Bodega Head Trail

Sonoma Coast State Park, California

Elevation Gain551ft
Trailhead Elevation69ft
Elevation Min/Max64/177ft
Elevation Start/End69/69ft

Bodega Head Trail

Bodega Head Trail is a hiking trail in Sonoma County, California. It is within Sonoma Coast State Park. It is 1.7 miles long and begins at 69 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 3.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 551 feet. The Fishing Culture information board is near the trailhead. There is also a beach. The Sacred Tree and the Nuclear Power at Bodega Head information board can be seen along the trail. There are also coastlines and a viewpoint along the trail.

Bodega Head Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The headlands braced by the Bodega Bay and harbor on one side and the Paci?c on the other make the short, dramatic Bodega Head Trail one of the most memorable coastal hikes in California. Native Americans were the first to build seasonal encampments on this coast, and they did so for over 3,000 years.

But life began to change with the arrival of Russian settlers and fur trappers in the early 1800s, followed by Spanish missionaries and European pioneers lured by gold and the redwood forests’ lumber fortunes. For many it was the 1963 Hitchcock thriller The Birds that put Bodega Bay on the
destination radar. The movie was filmed in Bodega Bay and the small community of Bodega 5 miles south."

"The short hike around Bodega Head is a classic trip on one of the most interesting and historic sections of the Sonoma Coast. In addition to beautiful views and a lovely beach surrounded by craggy rock formations, the trail offers a unique look into the massive geologic forces at work along the coast. Bodega Head is one of the most dramatic features on the Sonoma County coast. Most of the coastline consists of rolling hills leveling off to a narrow bench, followed by cliffs plunging into the surf. In contrast, Bodega Head is a prominent peninsula protruding 2 miles out from the coastline."

"Bodega Head is a massive granite promon tory that juts into the ocean north of Point Reyes. The promontory forms the west side of Bodega Harbor. The 800-acre harbor is almost entirely enclosed from Bodega Bay by a narrow two-mile-long sand spit known as Doran Spit. This hike explores the exposed, southern tip of Bodega Head, circling the grassy headland 200 feet above Bodega Harbor and Doran Spit. The trail loops around to the open sea, overlooking the rocky shores, hidden caves and coves, undisturbed beaches, sea stacks, natural arches, bird-nesting cliffs, coastal bluffs, a series of eroded spires, and the open ocean. The nearly treeless landscape is covered with scrub vegetation and coastal grass. Gray whale pods often migrate past the headland with their new calves from December through April, following a northerly route from Baja California to Alaska. The high cliffs offer an excellent vantage point for observation. Docents offer information about the whale migration every weekend from January through April."

"On a clear day, a tour around Bodega Head presents views of whale migration routes in the Pacific, the mouth of Tomales Bay with Point Reyes beyond, the golden arc of Doran Beach, and Bodega Harbor."

"This little-used trail lets you explore some of the more remote areas of Bodega Dunes. Although you never climb more than 100 feet, your entire route is on soft sand, making it a fairly strenuous hike. Westside Trail itself is simply an access route to the dunes. It connects to Upper Miwok Trail after a half mile. This hike follows Westside Trail to its end and continues on Miwok Trail over the southern portion of the Miwok Loop Trail described in Trail 3. It then makes a loop and returns back along Westside Trail. However, if you are feeling particularly energetic you can extend your hike farther along Lower Miwok Trail to as far as the Day Use Area, with several other opportunities for an earlier return."

"From a birder’s point of view, there is hardly any other place where such a variety of birds can be seen (mostly in winter), and at reasonably close range. On weekends and during vacation periods, the roads and parking areas can be crowded, because Sonoma Coast is California’s second most popular state park (Old Town San Diego is number one). But during the week in winter you can have the place almost to yourself, and that is when the birds are at their best. One of Bodega Bay’s claims to fame is that it was the site for the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Birds, released in 1963. Some of the shots were taken in Bodega Bay, and others were taken in the nearby village of Bodega. Bodega Bay has been classified as a Globally Important Bird Area because it is an important migrant stopover and wintering area for waterbirds and shorebirds, and also because California Black Rail and Snowy Plover have been recorded there. Specialty birds: Resident—Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorants; Whitetailed Kite; Peregrine Falcon; Snowy Plover; Black Oystercatcher; Cassin’s Auklet. Summer—Black-footed Albatross, Brown Pelican, Cinnamon Teal, Osprey, Heermann’s Gull, Elegant Tern, Pigeon Guillemot, Tufted Puffin. Winter—Pacific Loon; Western and Clark’s Grebes; Laysan Albatross; Short-tailed and Black-vented Shearwaters; Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel; Wandering Tattler; Long-billed Curlew; Black Turnstone; Surfbird; Rock Sandpiper; Mew, Thayer’s, and Glaucouswinged Gulls; Ancient and Marbled Murrelets; Rhinoceros Auklet. Migrant or postbreeding visitor—Pink-footed, Flesh-footed, and Buller’s Shearwaters; Ashy and Black Storm-Petrels; Sabine’s Gull; Xantus’s and Craveri’s Murrelets. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information."

"This relatively level loop circles the southern tip of Bodega Head. It hugs the cliff edges for most of its distance, so keep young children in control. From December through April, you may be lucky enough to glimpse the spouts of California gray whales as they migrate along the coast. At several points along the way, you’ll see sheltered beaches 150 feet below you, but the faint volunteer trails down to them aren’t maintained by the State and descent is dangerous. Stay on the loop trail—if you really want to frolic in the sand, head for one of the northern beaches."

"Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds was filmed in nearby Bodega, and birds still flock to Bodega Bay to feed on the rich mudflats in the harbor. A boat channel bisects the harbor’s tide flats; small marinas, restaurants, and homes line the north shore; and parks, dunes, and grassy headlands complete the harbor’s circumference.

Beginners and intermediates can enjoy a 4-mile flat-water loop inside the harbor, practice reentries and other skills, or play in the surf on a well-protected stretch of sandy ocean beach. Experienced paddlers can access miles of rugged open coast—especially interesting is the 13-mile stretch south from Goat Rock to Bodega Head."

"Spectacular views of the ocean, pocket beaches, and rugged cliffs await hikers on this quick loop around Bodega Head. The wildlife-minded can observe rare birds, gray whales, and sea lions with binoculars from the rocky promontory, which juts out into the Pacific. Terrain: Dirt path through coastal headlands and windswept grassland and along rocky cliffs."

"Spectacular views of the ocean, pocket beaches, and rugged cliffs await hikers on this quick loop around Bodega Head. Wildlife lovers with binoculars can observe rare birds, blue and gray whales, and sea lions from the rocky promontory, which juts out into the Pacific."

Bodega Head Trail Reviews

5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
icon1 Total
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
Spectacular views for almost the entire trail.

Bodega Head Trail Photos

Help others discover amazing sights!

Trail Information

Sonoma Coast State Park
Nearby City
Sonoma Coast State Park
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Sonoma Coast State Park, Salmon Creek, Jenner, CA 95450; (707) 8753483;
Local Contacts
U.S.G.S. Bodega Head • Sonoma Coast State Beach map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018