Important: What to know before you hit the trail
All Sea Ranch roads and most trails are private, unless designated as public trails.
Visitors not staying on The Sea Ranch must park in the public access parking areas on Highway 1 and stay only on the public trails and beaches.
If staying at The Sea Ranch, be sure to display the tag supplied to you by your host on your vehicle’s rear-view mirror or dashboard. Failure to do so will subject your vehicle to citation and immobilization.
Please follow best practices and rules
Out of respect for Association Members, this beautiful environment and your personal safety, please observe the following practices during your visit:
- Stay on marked public access trails, as all other paths and roads within The Sea Ranch are privately owned and not for public use.
- While relatively flat, the trails do include some uneven terrain – wear trail-worthy shoes.
- Exercise caution: bluff edges are dangerous and frequently crumble.
- No bicycle riding on the Bluff Trail; no motorized vehicles on ANY trail
- Keep dogs on leash at all times, including at the beach to conform with Sonoma County law.
- Smoking and campfires are prohibited – dry forest and grasslands are an extreme wildfire risk.
Trail markers point the way
There are over 50 miles of trails are enjoyed by bikers, hikers, and equestrians alike.
Certain segments are recommended for horses and bicycles. Trail markers point hikers and riders in the right direction.
And for the weary, rest logs and benches provide a chance to enjoy the scenery and vistas. Help our two and four-legged explorers by remembering to keep dogs leashed, and be aware when taking a turn or corner.
The Sea Ranch Trails Code
When using the trails always remember to bring along your guest pass.
- Trail use is a privilege
- Respect the people, the land, and the sea.
- Protect wildlife and plants.
- Safeguard streams, tide pools, beaches, and ponds.
- Honor the property of others.
- Go gently and stay on trails.
- Keep horses under control.
- No bicycle riding on Bluff Trail.
- No smoking on commons.
- Be responsible for your own safety
Discover a Distinctive Sense of Place
Our Sea Ranch resource for self-guided tours helps guide you along the walking trails of The Sea Ranch as you gain a distinctive sense of place. These guides do not provide you a house tour per se and does not include visits to the interiors of homes or condominiums. The audio tour is a celebration of the larger landscape and the ways in which architecture and its placement can combine with the landscape to create a very distinctive sense of place.
The Architectural Tour and Wine Tasting, a fundraiser for the Soroptimist International of Mendocino-Sonoma Coast occurs annually on Saturday during Mother’s Day weekend. This self-guided tour allows you to view inside and out the new, newly remodeled and historically significant homes on the northern Sonoma Coast at The Sea Ranch. Wine Tasting & Silent Auction at Gualala Arts follows from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m.
We recommend you bring the audio tour along with you when you participate in the annual Sea Ranch Architectural Tour and Wine Tasting that These tours provide you access to visit the inside of selected homes. Docents greet you at each house to point out its highlights for you. Homes also frequently have the architect, designer, and/or builder there as well! Sea Ranch Abalone Bay was selected 2023 as one such home opened to the public.
“PLACENOTES” ~ The Sea Ranch Digital Edition
Modern-day explorers will find Placenotes, a digital guide to The Sea Ranch, an easy means to access new layers of images and information about landscape and architecture, flora and fauna, culture, and history. Currently available for sale on Amazon, Placenotes is created and sold by the Charles Moore Foundation, as a travel guide that seeks to lead people to places that truly matter. It aspires to guide you, not to the everyday mundane, but rather to the places that move, inspire, and amuse us, to places that linger in our memories and imagination. Wholly and wonderfully digital, the Placenotes is available for all of your mobile devices, both smartphones, and tablets.
