Salt Point State Park is one of the most northern day-hike spots that are reasonable to get to from San Francisco. It is about a 90-minute drive from SF, and maybe better for those who already live in the North Bay because the drive for them would be substantially shorter.
Being next to the Pacific Ocean, Salt Point State Park offers an adventurous array of hikes through rocky cliffs with crashing waves on the beaches below. Being on top of the cliffs has another perk - the great views for miles and miles into the ocean. Further inland are grassy Redwood forests that only grow in Northern California because of its unique fog climate.
The park spans has approximately 6 miles of coastline and approximately 20 miles of hiking trails. Other than hiking, the fun outdoor activities in the park are picnicking, horseback riding, fishing, skin and SCUBA diving, camping, and there is even an underwater park.
The park offers the chance to see some great wildlife. Some of the animals that live at Salt Point State Park are the deer, skunks and raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, the gray fox, badgers, squirrels, chipmunks, and the field mouse. Bears and cougars occasionally range the area, although visitors rarely see them. Campers are advised to be well-educated about various correct ways to handle food safely.
Because the park is right along the ocean, it has quite a unique climate. The fog brings year-round moisture to the area, allowing the redwood forests to thrive in the park and all over Northern California to about 30 miles inland. During the dry season of the summer, the fog brings nutrients to the trees and other vegetation.
The temperature can change depending on the time of the day. Although Northern California is known for being warm and sunny, the winds from the ocean add a wind-chill factor, making it quite cold at times. If you go for a mid-distance to a longer hike, bring extra layers of clothing with you because the weather can really change within hours.
The park's wildlife and plants include poison oak, so be careful not to touch random bushes as you may be touching poison oak. Due to the arid conditions of the dry season in Northern California, some trails may be closed in August or September as a precaution to the possibility of wildfires.
There are many different outdoor activities possible at Salt Point State Park other than just hiking. Picnicking or horseback riding are also popular activities at the park. Water-based activities are scuba diving and an underwater park. Fishing is permitted, but requires a fishing license. Camping is also available in the park. People interested in camping opportunities should contact the park as there are some strict rules to preserve the natural habitat of the park. The park number is: 1-800-444-7275.
Salt Point State Park
Jenner, CA 95450
It is simple to get to the park via Highway 1. People coming from San Francisco should be aware of the long drive. The park may be better for a trip that involves some camping and a day-hike. That way the trip isn't rushed and the visitors can fully enjoy all that Salt Point State Park has to offer.