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Sonoma Coast State Park

Sonoma Coast State Park is not a single site but rather a collection of beaches, campgrounds, bluffs, crags, and headlands that stretches for 17 miles along the rugged Sonoma Coast from Bodega Head north to the Vista Trail, just beyond Jenner. Much of it is steep and rocky, and inaccessible to wheelchair riders, but you may find it worthwhile to stop at many of the parking lots and pullouts to enjoy the scenery, including prominent rocky sea stacks, crashing ocean waves, and boats bobbing in the harbor. Bodega Dunes, Pomo Canyon, Wright's Beach, and Willow Creek campgrounds have accessible features, and an accessible boardwalk at Bodega Dunes takes you through the dunes and down a switchbacked ramp to the beach. A new 1.5-mile loop trail at Bodega Head is expected to be complete by late 2010; currently only about a half-mile is accessible. At Wrights Beach you will find limited access to the beach and an entrance to the Kortum Trail, which is accessible for part of its length and is particularly lovely when wildflowers are in bloom; another Kortum Trail entry is at Shell Beach to the north. Dangerous rip currents, heavy surf, and sudden drop-offs (all of which make the ocean spectacular to look at) make swimming along the Sonoma Coast unsafe. 
State Parks Advisory: Many of California's state parks are reducing hours of operation and limiting access to facilities because of budget cuts. We recommend that you consult State Parks' website and contact the park directly before planning a visit.

Trail/Pathway Details

Bodega Dunes Boardwalk

Trailhead: Bodega Dunes day-use parking lot

Length: Less than .5 mile

Typical Width: 4 ft. & above

Typical Grade: Gentle

Terrain: Hard

Obstacles: Conditions on the boardwalk can vary daily due to shifting sand. On one of my visits in summer it was impassable. Call the Salmon Creek ranger station the day of your visit for information: (707) 875-3483.


A breathtaking view of the ocean awaits you if the section of boardwalk from the parking lot to the overlook platform is passable; it can be covered in sand blown from the surrounding dunes. From the parking lot you'll climb a short, gentle slope on a well-worn, rippling boardwalk that leads through dunes. After about 300 feet you connect to a new 350-foot-long switchbacked stretch of boardwalk made of composite boards, then descend to the beach. At its end is a large concrete pad that puts you as close to the ocean as you'll get anywhere on the Sonoma Coast. On a clear, windless day it was just me and the ocean; I felt as if I had arrived in paradise, and I didn't want to leave. 

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Beach Wheelchair: Yes

Call the Salmon Creek ranger station at least 24 hours in advance to arrange for a beach wheelchair at Bodega Dunes: (707) 875-3483.

Accessible Parking: Yes

At trailhead for Bodega Dunes boardwalk, Wrights Beach, Vista Trail, and Bodega Head

Accessible Restroom: Yes

Restrooms with varying degrees of access are at Wright’s Beach campground, Shell Beach and Bodega Head parking lots, Bodega Dunes day-use, and the Vista Trail.  

Accessible Picnic Tables: Yes

At Wrights Beach, Vista Trail, and Bodega Head
Bodega Dunes ramp to beach
Bodega Dunes ramp to beach (Russell Citlau)

Features icon key

  • Beach Wheelchairs Available
  • camping
  • hiking
  • picnic
  • wildlife viewing

Additional Information

Managing Agency: California State Parks
Phone: (707) 875-3483
Reservations: (800) 444-7275
Hours: 8 am to sunset
Fees: Parking, Camping
Dogs: In restricted areas
Dogs are allowed on a six-foot leash at Wrights Beach and in campgrounds, picnic areas, and parking areas, but are not permitted on other beaches or coastal trails, or at Goat Rock.
Reviewed by Bonnie Lewkowicz, August 10, 2010
Access Norhtern California This web guide is a project of Access Northern California.  
California Coastal Conservancy Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy

DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.

Accessible Restrooms Icon looks like a women and men restroom signBeach Accessible
Wheelchairs Available
  Hiking icon is silhouette of a hikerHiking & Trails
Biking icon looks like person riding a bikeBicycling   Good for Familis icon is a child on a swing'Particularly Good for Families
Boating Icon is a boatBoating   Picnic Area Icon is a picnic tablePicnic
Camping icon is a tentCamping   Swimming Icon is a person swimmingSwimming
Fishing Icon is a fish biting a hookFishing   Wildlife Viewing Icon is a pair of binocularsWildlife Viewing