The Sea Ranch Audio Walking Tour
Experience Donlyn Lyndon Narrate The Sea Ranch
The Sea Ranch Audio Walking Tour is an introduction to the architecture and landscape of The Sea Ranch, noting the ideas and features that have made it world-renowned. This audio walking tour was created in 2015 for The Sea Ranch 50th Anniversary. The audio walking tour allows you to explore and experience The Sea Ranch buildings on your own, whether walking in the field with a mobile device or at home. It visits the area where the first Sea Ranch buildings were built and describes the landscape that surrounded them and how that has changed. Written and narrated by Donlyn Lyndon, one of the original architects, this self-guided audio guide explains what was intended in planning The Sea Ranch and in creating these first buildings. Lyndon comments, as well, on the evolution of the landscape during the subsequent fifty years.
Not a House Tour
It should be noted here that this audio tour guides you along walking trails of the area; it is not a house tour and does not include visits to the interiors of homes or condominiums. The tour is a celebration of the larger landscape and the ways in which architecture and its placement can combine with landscape to create a very distinctive sense of place.
Introduction Narrated by Joanna Barnes
Your self guided tour is aided by audio files, photos, and maps. The tour is divided into four Segments A,B,C,D. Each number on the Map (A1, A2…through D8) represents a photograph, numbered in the sequence that they appear. The first photograph in each segment will help you to be sure you’re in the right place for starting that segment of the tour. Subsequent photographs will show things along the way or will add information to what you can see from the trail. Information photographs are labeled with an H to indicate that they are either historical photographs, showing the place as it once was (as in A4H, a photograph taken shortly after the first buildings were built), or they may be views that show aspects of the building that are private and cannot be seen from the trails (as in A10H, the courtyard of Condominium One).
Generally, it will make sense to follow the sequence indicated. However you may take the Tour Segments in any order that you please, but please always stay on the trails.
Start at The Sea Ranch Lodge
Your self-guided tour begins at the Sea Ranch Lodge. Much of the tour can be traversed on Public Access or Sea Ranch Lodge trails (Segments A, B, D), allowing members of the public to learn about this beautiful coastal site, the nature and intent of the architecture and planning of The Sea Ranch, as well as the stewardship that The Sea Ranch Association provides for this remarkable section of the California Coast.
Segment C Requires HOA Pass
However, in Segment C the tour continues onto the private roads and trails of The Sea Ranch Association, where only Association members, their guests, and Sea Ranch Lodge guests are permitted entry. Refer to the map to determine your route. For public visitors who would like to complete the entire tour route (including some private trails), there is a docent program* available by appointment.
Listen as you walk at your own pace along the spectacular coastal bluffs and meadows. The Sea Ranch Audio Walking Tour is designed for use on your mobile device; tablets/iPads are ideal for simultaneously listening to the audio while viewing the photos and map. You may find it useful to download the MP3 files prior to beginning your walk, as cell phone signals may be intermittent in the field. If viewing photos and maps on your mobile device while in a bright outdoor setting is difficult, you may wish to download and print these files to insure an enhanced experience. Broadband service at The Sea Ranch is currently limited to Verizon Wireless. Wi-Fi is available at the Sea Ranch Lodge.
Segment A: Sea Walk Drive, Sea Ranch Lodge, Bihler Point and views of Condominium One
Segment B: Sea Ranch Lodge, Black Point Beach Access Stairs and the Hedgerow Houses
Segment C: Sea Ranch Meadow, the Esherick House, Brigantine Hedgerow, Moonraker Recreation Center and back to the edge of Black Point Prairie
Segment D: Black Point Prairie, views to the forest, Black Point Public Access Trail, and return to the Sea Ranch Lodge
Trails to Explore on Your Own
Sea Ranch Trails Map
There are six public access trails that begin at Highway 1. Parking is available as well as public toilets. The map is sectioned into two regions, north and south.
Miles of unspoiled oceanfront trails and secluded beaches for hiking, jogging or biking are available at The Sea Ranch for its guests. Maps can be found in the basket next to the fireplace at Abalone Bay.
You may purchase your own copy of the Sea Ranch trails map at their office located at: 975 Annapolis Rd, Sea Ranch, CA 95497, United States Phone:+1 707-785-2444
There are 3 wheelchair accessible, barrier free Sonoma coastal public trails and 7 easy access trails in The Sea Ranch.
