The areas of Schooner Gulch and Bowling Ball Beach are connected and make for a great retreat for hikers to get away from the usual mountain and uphill hikes. This area offers lots of sun, sandy beaches, and open meadows to explore and run around with Fido in.
When you park along Coast Highway to go see Schooner Gulch, you would never guess there's a beach waiting for you. The parking area is surrounded by trees, and cascaded in shade with no sight of what's to come. The trail begins in the parking lot and stretches into thick woods. Hikers can enjoy the sounds of songbirds and wrestling wildlife jumping about through the trees, before being greeted with an open meadow that leads down into an open beach.
The trails fork off, the left trail taking you down to Schooner Gulch where you will come across a small sandy ravine with a creek that leads into the ocean, with a protected sandy beach beyond. The trail ends at the gulch, so going right after the fork will lead to more. After turning right, you'll descend a small flight of stone stairs and walk around the meadows of Bowling Ball Beach first, where you can view foxes, groundhogs, and sometimes deer.
The trail travels up the coast, entering the rocky Bowling Ball Beach, named after the large round boulders scattered along the sand that represent bowling balls. The trail travels up the sandy shore, where you and Fido can play in sand and water to cool off. After about three-fourths of a mile, you'll reach the end of the trail which stops at the Ross Creek, and then connects to the California Coastal Trail.
Continuing is always possible, but you and Fido can always head back and play more in the sand and sun before returning to your car. The hike is pretty, with activities like whale watching and surfing available also. Don't let the ruff terrain stop you either, it just makes the hike that much more fun for you and your adventurous pup!