Stillwater Cove Regional Park

3.19 Miles
3stars (3.00)1
3stars (3.00)
4stars (4.00)
22455 Highway 1
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The Dead End Trail is the longest in the park. This appears to be the same trail as the one called the Swamp Harebell Trail on the official park map. Besides the name difference the actual trail also dead ends in a property line, contrary to the map, which shows a balloon loop at its end.

It's also surprising how close the end of the Dead End Trail is to the nearby Salt Point State Park. If there is any private property between the two parks it must be a thin sliver of land. Being able to join up the two parks' trail systems would be fantastic.

Stillwater Cove
Stillwater Cove as seen from the southern edge of the Stillwater Bluff Trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Into the wind
Coppertone faces the Pacific and into a stiff breeze. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Pacific Ocean
Looking north along the coast, towards Salt Point. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Pacific Ocean
A view along the coast, looking south, back towards Stillwater Cove. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Another cove seen from the bluff trail. Unlike Stillwater Cove, the coves along the trail here are much harder to get to. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
This colorful mosaic at Stillwater Cove features several aquatic creatures that can be found in the waters here. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Stillwater Cove
The fins belonged to a group who were diving along the shore. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Looking back down the trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Banana Slug
This banana slug was slowly moving his was across the trail. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
A couple of bridges dot the Canyon Trail. One wooden bridge has partially collapsed. This steel bridge appeared to be in fine shape. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The Canyon Trail crosses Stockhoff Creek a couple of times. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Old Fort Ross Schoolhouse
This old schoolhouse had served Fort Ross area kids for decades in a couple of different locations before finally being moved to Stillwater Cove. (Photo by Austin Explorer)

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Log Entries
Stay away from the coast for solitude
By Austin Explorer on 8/14/2016
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 6.78 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Coppertone and I didn't know much about this park, other than it was on the list for this year's Sonoma County Regional Parks Trail Challenge and being near the coast probably meant cooler temperatures.  The inland hikes turned out to be pretty impressive in terms of rough terrain and natural features.  It's not terribly steep, but the packed dirt trails undulate under the constant shade provided by Redwoods and Douglas Fir trees.

There's an interpretive trail guide on the Canyon Trail.  In a nice twist, the trail guides are laminated in plastic, giving them a bit more life, provided everyone returns them to the box after they are through.  All of the markers are in place and easily visible.

We saw our first banana slug since moving to California.  The big guy was smack dab in the middle of the Dead End Trail.  Since we'd seen no one else out at all that day we didn't bother moving him.  When we doubled back we saw him again making slow, but steady progress to wherever he was going.

In about 3 hours of hiking the inland trails we saw no one else on the trails.

The trails along the coast are complete different.  Shade from the Sun is scarce as you would expect.  But you'll also have to contend with lots of people.  It's a popular spot for people to gawk at the ocean or even to go fishing.  At only a couple of points is there a steep route down to the shore and all of them require some scrambling and nerves.  Look to Stillwater Cove for easier access.

Our track file for Canyon Trail is a bit rough.  I had to edit it quite a bit because I got an erratic GPS track that showed a loop de loop that I know we didn't do!