Sonoma Coast State Park - Goat Rock


What? : Goat Rock, near the mouth of the Russian River, is known for its scenic rocky cliffs and ragged shoreline in the south section and easily accessible sandy beach near the Russian River.


My highway 1 north section trip planner link:

Where? : Located on hwy 1 north of Bodega Bay at the mouth of the Russian River, were hwy 176 is coming from the east.

Google Map Link


Due note 1: Swimming: The ocean in this location can be very dangerous and not recommended for swimming, there are few swimming beaches on the protected side of the Russian River.


Due note 2: Goat Rock beach is home to a colony of harbor seals, please stay 50 yards from the seals.


Due note 3: At summer month Sonoma Coast State Park and hwy 1 are the most visited beaches in this region so it can be crowded (as any other attraction along the Russian River)


My thoughts: When visiting here we did not have the time to explore and hike in this park and we mainly drove all the way down to the end of the road parking lot near the large Goat Rock.


The visit:

Goat Rock Beach is a subunit of the larger Sonoma Coast State Beach. At the northern section is the mouth of the Russian River, in the middle you can see the massive Goat Rock, an iconic outcrop of the Sonoma Coast, which is barely attached to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, Blind Beach located south of the rock.


Along Goat Rock Beach massive rock outcroppings are found both on the shore and protruding from the Pacific Ocean as small skerries. Among these rugged structures are natural arches formed by powerful wave action selectively eroding weaker strata of the rock formations.

There are two parking lots for beach access, one is at the north end of Goat Rock Road with an access to the sand spit at the mouth of the Russian River and the other is right below Goat Rock itself. From the last parking you can access Blind Beach to the south. It’s a long narrow beach just underneath the rock cliffs. There is an upper parking lot with a steep narrow trail that descends to Blind Beach


There are few nice hiking options in the high planes above the cliffs. Walk along the cliff edge, enjoy the ocean and sea stacks view and see the large boulders known as Sunset Boulders.

You can start your hike here at any parking along the park main road (Goat Rock Road) or you can park at Kortum Trail Parking Lot, south on hwy 1.


One and a half mile south on hwy 1 there is the beach access Wright's Beach Campground.



On the north side of the Russian River you can find the small town of Jenner, a very small coastal town (population of about 136), no more than few houses on the hwy 1.

You can find here something to eat, coffee, gas station and also Kayaks renting is available.

Just north of town you can stop on hwy 1 roadside and watch the sea lion rest place at the mouth of the Russian River below.


During the summer months, a sandbar is built up along the beach and separates the Russian River from the Pacific Ocean, during early winter river flow splits the beach in two sections.


Less than a mile north you can find on your right (going north) the Jenner Headlands Preserve parking, here you can hike at the open landscape hills above the ocean. Soon after there is the entrance to Russian Gulch State Beach, this time the entrance is on your left.