Sonoma State Beach Vista Trail
Located four miles north of Jenner, Vista Point is the northernmost point of the 17-mile long Sonoma Coast State Park. There is no beach access, simply a gorgeous view along the one-mile long hiking trail, called the Vista Trail Loop. The trail and the overlook are wheelchair accessible. During whale migration season it is possible to spot whales from here.
Look for the Sonoma State Beach Vista Trail sign. There’s accessible parking in the main lot, and level access over to the accessible vault toilet. Follow the .7-mile paved trail through the coastal scrub area, then take the loop in a counterclockwise direction. There’s also an accessible picnic table near the trailhead, but unless you are absolutely starving, hold off; as there’s a much more scenic option down the trail.
The undulating trail passes another picnic table before it winds out to the ocean. The third picnic table — with a commanding coastal view — is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat, or just sit and enjoy the view. After that the trail continues along the coast, before it loops backs to the parking lot through the coastal scrub area. Bundle up before you hit the trail though, as it tends to get a little windy out in the exposed coastal area.
Salt Point State Park
Salt Point State Park, is about 20 miles north on from Jenner on Highway 1. There are two entrances to this park. The inland entrance — where the ranger station is located — is on the east side of the highway, but the coastal entrance is on the west side. Look for the entrance marked Gerstle Cove Day Use Area, then follow the park road past the visitor center until it dead ends in the coastal parking lot.
Accessible parking is located in the lot, next to the accessible restroom. If however this restroom is closed, the one near the ranger station at the inland entrance is usually open. There are several accessible picnic tables that offer picture postcard views of the waves crashing ashore on the rocks below, just around the corner from the Gerstle Cove restrooms. It’s really the perfect spot to reflect and just enjoy Mother Nature.
The accessible Salt Point Trail begins at the other end of the parking lot. The first part of the trail is paved, and it winds gradually down to the cliffs that overlook the ocean. There are equally amazing views from just about anywhere along this part of the trail. At the .3-mile point the asphalt section of the trail ends; however a hard-packed dirt accessible trail continues on the right. This part of the trail hugs the coast for a bit before it turns inland, passes through the coastal scrub and returns to the parking lot. All in all the half-mile loop offers good access, and some to-die-for ocean views.
Gualala Point Regional Park
Gualala Point Regional Park, located just north of The Sea Ranch inside Sonoma County. Parking is located inside the park with overflow located on the east side of Highway. After you pay the parking fee, continue on the park road towards the visitor center.
There’s accessible parking near the visitor center, and from there, a short paved path leads over to the back of the building. Although there’s a picnic table on the back lawn, there are many more secluded options along the trail.
From the visitor center a wide paved trail leads past a cypress grove and out to the beach access area. It loops around past the accessible restrooms, and passes another more secluded accessible picnic table. It’s a nice 1.5 mile round-trip stroll on a level asphalt walkway, but if you want a coastal view you’ll need to take the short out-and-back hard-packed dirt trail near the visitor center. Just bear left when you reach the cypress grove until the paved trail dead ends at the viewpoint. Although the trail that leads out to a second viewpoint is not accessible, you’ll get a nice ocean view from the first vantage point. And if you’re not up for the longer walk, then it’s the perfect choice to top off this trio of wheelchair-accessible coastal trails.
Easy Access Sea Ranch Bluff Trails
Sea Ranch has 7 selected trails that are on relatively flat terrain, close to parking, and lead to the coastal Bluff Trail. These access trails that to the Bluff Trail at posts 3, 6, 10, 24, 36, 43, and 60. Short horizontal bars on the Trails Map indicate the “easy access trails.” Easy access trails are designed for people with limited mobility and for strollers.
