Salt Point State Park is a wonderful place to visit while driving the scenic Sonoma Coast Highway. It has four access points to a rugged yet picturesque rocky shoreline. Tide pools are more abundant here than sand is, but if you are seeking a sandy beach then head to Stump Beach Cove. Three of the coastal access points have day-use parking areas with restrooms and picnic tables. Horseshoe Cove is the least hospitable and accessible of them all. Trails along the bluff connect all four coves and more hiking trails can be found on the portion of the park that is inland from the highway.
Stump Beach Cove
Salt Point State Park has a small adjacent park called Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve. It is filled with rhodies that typically bloom in the spring, but are beautiful year-round. A dirt road passes through the park for a quick visit. Those that want to see more can hike the two-mile loop trail which starts at the parking area. The picnic area and beach access at Fisk Mill Cove is across the highway from the reserve.
Rhodies at Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve
There are two campgrounds in Salt Point State Park with over 100 total camp sites. No matter where you pitch your tent, it’s a mile or less walk to the main beach in the park, Gerstle Cove.
Salt Point State Park is located along Highway 1 about equidistant (20 miles) from small town of Jenner to the south and Gualala to the north. If you don’t plan to camp, then the closest accommodations are Timber Cove Inn and Fort Ross Lodge. The resort community of Sea Ranch is nearby too and they have a lodge and vacation rentals to choose from. Jenner and Gualala also have hotels.
Fort Ross State Historic Park is just south of Salt Point. There you’ll find an historic Russian fort from the early 1800’s, a campground, hiking trails, and several beaches.
Fine print: Hikers are warned to stay on the established trails to avoid contact with poison oak and ticks often found in the vegetation. Mountain bikes are not allowed on the single-track trails in this park as they “can damage wet trail surfaces,” but ironically the trails are open to 2000 pound horses. Open fires are not allowed in the park, but barbecues are provided. Dogs are not allowed on trails, but they can be walked in the campgrounds and other developed areas if they are on a leash.
Above is a map of the park and below is a list of the beaches in the park from south to north.
Beaches on this map
Gerstle Cove Beach is right below the visitor center building in Salt Point State Park. The waters in Gerstle Cove are protected by Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve so fishing […]
Stump Beach is a stunning spot in a deep cove in Salt Point State Park. The sandy beach here is surrounded by a rocky overhanging bluff on all sides except […]
Fisk Mill Cove Beach is a rocky beach in Salt Point State Park in Sonoma County. There is a well-signed separate park entrance off Highway 1 for this area. Turn […]
Horseshoe Cove Beach is a remote rocky beach near the northern boundary of Salt Point State Park. It wraps around the back of Horseshoe Cove below high rocky cliff faces […]