Salt Point State Park

Update (March 24, 2021): With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Additionally, group campsites remain closed. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • Parking.
  • Day-use areas.
  • Beaches and trails.
  • Gerstle Cove campground.
  • Gerstle Cove enroute camping.
  • Hike and Bike Campground.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • Warren Group Camp.
  • Woodside Campground (scheduled to open April 1, 2021).
Statewide:
  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. 
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
    • SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(707) 847-3221

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: Up to 27 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: Up to 31 Feet

Park Hours

Sunrise to Sunset

Dogs Allowed?

Yes

Driving Directions to Salt Point SP

We are in the process of creating directions for this park.

Camping and Lodging

Visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Bookings may extend from the arrival date to the desired departure date – based on availability and the park’s maximum stay rules.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

BOATING
Boating
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
En route Campsites
Family Campsites
Group Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
Primitive Camping
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Interpretive Exhibits
Scuba Diving/Snorkeling
Beach Area
Windsurfing/Surfing
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available

Camping, Activities and facility Information:

When utilizing the facilities at Salt Point State Park we ask that you remain on developed trails at all times in order to preserve the park's unspoiled qualities and to avoid contact with ticks and poison oak.  Mountain bikes must stay on paved or fire roads, however, fire roads are closed to bicycles from October 31 to April 30. Bikes are not allowed on single-track trails as they cause a great deal of damage to the trail surfaces. Dogs must be kept on leash at all times and are not permitted on the trails or on the beaches. They must be kept in a tent or vehicle at night. For additional State Park regulations (State Park Rule and Regulations).

Picnicking:
Fisk Mill Cove- CLOSED

When open, is a day use area that provides picnickers with paved parking, picnic tables, small upright barbeques, restrooms, and drinking water. Additionally, the bishop pines in this area provide protection from the spring and summer winds. You can take a short walk from the north lot for a dramatic view of the Pacific Ocean from Sentinel Rock's wooden deck. 

Stump Beach is another picnic area that offers one of the few sandy beaches north of Jenner. There are a few picnic tables near the parking lot and a primitive toilet with no running water. A 1/4 mile trail leads down to the beach.  

South Gerstle Cove also has picnic tables, a primitive toilet, and a beautiful, exposed view of the ocean.

Hiking and Horseback Riding:
There are over 20 miles of hiking and equestrian trails to explore in Salt Point State Park. Trail maps are available at the entrance station.

Underwater Area:
The park includes one of the first underwater areas in California, Gerstle Cove Marine Reserve, where marine life is completely protected. The cove affords shelter for the hand launching of small boats and divers come to the cove to explore the wonders of the undersea world.

Marine life can be experienced on land during low tide in the rocky intertidal zone through tide pool exploration. When exploring these areas remember that many of these organisms can be damaged or destroyed by even the simple act of turning over a rock and exposing the animals to the sun. 

Fishing:
Fishing is permitted throughout the area with a valid fishing license, with the exception of Gerstle Cove Marine Reserve and north of the parking lot at Fisk Mill Day Use as part of the Stewart's Point Marine Reserve. The rest of Salt Point State Park is part of the Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area and only the take of finfish is permitted. The rocky coastline at Salt Point provides many excellent ocean fishing opportunities. Using bait of squid, shrimp, mussels, or smelt you can catch lingcod, cabezon, rockfish, and greenlings while fishing from the rocks. Be careful to stay back from the waves reach, since the rocks can be slippery and the ocean is rough.

Camping:
All campsites, with the exception of our overflow camping, are equipped with a fire-ring, picnic table, and food locker. The campgrounds have drinking water and restrooms but no showers. A dump station is not available.

The family sites and group campground are on our reservation system by calling 1-800-444-PARK (7275).  The hiker/biker sites and overflow camping are on a first-come-first-serve basis. Campgrounds consistently fill on weekends from April 1 to the end of September. Reservations are recommended. Gerstle Cove Campground and Woodside Campground are site specific campgrounds.  That means that you will pick your campsite at the time of your reservation.   

