Parking is provided in a turnout next to the lot for the Bodega Bay Harbor golf course. It's free, and provides a great funnel down to the gulch. Be aware that hiking into the gulch is much easier than hiking out will be. It's all downhill from the parking lot to the beach.
Though the beach is the major destination along this trail, the journey isn't bad either. The trail is lined with willow, cypress, and a variety of wildflowers. Given the long springs and autumns, and mild winters, of the Bodega Bay area, you're almost certain to find something in bloom no matter what time of year you visit. The area is also popular with birders. If you're looking to spy some of the area's more shy coastal birds, keep your eyes open!
The beach is small, but remote and beautiful. It's less popular than larger beaches in the area. Fishing is permitted with a license. You can also kick back for a while, or let your dog lead you to every pile of seaweed for a good sniff! Once you've had enough of the beach, begin the climb back to your car. It's all going to be uphill from here, so pace yourself. Though not far, the grade is steep enough to make the trip back out a strain.
Have a pawsome time along the Shorttail Gulch Coastal Access Trail whether you like flowers, fowl, or just spending time with your dog.