Secret Sonoma Coast - Bodega Marine Lab

April 14-17, 2024

Registration Closed

4 days/3 nights

Rating: Easy

Max Capacity: 20

$850 Member Price

$900 Non- Member Price

This Coastwalk offers not just hiking but a series of Coastal Adventures many not open to the public or difficult to do alone or without permission. Your four leaders Simon, Anne, Gary and Robert are good friends who are very familiar with the Sonoma coast and live close by. Bird watcher and photographer Gary knows the coastal birds and hopes to show you oystercatchers and endangered snowy plovers. Master Gardener Anne knows her coastal wildflowers and hopes to find native succulents. Simon has kayaked several times up Salmon creek and hopes for high water to take you up into the canyon where people rarely go. Little adventures like a private tour of the Marine lab, a docent led hike on Carrington ranch not yet open to the public but to become part of the coastal trail. Plus our consulting geologist Glen, will lead a hike to the famous rubbing rock supposedly worn glossy with ancient mammoths. True or False? Glen will tell us the story. If you get too tired Robert will follow the group with the van for a ride back to the lodging. Our speakers each evening are experts. Our evening speakers will include Coastwalk’s Board Member & Coastal Trail Advisor, Cea Higgins; a speaker on ocean health and one on the migration of grey whales. All this with comfy beds at night with private bathrooms, great food and fun company. We hope you will join us.  

 Private Rooms and All Meals Provided.

Participants shall be responsible for paying for parking and any state park entrance fees.



We will be staying at the housing and conference facilities for the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab. The lab itself is located at 2099 Westshore Rd in Bodega Bay. It is on the right-hand side of the road. The gate to the housing and conference facilities where we are staying is approximately a quarter of a mile BEFORE the gate to the UC Davis Marine Lab (also on the right-hand side of the road).

To get to Westshore Rd -drive north from center of Bodega Bay on Hwy1. Turn left on Eastshore Rd, then Right on Bay Flat Rd which leads into Westshore Rd.

There is plenty of parking at the site, but we do encourage carpooling if possible.

Housing and meals:

Each room has two single beds and a bathroom with shower. They are basic rooms but very clean. All linens are provided. We will eat in the meeting room. There is a fridge for our use, but we suggest you bring a cooler chest with ice.  Our meals will be catered.  Let us know of any dietary constraints and we will try to accommodate you. Breakfast and lunch are cafeteria style and we will make our own pack lunch for the day’s hike from the food provided.


*Please note this Itinarary is subject to change based on weather and tidal conditions

Sunday 14 April

Meet at the housing and conference facilities between 12:30 and 1p.m. where we will check in.

2 p.m. Hike from the housing at Bodega Marine Lab to the Bodega Headlands. The Bodega Headlands was once considered as a site for the largest nuclear facility on the West Coast and it was the fight to save the headlands that led to the passage of the Coastal Act and is considered the beginning of grassroots environmental coastal activism. The hike will be led by our co-leader, Gary, a bird and wildflower specialist. We will hike through the dunes approximately 5 miles with 500ft elevation gain. The views up and down the coast are spectacular.

Monday 15 April

We will carpool to the beginning of the Prairie Trail in Bodega Bay, and visit the memorial bell tower. Followed by a short hike to the launching site on Salmon Creek for our kayak adventure. Bring shoes that can get wet for the optional 1-2 hour kayak trip up Salmon Creek. A beautiful easy paddle suitable even for beginners.We then continue hiking along the dunes and beach to Mussel point. Here we walk through the pristine coastal prairie of The UC Davis property ending at the marine lab. where we have a private tour of the lab given by the manager. From the lab we walk back to the residences.  Approximately 5 miles hiking with 100 ft. elevation gain.

Tuesday 16 April

We carpool to the Bird Viewing trail head in Bodega Bay. From here we hike over the mudflats to the Coastguard station to visit their ship and learn about the role the coastguards play along the Sonoma Coast.  The hike along Doran beach takes us south over Pinnacle Gulch to the adjacent secluded beaches. After lunch on the beach we scramble  through the cave (only possible at low tide ) and return to our cars.. Anyone wishing to avoid the cave will be led along a trail above the beach.

The total hike will be 6 miles with an optional shorter hike of 4 miles. In the afternoon we drive to a coastal ranch newly acquired by a non profit organization and not yet open to the public. Here we will learn about the plans for the acquisition and take a short 2 mile guided hike on property.

Wednesday 17 April

Today we drive 9 miles north to Shell beach parking area and the trailhead for the Kortum trail.  Our hike this morning will take us to Peaked Hill. On the way we stop at the mammoth rubbing rock where a local geologist will tell us the story of the rock and discuss the local coastal geology. The CoastWalk will end back at the Shell Beach parking.


What to Bring:

  • A waterproof windbreaker
  • warm layers of clothing
  • hiking boots
  • Socks
  • Soft shoes to wear indoors
  • Sun hat and hat for warmth
  • Sleepwear
  • A pair of shoes or sandals that can get wet for kayaking
  • Personal items such as soap, shampoo, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, chapstick, & sunscreen
  • Basic first aid for your daypack such as bandages, insect repellant, moleskin for blister protection and your own special medical needs
  • Daypack
  • Reusable water bottle,
  • Sunglasses
  • Flashlight or headlamp,
  • camera, binoculars.


Walk Leaders Simon & Anne Lowings & Gary Morgret

Simon and Anne Lowings are avid hikers. They have trekked worldwide but especially like Nepal where they have been to Everest and Annapurna base camps. Both are now retired and have lived in Sonoma county for 20 years. They will be supported by volunteer Gary Morgret, a keen photographer and bird watcher. Gary has had his photos displayed in many galleries in California.