The Kortum Trail. Hike part of the Sonoma Coast State Beach!
Our Hike: This is a ‘there and back’ hike. Most guides I have found write about easy stretches of the Kortum Trail, many describing trail segments starting from Shell Beach and heading either north to Blind Beach or south Wright’s Beach, with fairly minimal elevation gain.
Instead, we will start at the south end at Wright’s Beach, head north past Shell Beach, and onward. The north terminus of the trail is generally listed as the bluffs 200 feet above Blind Beach. From there, we will take the (rough) trail down to Blind Beach for a lunch and some time to explore. If the tides allow for it, we will then take a 3/4 mile beach stroll up to Goat Rock Beach.
From beyond Goat Rock, we will take a gradual climb up the paved road from Goat Rock Beach, traversing along the high bluffs, rejoining our original trail at Blind Beach for our return south to our starting point.
Overall, when including Goat Rock Beach, this trek is about 9 miles. We do have a high elevation point of ‘Peaked Hill’ at 360 ft elevation, just south of Blind Beach. I am expecting to be on the trail (including lunch) for about 5 hours. With the climb up Peaked Hill each way, and a few other dips, we will end up with about 900 feet of elevation gain overall.
From the Guides: The state beach is actually a series of sandy beaches separated by rocky 100-foot bluffs and headlands. This rugged coast has secluded coves, reefs, tidepools, natural rock arches, sand dunes and wildflowers! This trail follows the coastline with some wandering over the inland wetlands. If you love the ocean than this hike is perfect for you!
This hike is not for beginning hikers or those newly returning to the trails due to the length and the total climb of 1000 feet.
From Highway 1 and Highway 116 (just south of Jenner) cross the Russian River bridge on Hwy 1 to the Wright's Beach parking lot. There is a campground at Wright’s Beach, but we will meet in the gravel lot just above the beach at the entrance to the campground, just off the road. The lot is located 1.4 miles south of the Shell Beach turnoff at mile marker 16.8.
PARKING: Free Parking is somewhat limited at Wright’s Beach… Carpooling is highly recommended. Can probably squeeze in 6-8 or so cars in the area just in at the turnoff to Wright’s Beach. But we won’t be the only ones trying to park there - so we really want to fill up our cars. Additional cars will have to park in the ‘fee’ area for Wright’s Beach picnic and camping (will need $8 exact change to stuff in the slot).
Car pools to be posted as determined by participants. If you ride please give your driver a minimum of $5 to cover gas and car expenses. We want our drivers to feel appreciated.
- Please always check your email the night before just in case there are any necessary adjustments. This is especially important if there are any weather issues. Cancellations due to weather will be posted by 10pm the previous evening.
- Give yourself time to find the trail head so that you arrive prior to the scheduled time. That is the time we head out on the trail. It would be disappointing to miss having you on the hike due to late arrival.
- Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good rugged soles that are well broken in.
- Duration: 4-5 hours
- Facilities: The Wright's Beach campground is open, there are restrooms there, as well as at Shell Beach and at Goat Rock.
- Dogs?: None allowed
- Bring plenty of water. It is a long hike (8-9 miles), I suggest at least 2 liters of water.
- Dress in layers. The weather at the coast in unpredictable!
- Bring a snack/lunch. We will take a leisurely picnic break at Goat Rock beach.
- Bring your smile and great attitude! We are ALL about trail enjoyment while respecting everyone’s time!
- Once again, always try to car-pool if you can. If there is a noted car pool that is full or doesn’t work for you it would be wonderful if posted your own on the hike’s comments spot. If you are a rider than make sure to give your driver gas money as mentioned above.
See you on the trail!