6 Sonoma Coast Access Points with Free Parking
Thanks to a unanimous vote by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on March 1, 2016 the $7 day-use parking fees at six coastal access trails—the Pinnacle Gulch trail in Bodega Bay and five public access points in The Sea Ranch—have been dropped.
- Pinnacle Gulch Coastal Access Trail: A half-mile hike from the parking lot, this trail brings you to a beautiful beach with an expansive vista. Surf fishing here is excellent. If you’d like a longer hike, walk along the beach and loop onto Shorttail Gulch trail for a combined 1.9 miles. Download the trail map.
- Sea Ranch Access Trails: Most of the trails and roads in privately-owned Sea Ranch are closed to the public. However, Sonoma County Regional Parks manages public access areas along the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) that are within Sea Ranch. All the trails lead to beautiful bluff-top views, from where you can descend to the beaches below.
- Black Point Sea Ranch Access Trail
- Pebble Beach Sea Ranch Access Trail
- Stengel Beach Sea Ranch Access Trail
- Shell Beach Sea Ranch Access Trail
- Walk on Beach Access Trail
These six trailheads offer limited amenities, which led the county to determine that fee collection on those sites was inconsistent with the spirit of the California Coastal Act of 1976 and the Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan, which emphasize the importance of public access to the coast.
“The California Constitution guarantees maximum public access to the state’s coastline,” said Supervisor Efren Carrillo, whose Fifth District includes the Sonoma Coast. “Our responsibility is to protect and defend that right. Removing parking fees at our beach trails is the correct thing to do.”
County coastal access points and beaches—Doran Beach, Stillwater Cove, Gualala Point and Westside Regional Parks, for example—provide greater services and amenities that include on-site staffing, campgrounds, and more. These sites will continue to charge the $7 day-use parking fees.
The bottom line? It will cost you less than ever to enjoy a day at a spectacular Sonoma County Beach!