Today’s adventure takes us to three absolutely gorgeous north coast destinations. All are must stops, but only one is really a hike.
North of Jenner, the coast gets a little wilder, and a little more beautiful. The cliffs overlooking the coast are higher and offer dramatic views of the craggy coastline.
Your first stop should be at Stillwater Cove. It is a small pocket beach with its own parking lot, but I recommend parking at the campground across the street in their day use area. From there it’s about a quarter mile walk through a beautiful redwood forest to the beach. What a beautiful way to start the day for sure!
If you know me at all, or have been reading along with me, you’ll know by now, my very favorite thing is to find nature’s hearts. Rocks, leaves, trees, caves – all of them can be accidentally heart shaped and it makes me absolutely giddy to find one! I always think that God left them there just for me to find someday. My first one of the day came in the form of a clover leaf that had fallen onto the lush path just in the perfect spot for me to come across it on the forest part of the walk. The day was starting out perfectly!
Stillwater Cove is a great little beach for hanging out and exploring, but we had more adventuring to do, so back we went to our next stop, Stump Beach! Again, Stump Beach is small-ish with a short hike from the parking lot to the beach, which is made up of both rocks and find white sand. There are driftwood structures to check out and also a creek bed that feed into the ocean. Stump Beach would make a great place to hang out and explore, though there aren’t any bathroom facilities at all here.
But we had one more stop for the day and it was an actual hike!
Gerstle Cove at Salt Point State Park has been high on our list for quite some time and it did not disappoint at all!
There are miles of hiking trails that lead to the most beautiful rocks to climb on and gorgeous views of the coast. We took trails to the south of the day use parking lot and a trail to the north. The north trail goes for about 11 miles, and the south trail that we took was about 3 to 3 ½ miles in total. The south trail takes you through a heavily overgrown area, you might even think the trail has ended, but look around – you just might find that it goes on! This part of the trail has heavy poison oak growth, so please be aware – just wear tall socks and long pants and you’ll be fine.
The views at the coast line are incredible. You’ll see harbor seals and sea lions pulled out to warm in the sun on the rocks, some close enough that you could almost reach out and touch them! The water is so clear that you can see the sea stars clinging to the rocks beneath the surface. It is absolutely incredible to see for sure.
After we completed the south trail, we came back for a picnic lunch in the car. After one of my favorite picnic lunches (have you tried making a version of hummus with avocado? Delicious!), we headed back out!
The north part of the trail is where we saw most of the moonscape rocks. There was an area where the rocks looked like oversized bento boxes with spaces built right in!
We explored and hiked and did a little climbing over rocks for a couple of hours and then headed back to the car and headed home after a perfectly satisfying day! Won’t you join us along the path? Here’s my pros and cons!
Pros: Some of the most beautiful scenery you will see anywhere, I’d imagine. Fairly easily accessible and the views you came to see aren’t too far from where you parked your car, but longer distances are easily possible.
Cons: Lots of poison oak on the south trail, but long pants and tall socks and you’ll be fine. There are bathrooms there, but they’re not great…and I’ll leave that there.