There’s no shortage of incredible campsites along the northern California coast, but Pomo Canyon, a walk-in campground nestled in a small redwood canyon just over a low ridge from the ocean, is unique. Since only tents are permitted, and camping gear must be hauled in from the parking lot, Pomo Canyon is perfect for minimalists or backpackers ironing out the kinks for future treks. All the sites are completely shaded by the redwood forest. A few sites are scattered near a creek along the canyon floor, where redwood sorrel, stream violet, and trillium bloom in spring. The other campsites, which perch on a hillside above the canyon, have a limited amount of level space for tents, although some visitors have carved tent shelves into the hillsides (park staff doesn’t condone this). It’s a little more than a 0.1 mile level walk to the most remote sites: 17 through 21. Sites 1 through 6 are accessed via Dr. David Joseph Memorial Trail (informally know as Pomo Canyon Trail), which climbs uphill out of the campground to coastal scrub on the flanks of Red Hill, then drifts easily downhill to Shell Beach. This 5.5-mile round-trip hike can be combined with hours of beach strolling along the Sonoma Coast State Beach coastline, which stretches 17 miles, from Bodega Head to a view point 4 miles north of Jenner. Pomo Canyon is one of four top-notch campgrounds nearby, all part of the Sonoma Coast State Beach system.
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