Stay away from the coast for solitude
By Austin Explorer on 8/14/2016
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!