Five of the six trails are mentioned on the 2020 Trails Map. The sixth recently completed is near the north end of Sea Ranch from Rock Cod to the Bluff Trail and south along the Bluff trail a few hundred yards. See the map legend to identify their locations. They are Rock Cod Trail, Walk on Beach, Tide Pool/Shell Beach, Stengel Beach, Pebble Beach, Galleon’s Point and Black Point Beach. Note that Stengel Beach access is temporarily closed. There has been no notification as to when (or if) the County will fix the stairs leading to the beach.
Below is a list of Trail Maps available online for your enjoyment:
Sonoma County’s Regional Parks website includes information specific to Sea Ranch Trails open for public access
Bluff Trail – these include:
TSRA’s Trails and Maps are provided for Abalone Bay guest use.
The following maps are also available for purchase at The Sea Ranch Association Office.
South to North
- Bobcat Loop
- Pilots Reach
- Hot Spot Loop
- Spring Meadow Trail
- Horse Ramble
- Central Loops
- Central Loops
- Monarch Glen And The Dunes
- Chapel Trail
- Azalea Loop
- Saloon Trail
- Pomo Trails
- The Del Mar Landing Marine Preserve
- Salal Trail
- Gualala Point and River Loops
Other Maps available
- Whalewatch Point to Gualala Point Regional Park
- Gualala Point County Park to Golf Course
- Golf Course to Del Mar Center
- Del Mar Center to Tide Pool Beach
- Tide Pool Beach to Deerfield Road
- Deerfield Road to Madrone Meadow
- Madrone Meadow to Longmeadow Road
- Longmeadow Road to Annapolis Road
- Annapolis Road to the Sea Ranch Lodge
- The Sea Ranch Lodge to Yardarm Drive
Trails Closed to Bikes
In most cases the bike trails coincide with foot trails and horse trails, however for safety reasons, bicycling is not allowed on certain trails (both east and west of Highway One). Bicycling is prohibited anywhere on the Bluff Trail (see Off-Road Trail Routes below).
It is possible to ride from one end of The Sea Ranch to the other utilizing the streets and unpaved bike links and thereby avoid Highway 1. The majority of the meadow trails west of Highway 1 are open to bicyclists, however, the following trails are closed for cycling:
- All portions of the Bluff Trail
- Bluff Access trails from paved roads
- Public Access Trails
- Hedgerow Trails
- Monarch Glen Interpretive Trail
Open Trails for Bikes
On-Road Routes- West of Highway 1
North to South: From Leeward Road (Unit 35E), follow The Sea Ranch roads to the south end of Breaker Reach (Unit 21). At that location, follow the “bicycle link” symbol on the Trails Map to determine a route of both roads and unpaved bicycle links leading all the way to Moonraker Road (Unit 1).
South to North: From Moonraker Road (Unit 1), pick up the bicycle link near the Moonraker Recreation Center. Follow the “bicycle link” symbol on the Trails Map to determine a route of both roads and unpaved bicycle links leading all the way to Breaker Reach (Unit 21). Then follow The Sea Ranch roads to the north end.
East of Highway 1
There are a number of trails available for those interested in mountain biking. These trails include:
- Big Tree (Posts 115 to 123).
- Long Meadow
- the connector between Posts 113 and 263
- Skid Road,
- Spring Meadow
- Tank Road Trails.
All other trails are closed to bicycling, primarily for safety reasons.
Explore Trails Using Sea Ranch’s Self Guided Maps
Abalone Bay provides TSRA’s Trails and Maps for guests to explore all our many pathways and trails.
Currently, there are four interpretive trails with brochures describing historic and natural features. They include:
- San Andreas Fault Interpretive Trail,
- Monarch Glen Interpretive Trail,
- Reading Our Seascape, and
- Sag Pond Story Interpretive Guide.
Currently brochures for all except the Sag Pond Story Interpretive Guide are available in wooden boxes at each trail. Please pick one up to read on the trail, and return it at the end of your walk or download them here.
