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  • Writer's pictureErinCook

Stornetta Public Lands- North Trail

Updated: Jan 20

It was a weekend morning, and my husband and I wanted to walk somewhere that checked the following boxes: a short drive away, easy to access, good views, and few people on the trails. We both agreed to drive to Point Arena and walk the Stornetta Public Lands.

We left Gualala at 8 am and were parked and out on the trail by 8:47! The parking area is just a couple of dirt pullouts off the paved road leading out to the lighthouse and right next to the gate that opens up to the trail - you can't get easier access than that!

The first thing we noticed as we began walking was the sea foam flying up and over the bluff edge, landing almost in our hair! The wind and waves were working together to form a small tornado of bubbles in the cove below.

The path is clearly marked, mostly level, and easy to walk- but watch out for the cow patties!!

It also tends to be windy when out on the bluffs, so I recommend a heavy coat with a hood or a scarf to keep your ears and face warm- dress in layers!

There are a few very large sinkholes along the trail that go all the way down to the ocean below.

My favorite part of the walk is about a mile in on the trail and where we chose to turn around; the grassy landscape opens up to a large stream that flows in a multilevel waterfall down to the ocean cove below. It's hard to be anything less than awe-struck at this point in the walk, really!

Because of the large amounts of rainfall we've gotten here recently, it's too deep to pass here, but during the dryer months it is easy to continue on the trail.

As we began the walk back, we noticed a Great Blue Heron land a short distance away. We waited patiently and got to watch him grab himself a snack!

I think the most enjoyable part of the walk for me is that once we are back to the truck, all we have to do is bang off the mud or dirt from the bottom of our shoes; no long, thorough tick checks required after this walk!



Easy access- park at the gate and right onto the trail.

Easy to walk- can just wear tennis shoes, don't need hiking boots and mainly level.

Variety of sights to see- sinkholes, waterfalls, wildlife, caves and arches in the rocks.


Windy - don't forget jackets and hats!

Muddy farther on the trail- it's easy enough to avoid this, though.

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