Salt Point Park is in the Northern part of Sonoma County in California. There are 20 miles of trails in this park and we hiked the Central Trail to the Pygmy Forest and looped around the Prairie to the South Trail to return via the Powerline Trail. About 5-7 miles long with a 600 ft elevation gain.
A pygmy forest is where the trees are miniature in size, almost like natural bonsai due to the poor soil conditions. We were hiking in March, so a good part of the meadow portion was flooded and our feet did get wet!
This hike begins in groves of redwoods, Douglas fir, oak, pine, ferns, rhodedendron and trilliums and continues up into the pygmy forest where you see Mendocino cypress, redwoods, madrone and manzanita.
We also heard, but didn't see a wild pig. We understand enough about these animals to know they can be dangerous, so we walked pretty quickly to leave the area when we heard it squealing- I'm not sure who was scared more, us or the pig!
Afterwards we had a nice picnic in a large meadow on one of the picnic tables, we didn't mind the two scrub jays who were having a begging contest, one outdoing the other to get some of our bread.
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Gerstle Cove in Salt Point
This trail is located in Sonoma county, just north of San Francisco California. It is only about a mile long round trip but you are rewarded with sandstone cliffs, chiseled promontories, wind-carved caves, natural bridges and crashing surf. My husband and I love the Gualala area and come here at least once a year and this is one hike that we always return.
There are some amazing rock sandstone rock sculptures carved by the wind and water. At the far end of this walk, you can sit by the ocean on a large rock to experience the powerful waves as they crash upon the rock. We don't get too close, because of the danger of rogue waves and crumbling cliff face.
There are pockets of succulents, bush lupine,wild calla lilies and slumbering seals out on the rocks.
There's also a little nature center where you can get books written about the animals, birds and natural history of the area.