Sonoma Coast's Kortum Trail
One man's vision lives on along this epic coastal trail
The ocean bluff-top Kortum Trail is a fitting tribute to environmental hero William Kortum. Kortum, who passed away in 2014, co-founded Coastwalk California, an organization that advocates for the Coastal Trail and public access to the California coastline. His namesake trail is one segment on the trail network. He also helped defeat PG&E’s efforts to build a nuclear power plant on Bodega Head, preserved public access to Sea Ranch beaches and helped pass Proposition 20, which established the public’s right to access beaches via the California Coastal Act.
"A fitting tribute to environmental hero William Kortum"
Make your way across coastal bluffs, boardwalk paths, and patches of wildflowers as you skirt the ocean bluffs. The flat, meandering trail connects Blind Beach near Goat Rock to Wright’s Beach 4.6 miles to the south and offers many opportunities for side trips and exploration to a part of the world Kortum thought should be available to all. And it is.
"A part of the world Kortum thought should be available to all. And it is."
Shell Beach makes for a great stop. There are shells, yes, but it’s the rocky reef and the marine life it exposes at low tide that make a great place to wile away a few hours. For something more rigorous, use the beach as a jumping off point to explore Pomo Canyon to the east, a trail that starts just east of Highway 1 and takes you through coastal prairie, redwoods and a dense riparian landscape. And the views of the Russian River and Jenner are as good as it gets.
Also not to be missed are the adjacent Sunset Boulders, a craggy pile of granite seemingly plopped down in the middle of a field. The spot is a favorite for rock climbers. Naturalists say it was popular with wooly mammoths back in the day who wore spots of the rock smooth as they scratched their Pleistocene itches.