Kortum Trail – enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Coastline

Kortum Trail – enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Coastline


Location: Sonoma Coast State Park, California
Length: 8 miles (roundtrip)
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 300 feet (at the northern section, going from Shell Beach to Goat Rock)
GPS Coordinates: N 38 24.310 W 123 05.867

Kortum Trail is the best option to get acquainted with the “coastal part” of Sonoma Coast State Park. Being the longest trail of the park, it runs for about 4 miles from the Wright’s Beach on the south up to the Blind Beach on the north. The trail was named in such a way to honor the name of Bill Kortum, who spent a lot of time and efforts to preserve the Sonoma Coast area for the public use of future generations.

Skirting along the top of the bluff, the Kortum Trail shows the hikers the incomparable beauty of the ocean, amazing diversity of the Sonoma Costs’s beaches, stretching out beneath the bluff, and enchanting loveliness of the coastal prairie.

But the one of the main advantages and conveniences of this track is that you yourself can choose the length, the difficulty and duration of your saunter. As the Kortum Trail has several access points, you may start your hike depending on your plans and intentions. The most popular staring point is at the Shell Beach, located almost in the middle of the trail and here also the Kortum Trailhead is situated with a parking lot (paved) and restrooms. There is no fee for parking or entrance.

From this point you may choose the direction of your hike. If you would rather have a hike with a little bit of exercise, the northwards direction is for you. Going to the Blind Beach/Goat Rock, you will have about 280 feet of elevation gain at the final part of your walk. Take a short “side track” at the Blind Beach parking site will take you to the Peaked Hill, the picturesque views awaiting for you there are just unforgettable.

Approaching the Blind Beach the trail will pass several huge stone monoliths (Sunset Boulders), rising from the ground like fairy-tale giants. They are actually the sea stacks, left here from the ancient times when the water level was higher. If you take a close look you may see the polished spots on the stones – they are believed to be left by mammoths rubbing their backs against the stones.

Another hike variation is going from the Shell Beach southwards, in the direction of Wright’s Beach. In this case your stroll will be leveled and easy, without any elevation gain.
In case if you are camping at Wright’s Beach Campground or/and are not limited in time, you may hike the full trail from its southernmost point to its northernmost point, having rest and lunch there, enjoying the sovereign beauty of the ocean and vies of wondrous landscapes which open for the travellers there, and come back to your starting point.

Whichever hike-option you chose – you are guaranteed to have a pleasant time earning unforgettable memories.



Photo: Roman Khomlyak
Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska
Information: Svetlana Baranova
Pictures taken: 06/13/17

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