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Bowling Ball Beach (Schooner Gulch State Beach)
What? : The
beach and headlands preserve a scenic spot along the Mendocino Coast, it offers
a stunning perch for watching sunsets and the unique nature phenomena of Bowling
Ball rocks on the beach.
Where? : The
parking lot is on Mile Marker 11.41, it is 47.9 miles north of Jenner on hwy 1,
or 39.4 miles south of Mendocino.
When? : You
need to come here at low tide when the rocks are exposed out of the water.
If there are high
wave, they may prevent you from seeing the rocks.
Due note 1:
Link to tide table at Bowling Ball beach:
Due note 2:
Free but can be limited parking on hwy 1 roadside.
My thoughts: We
came here at the morning (around 9am) and manage to get low tide and calm
ocean. The balls look just amazing.
with you if you plan to take long-exposure pictures.
Additional Nearby attractions:
- Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
- Skunk Train roundtrip from Fort Bragg to inland Northspur
- MacKerricher State Park
- Little River State Park
- Van Damme Beach State Park
A long sandy
beach (all this coast stretch called Schooner Gulch State Beach) whose main
attraction is a cluster of round rocks right on the waterfront!
The State of
California values these treasures and protects them for all to see in their
balls are a geological phenomenon known as “concretion”, these boulders are the
result of millions of years of concretion and erosion, exposing the hard
In order to see
the balls, you must come at a low tide in a calm ocean day.
At high tide
and with waves most of the rocks are under water.
The parking lot
is along Route #1, parking is on the west side of the road, diagonally facing
If you are
coming on hwy 1 from the south need to do a U turn. Be careful here, cars are
going fast, and they may not see you at all!!!
You can find parking
at a turn right into a side road (when heading north), off the main road to the
From the roadside
parking there are 2 trails that descents down, make sure you are taking the
1. For Bowling-Ball take the path that goes out on the north side of the parking lot
(more or less in front of T sideroad road). The trail start at the highland but
soon it is going down heading north in a series of stairs all the way to the
beach below, once at the beach level continue heading north.
The Bowling-Ball rocks are located about half a mile north of your beach access, below
the cliff on your right that create a narrow shore section.
Saying it again:
you must come at low tide and it is recommended to schedule either in the
morning (you will not see here the sunrise because of the cliff behind you) or
"main" trail near the parking sign (in the southern part of the
parking lot) goes down through the trees to a very nice little bay, sandy
beach, fun for bathing and relatively wind-protected by the large bluff.
Does not looks
like there is a passage through the base of the coastal cliff to the north Bowling Ball Beach.
If you want to
go north need to climb back and take a connector trail crossing the headland
until you connect to the right trail heading north.
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