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Stengel Beach Coastal Access Trail at The Sea Ranch
Stengel Beach Coastal Access Trail at The Sea Ranch

Stengel Beach Coastal Access Trail

37900 Highway 1, The Sea Ranch, CA 95497

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Beaches Birding Hiking and Walking Trails

Temporary Closure: Stengel Beach access is closed while we work to replace the wooden stairway to the beach. We expect this closure to be in place through 2025. There are several issues we’re working to address:

  • Constructed of wood, the entire staircase is rotting, having reached the end of its natural lifespan.
  • With very little structural integrity left, it needs to be fully replaced – it cannot safely be repaired.
  • The earth under the stairway landing is eroding and has become unstable.
  • We have contracted with EBA Engineering to engineer a replacement. Engineering plans are expected to be completed by June 2023, and then reviewed by required partner agencies.
  • Total cost of replacement will be determined once the plans are approved. After that, we’ll establish a timeline for funding the construction, which may require a reliance on grant opportunities and/or partners.
  • Demolition and construction will be depending on funding availability. We hope to have a timeline for this established by early 2025.

Park Information

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 Gualala Point Regional Park to Walk on Beach. See cypress groves, windswept meadows, and unique sandstone formations.
  • Walk on Beach Trail
    0.25 miles one way - Passes through a large Monterey cypress grove to a quarter-mile beach reached by a bluff-top staircase.
  • Shell Beach Trail
    0.65 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
    0.12 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.
  • Pebble Beach Trail
    0.27 miles one way – Weaves through pines and meadow to a sandy cove reached by stairs.
  • Black Point Trail
    0.25 miles one way – Crosses the bluffs to a curving, quarter-mile beach reached by a steep staircase. This beach is just north of Black Point cape and popular with surfers.


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. Bicycling is not allowed on the Sea Ranch Coastal Access Trails.