CAMPGROUNDS: 
Two main campgrounds are available at Salt Point State Park. Gerstle Cove Campground is situated atop the coastal bluffs on the ocean side of Highway One and offers 30 family campsites. Woodside Campground, (CURRENTLY partially OPEN for Season), with 79 sites, is located on the east side of Highway One.

GROUP CAMPING: OPEN
This camp is located on the ocean side of Hyw 1 and accommodates a maximum of 40 people and ten cars.

HIKER/BIKER SITES OPEN
Ten sites are available for campers on foot or bicycles not associated with a vehicle. These sites are located behind the ranger office near Woodside Campground.

OVERFLOW CAMPING
A day use parking lot located below Gerstle Campground is available for self-contained vehicles only. No tent camping or open fires are allowed. No restroom facilities or drinking water are available.

Effective April 21, 2018

The Walk-in campsites are closed indefinitely

Juvenile Camping:

Juvenile Camping
A parent or guardian must accompany youths under 18 years of age. The Supervising Ranger may approve the stay of a juvenile that presents written consent from their parent or guardian that states the dates of the authorized stay and the park name. Additionally, a verifiable contact number for the parent or guardian must be provided as well as medical consent in the event of an emergency.  If staff is unable to make contact with a parent or guardian, the juvenile will not be allowed to stay in the campground.

Fisk Mill Day Use CLOSED:

CLOSED

Hazardous tree conditions                    

Pitch pine canker is a fungal disease caused by Fusarium circinatum and can infect multiple species of pine trees. It is currently found in 18 coastal counties in California as well as the south eastern United States, Europe, South America and parts of Asia. In Sonoma county pitch pine canker primarily infects Bishop pines (Pinus muricata) and can cause high rates of mortality. Some stands in Salt Point SP and Fort Ross SHP exhibit 100% mortality creating numerous standing dead trees which pose a hazard to park visitors, staff and facilities. A management plan is being developed to address this problem in order to protect park visitors, facilities and ensure the long-term survival of the Bishop Pine ecosystem.   

General Information:

Rocky promontories, panoramic views, kelp-dotted coves, and the dramatic sounds of pounding surf; open grasslands, forested hills, pristine prairies, and pygmy forests- you can experience all of these coastal wonders within the Salt Point State Park. With 20 miles of hiking trails, over six miles of rugged coastline, and an underwater park, you can enjoy a variety of picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, skin and SCUBA diving, and camping.  The weather can be changeable along the rugged Northern California Coast. Even summertime can be cool as fog hugs the coastline and ocean winds chill the air.  We recommend layered clothing for your visit.

Sandstone and Tafoni
Ever wonder where the streets of San Francisco came from? Sandstone from Salt Point was used in the construction of San Francisco's streets and buildings during the mid 1800's. If you look closely at the rocks at Gerstle Cove, you can still see eyebolts where the ships anchored while sandstone slabs were loaded onboard. Quarried rocks can still be seen scattered along the marine terrace north of Gerstle Cove. Look for the drill holes along the edges of the rocks that were used to separate the large rocks into smaller slabs.

Tafoni is the Italian word for cavern. It is a natural phenomenon that is common along the sandstone near the ocean's edge at Gerstle Cove and Fisk Mill. Look for a honeycomb type network carved into the rocks forming pits, knobs, ribs, and ridges.

Salt Point State Park
At Salt Point State Park, how and why tafoni has formed remains a geological mystery. The beds that formed from density currents reveal undersea processes and conditions that are rarely witnessed. These exposures are a magnet for study by amateurs, students, and professional geologists. The beds lie immediately west of the San Andreas Fault and provide a key timeline and geologic marker for fault studies.

Salt Point SP
(Photograph by Mike Fuller)

The full Geo Gems report  |  Geological Gems of State Parks