San Andreas Fault Interpretive Trail
San Andreas Fault Trail Guide (pdf) just above the Hot Spot on River Beach Road. It features 4 ridges with associated swales and hummocks (created by parallel faults), a sag pond, broken trees, and displaced/recaptured drainage channels from 1906 and earlier earthquakes. The trail also features historical remnants from 1890’s logging of original ancient redwoods. Explore evidence of springboard notches and skid trails. It also includes the forest ecology of unique overstory, understory, and ground cover. Plus discover stump islands colonized by redwood sorrel (oxalis). Park at the Hot Spot and walk up River Beach Road to explore the trailhead.
The Monarch Glen Interpretive Trail
Monarch Glen Interpretive Trail (pdf) is on the west side of Highway 1 just north of milepost 56.06. The trail is currently under restoration from severe sheep/goat damage and other problems. Reach the trailhead by walking along the cypress hedgerow northeast from One-Eyed Jacks. The trail brochure describes many plants, especially shrubs and trees, along with both branches of Monarch Creek. It also points out birds and other wildlife. The trail features several unusual examples of redwood growth. Plus discover old Ohlson ranch sheep sorting pens. A long, 18″ deep trace of original ranch road leads to one of the old red gates.
The Seascape Guide
The Seascape Guide (pdf) describes sights along a section of the Bluff Trail. It ranges from approximately Trail Marker 6 to Trail Marker 10, from just north of Galleons Reach to Navigators Reach. The guide describes many of the marine mammals and birds seen along the shore, as well as geographical features. It describes the ecology of the coastal upwelling zone along our shore, and the California Coastal National Monument. It also includes all the islands offshore of California.
The Sag Pond Story Interpretive Guide
The Sag Pond Trail (pdf) describes habitat, plants, and animals that might be found in the unique aquatic habitat of our eight sag ponds, and talks about the geologic processes that create the sag ponds. Discover the unique symbiotic relationships among plants found only in one place on The Sea Ranch. Five of the ponds. Access it also by spur trails from other trail and from the roads. They feature the distinctive sag pond marker posts.
The Sea Ranch Historic Markers
Sea Ranch enjoys a complex, unique, and varied history. Owing to the informative marker posts, you unveil Sea Ranch’s history along its beautiful trails. These marker posts document our history and identify some of the significant sites on The Sea Ranch.
Informative redwood markers identify sites of historical significance on The Sea Ranch. QR codes provide an expanded description that you can read with a Smartphone QR code reader.
The sites represent life during the second half of the 19th century through the first half of the 20th at at that specific location. They also provide information explaining the significance of each site.
Enjoy Harry Lindstrom’s brochure (Preserving Sea Ranch History: A Historical Journey on our Trails, May 2014). The brochure provides a fascinating and complete description of each of the nine historic sites with public access.
Other Trails to Explore:
- Map: Coastal Public Access Trails showing locations of nine historic markers
- The Sea Ranch Historical Sites
- Gelolgic Trail and and Bowling Ball Beach
Download the pdfs above. Printed copies of the brochure are available for sale from the Archives Committee. The Sea Ranch Association office located at 975 Annapolis Road, The Sea Ranch, CA also provides copies.
The Sonoma County Regional Parks provides limited public parking at the trailheads of the following public access trails:
- Gualala Point Regional Park (Bluff Trail) – Historic Markers #1-6 and #12
- Stengel Beach – Historic Marker #16
- Black Point – Historic Marker #24
Hike on one continuous trail the seven most northern historic markers each with public access. Meanwhile, access separately the two southern trails. Parking lots are open during daylight hours only and close at sunset.
Parking fees apply to visitors. The parking lots do not permit RVs or trailers to park. See Sonoma County Regional Parks website for information and use restrictions.
The Thursday Ramblers take on a local hiking challenge every Thursday. Discover where they’ll be hiking next by visiting their website If it’s Thursday, I’m probably hiking for their scheduled hikes. We hope you the photos and notes of their previous hikes inspire you.