Stengel Beach Sea Ranch Access Trail

37900 Highway 1, Sea Ranch

  • Beaches
  • Birding
  • Hiking/Walking Trails

Hours: Summer - 6 a.m.to sunset; Winter - 8 a.m. to sunset

Parking: Free. The parking area is clearly marked on the west side of Highway 1. Please use caution entering and exiting the parking lot.

Dogs: Licensed dogs permitted on leash no longer than 6 feet.

Restrictions: Please stay on the marked public access trails as the other paths and roads within The Sea Ranch are privately owned. Campfires are not allowed on beach. RVs and trailers are not allowed in the parking lot.

Ranger Phone: (707) 785-2377

Sonoma County Regional Parks manages six public access trails in The Sea Ranch, a private community south of Gualala. Trails start at Highway 1 parking areas and cross bluff-top meadows and forests to rugged coastline. Cliffside staircases lead to secluded beaches with sandy coves, tide pools, and rock formations. In addition to hiking, these public access points offer opportunities for diving, fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing. 

The Sea Ranch public access trails (north to south):

  • Bluff Top Trail - 3 miles one way - Runs along the headlands from Walk On Beach to Gualala Point Regional Park
  • Walk on Beach Trail - .25 miles one way - Passes through a large Monterey cypress grove to a quarter-mile beach reached by a bluff-top staircase.
  • Shell Beach Trail - .65 miles one way - Runs through pines and meadow to a wide, sandy beach with sea rocks and tide pools. Small boats can be carried to the ocean via a beach ramp.
  • Stengel Beach Trail - .12 miles one way - Short path lined with cypress trees leads to a wooden staircase and a small beach. Look for seasonal waterfalls on the cliffs. Stengel has largest parking area of the public trails, with room for a dozen cars.
  • Pebble Beach Trail - .27 miles one way – Weaves through pines and meadow to a sandy cove reached by stairs.
  • Black Point Trail - .25 miles one way – Crosses the bluffs to a long, curving beach reached by a steep staircase.

Trails Challenge

PDF fileView larger image of Coastal Access Trails - Trails Challenge Map Bluff Top Trail and Sea Ranch Coastal Access Trails
Highway 1, The Sea Ranch

This park is featured in the Sonoma County Trails Challenge, which invites you to get out and get active by hiking five of 15 routes highlighted in the updated Trails Challenge guidebook. Submit a trails log when you finish all five hikes and get a free Trails Challenge gift!

Suggested trail: Bluff Top Trail or any combination of the Coastal Access Trails
Trail length: .24 to 6 miles round trip
Degree of Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Elevation Gain: 0 to 150 feet, depending on trail

Trail symbols for walk, hike, run, and dogs on leash

Park Notes

  • The Sea Ranch is a private oceanfront community south of Gualala. Six public trails lead to dramatic coastal views and isolated beaches.
  • Five trails – Walk On, Black Point, Pebble Beach, Stengel Beach, and Shell Beach – cross meadows and forests to beaches reached by stairs or paths.
  • One trail – Bluff Top Trail - follows the headlands from Walk On Beach Trail to Gualala Point Regional Park and is a great way to see the coastline’s unique geology.
  • Parking lots located along 7 miles of Highway 1. Each has restrooms, no drinking water.

Trail Notes (one-way distances)

  • Bluff Top Trail - 3 miles - – 3 miles – Start from Walk On Beach trailhead. Weave along the cliffs, around coves, through cypress groves and past beds of honeycombed sandstone.
  • Walk on Beach Trail - .25 miles - Follow a cypress grove to a sandy beach. Connects to Bluff Top Trail.
  • Shell Beach Trail - .65 miles - Walk through pines and meadow to a sandy beach with tide pools and sea stacks.
  • Stengel Beach Trail - .12 miles - Pocket beach reached by a long, wooden staircase. Seasonal waterfall.
  • Pebble Beach Trail - .27 miles - Small, black-sand cove with tide pools and driftwood. Reached by stairs.
  • Black Point Trail - .25 miles - Cross a meadow to a curving, quarter-mile beach reached by cliff-side stairs.

Trail Directions

  • To reach the Bluff Top Trail from Walk On Beach Trail, park in the Walk On Beach lot at 40101 Highway 1 and follow the trail west for about .25 miles to the junction of Bluff Top Trail.
  • Follow the Bluff Top Trail north to Gualala Point Regional Park. When you arrive at the park, take a break at Whale Watch Point or at the beautiful, wide beach and then return to Walk On Beach the way you came.
  • This walk is 6 miles round trip and will take 2 to 4 hours depending on your pace. The length can be shortened by turning back any time before Gualala Point.

Driving Directions

  • From Jenner, drive north on Highway 1. The southernmost Sea Ranch Trail – Black Point Trail – is 29 miles from Jenner.
  • Additional trails are located along next 7 miles of Highway 1, ending at Gualala Point Regional Park.
  • Parking is free.

Local Weather
Large weather icon
Today, Wed, 07/27/16
60ºF / 48ºF
High Low
Small weather icon
Tomorrow, Thu.
ºF / 48ºF
High Low
View NOAA 7-Day Forecast
View Map and Get Directions

Google PegmanUse Google Pegman in the above map for street view of trails

Safety Alert!

Watch out for sleeper waves which are common along the north coast.

Trails Challenge logo

Take the Challenge

Get Your Guidebook

Download the free 2016 Trails Challenge guidebook, hike 5 or more trails & win prizes! 

PDF fileDesktop edition (37MB)
PDF fileMobile edition (5MB) 

PDF fileDesktop Español (36MB)
PDF fileMobile Español (5MB)

Trails at a Glance 

PDF fileNorth Coast Trails Map 2.09 MB (PDF)

Some content on this page is saved in alternate format. To view these files, download the following software.

Windows Media Player   Windows Media® Player for Windows, Flip4MAC for MAC OSX, or Pipelight for Linux
Compressed ZIP Archive   WinZip® for downloading compressed files