Kortum Trail

Sonoma Coast State Park, California

Elevation Gain24ft
Trailhead Elevation99ft
Elevation Min/Max75/99ft
Elevation Start/End99/99ft

Kortum Trail

Kortum Trail is a hiking trail in Sonoma County, California. It is within Sonoma Coast State Park. It is 3.3 miles long and begins at 99 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 24 feet. Near the trailhead there are water works and parking. The Goat Rock Park Climbing Boulders stone can be seen along the trail. There are also restrooms and a parking along the trail.

Kortum Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The fact that this section of the California Coastal Trail is tucked between two quaint Northern California communities, Bodega Bay and Jenner, is an added bonus. The panorama is classic rugged Sonoma coast along bluffs punctuated by coves and beaches at the edge of meadows. The mouth of the Russian River at the end of the hike is the scenic pièce de résistance.

This is one of many highlights along Sonoma Coast State Park’s almost 20 miles of spectacular coastline. Named in the 1990s after veterinarian and dedicated environmentalist Bill Kortum, the dirt and grassy trail runs along the bluffs at the edge of the coastal prairie, with CA 1 visible in the distance on its way to the mouth of the Russian River. Both Goat Rock and the Russian River at the end of the trail are significant landmarks. If you’re not up to the entire length of this hike, there are several great perches for a picnic on this island of rock before going back to the trailhead the way you came. If you are going the distance, follow the trail up to the saddle and back down the other side. You can linger and scamper around the outcrop on the way back. You will have a great view of Goat Rock and Blind Beach from the top of this hill and all the way down to the paved road at 3.6 miles."

"In spring and summer, the coastal headlands along this reasonably easy trail from Shell Beach to Wright’s Beach are blanketed with a spectacular explosion of wildflowers. Some of the numerous types you’ll see include Douglas iris, buttercup, sticky monkeyflower, cow parsnip, flowering currant, purple bush lupine, Indian paintbrush, salmonberry, purple seaside daisy, coast buckwheat, and sea thrift. For a longer hike, you can combine this hike with Trail 5. To cover the entire route, start at either the Blind Beach parking lot and hike south or the Wright’s Beach parking lot and hike north."

"The Kortum Trail is an excellent hike to experience the rugged oceanside bluffs of Sonoma County. The rocky coastline and crashing surf offer some of the best scenery along the northcentral California coast. The trail follows open bluffs, dipping in and out of ravines across bridges and boardwalks. Hikes 31 and 32 explore the four-mile Kortum Trail. This hike follows the south half of the trail from Shell Beach to Wright’s Beach. Shell Beach is a sandy sheltered inlet with jagged shoreline rocks that support tidepools. The beach sits at the crossroad of four trails, which lead down to the shoreline, up the inland hills, and in both directions along the coastal bluffs. From Shell Beach, the hike leads 1.6 miles south to Wright’s Beach, a wide sandy beach with a picnic area and tree-sheltered campground. The trail follows the coastal bluffs past abundant wildflowers and large sea stacks. En route, the path crosses five seasonal creeks, including Furlong Gulch, which empties to an isolated beach beneath the 80-foot bluffs."

"Coastal bluffs, great views of the coast, and craggy rock formations are all highlights of this easy yet beautiful hike on the Sonoma Coast. The ocean is in view for nearly the entire hike, and there is beach access at a few points on the trail. The Sonoma Coast is an extraordinarily scenic region, with high cliffs plunging into the roiling surf, grassy meadows, lovely beaches, and rugged rock formations. A significant portion of the coastline falls under the jurisdiction of Sonoma Coast State Park."

"Sonoma Coast State Park stretches 17 miles, from Bodega Head (Hike 34) to the Vista Trail (Hike 26), located four miles north of Jenner. The state park is actually a series of sandy beaches that are separated by rocky 100-foot bluffs and headlands. The craggy coastline includes secluded coves, reefs, fertile tidepools, rugged headlands, natural rock arches, sand dunes, and wildflower-covered meadows. The Kortum Trail is a four-mile coastal trail from Goat Rock to Wright’s Beach. The trail closely follows the coastal cliffs, dipping down to gullies and beaches along the rocky shoreline. Many boardwalks, bridges, and stairs have been built along the trail. Hikes 31 and 32 explore the length of the Kortum Trail, dividing it into the north section and the south section. This hike follows the north section, from Blind Beach to Shell Beach. The trail starts from the cliffs above Blind Beach, overlooking Goat Rock just to the north. The trail heads south along the exposed coastal bluffs to Shell Beach, a sandy pocket beach surrounded by jagged offshore rocks. En route to the beach are southward views that span all the way to Point Reyes."

"This pleasant trail from Shell Beach to Blind Beach extends along the coastal bluffs with excellent views of the rugged coastline. You will also pass the probable site of Pleistocene “rubbing rocks” frequented by prehistoric mammoths. You will have little shelter from the blowing winds, so save this hike for calm weather. The trail is named for former Sonoma County Supervisor Bill Kortum. In the early 1970s he helped lead the effort to stop construction of housing developments that would have destroyed the natural beauty of this coast."

Kortum 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
I actually did the reverse hike (Shell beach to blind beach and back). This is a really beautiful hike. It's pretty easy for the most part.... towards the end though, to make it to the top of the hill, there are a couple of steep places. One's hiking companion is the Pacific Ocean and the amazing and rugged Sonoma coast. Will definitely do this hike again...and again...and again...

Kortum Trail Photos

Trail Information

Sonoma Coast State Park
Nearby City
Sonoma Coast State Park
Dog-friendly, Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Sonoma Coast State Park, Salmon Creek, Jenner, CA 95450; (707) 8753483; www.sonoma-coast-state-park.com
Local Contacts
U.S.G.S. Duncan Mills • Sonoma Coast State Beach map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018