Sonoma County Rains Bring Spectacular Waterfalls

Sonoma Creek Falls in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Raining on your trip to Sonoma County? Well, you’re in for a special treat. Head to these four Sonoma County waterfall spots between December and late March to catch some truly spectacular spray.

Three Ways to Sonoma Creek Falls

Sonoma Creek Falls in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood, California
Sonoma Creek Falls in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Sluicing 25 feet amidst huge, mossy boulders and lacy ferns, the Sonoma Creek Falls in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park are reachable in three main ways:

  • Upper Canyon Trail: From the parking lot near the park’s visitor center, it’s a half-mile walk down, and a steep half-mile back up.
  • Lower Canyon Trail: Via this route, the falls are only one-third of a mile along a level path.
  • Pony Gate Trail & Canyon Trail: This 2-mile, one-hour loop begins on the Pony Gate Trail for a little over a mile before it connects with the Canyon Trail, heading up into the rocky canyon source of the falls.

Waterfalls Along the Sonoma Coast

The Sonoma Coast is stunning all year long, with lush forests, broad meadows, and steep bluffs overlooking windswept coves. After a good rain, though, rainwater creates lovely waterfalls at three key sites, all reachable along Highway 1.

Pomo Canyon in Sonoma Coast State Park: About one mile south of the town of Jenner along Highway 1, park at the Shell Beach parking lot and cross the road to the Pomo Canyon/Red Hill trailhead. This mostly shaded, 6.2-mile loop includes rock outcroppings, foot bridges, woodlands, and redwood groves — and during the rainy season, a beautiful creek waterfall deep inside the park, near the Pomo Canyon Campground.

Phillips Gulch Falls in Salt Point State Park
Phillips Gulch Falls at Salt Point State Park

Phillips Gulch Falls at Salt Point State Park: From Jenner, head north on Highway 1 for about 20 miles to the Stump Beach Cove parking lot (where parking is free), and take the trail from the lot for just a few hundred yards to see these falls tumbling 15 feet from a dramatically solid wall of rock.

Stengel Beach Falls at the Sea Ranch
Stengel Beach Falls at The Sea Ranch

Stengel Beach Falls at The Sea Ranch: Back on Highway 1, it’s 12 miles farther north to the free parking lot for Stengel Beach, where the eponymous, cypress-lined trail leads to a wooden staircase, a small beach, and great views of the falls on the cliffs.

leave no trace logo in 200

Together, we can protect and preserve the beauty and natural resources of Sonoma County for generations to come. Check out our page on Sustainable Travel, and look over the Leave No Trace Seven Principles.

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