to the old schoolhouse. After completing the interpretive trail follow the path out to the beach and spend the rest of the afternoon combing the shore for seashells and enjoying the water.

This is a great hike to do with families or out of town guests. If you want to spend the weekend on the coast you can try reserving a site at Stillwater Cove Regional Park or arrive early to snag one of the three walk-up campsites. You can reserve a site through the Sonoma County Regional Park’s website.

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The Trailhead

As you enter the park, follow the signs for the day use parking. The trailhead is located at the western end of the day use parking lot.

The Route

From the parking lot, enter the single trailhead and follow the trail down into the canyon. The trail will split in two. I recommend taking the loop trail to the Canyon and Fort Ross Schoolhouse first. (Try to pick-up one of the laminated nature brochures and follow along with the numbered markers.) After completing the Canyon loop, follow the trail to the Cove.

Map:

Go to Sonoma County’s website to download a map of the trails.

Other Details

Trail Safety

Like all outdoor pursuits, hiking can be dangerous. It is up to you to assess your fitness level and education yourself about any potential dangers. While I try to regularly update these hiking guides, you should always research trail conditions before heading out.

Being prepared means arriving at the trailhead with water and some basic provisions. Each and every time I hit the trail I bring a backpack with more water than I think I need, a small first aid kit, and a snack. I also share my itinerary and plans with friends or family and I carry an InReach so I can summon help if needed. If you want to know what I carry in my pack during day hikes check out my blog post about essential gear for day hikers.

Stay safe, enjoy the trail, and soak up the magic of nature!

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