Stillwater Cove Regional Park in Sonoma County features a small, but beautiful beach and 3 lovely trails, each with their own unique personality and appeal. The beach curls around a deep-water cover dotted with rocks and spread with coarse sand and pebbles. Stockoff Creek, which flows through the canyon above the beach empties into the Pacific here, forming a shallow course to the water's edge that brings deadwood and stones to the beach. The beach also features tide pools where shells and shallow water-tolerant creatures and plants are exposed and available for exploration. You'll likely find starfish, whelks, mussels, and other shellfish clinging to the rocks until the tide turns again in 6 hours.
The 100-foot bluffs that protect the beach rise behind you as you look out to sea and provide the lofty route for the Stillwater Bluff Trail that curves along their edge, providing a furtastic view of the ocean and rocky coast surrounding the cove. Trees and grass adorn the cliff tops and offer lovely spots to sit and share a picnic with your furry bestie.
The Canyon Trail Loop follows Stockoff Creek into the canyon to the east of the cove, where you'll be surrounded by stately redwoods accompanied by the babble of the water. The packed dirt trail takes you by huge ferns and rhododendron shrubs and wild lilies. As the creek widens toward the end of the canyon in the mountains, you'll spy places where coho salmon and steelhead trout live and travel to spawn in the lakes above. Many bird species keep you company and small mammals skitter among the bushes and leaves on and around the trail.
An unnamed spur trail snakes away from the Canyon Trail to tree-lined North Meadow filled with wildflowers, where you'll find the old Fort Ross Schoolhouse which was moved to the meadow from nearer the coast to preserve it. Views inside the schoolhouse through the windows show old desks, blackboards and shelves used for decades by local school children.
If you aim to spend more than one day at this pawsome park, a 21-site campground spread out along the southern bluffs will accommodate RVs, campers and tents, and is pup-friendly.
Whether you and your pup come for the day or make a stay of it, you'll find much to love at Stillwater.
The park is home to Black-Legged Ticks, which are known to carry Lyme Disease. Avoid them finding you by wearing long pants and sleeves, and stay on the trail. Check your fur-baby and remove ticks immediately. The Cove Trail, which connects the parking area with the park and beach, crosses Highway 1, so be sure to stay alert for traffic and keep a tight hold on Fido's leash when crossing.