Sunrise to Sunset
Salt Point State Park
Here are some guidelines for people visiting Salt Point State Park:
What is open now?
- Parking lots, with limited capacity.
- Day-use areas.
What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
- Picnic areas.
- Visitor center.
- Special events.
- 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?
Yes, please see below:
- Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking is very limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.
- Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
- Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
- Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
- Stay Covered: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in most indoor settings and public outdoor spaces when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from people outside of your immediate household. For details, please visit CDPH’s guidance here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.
Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
Fisk Mill Day Use 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.
Effective April 21, 2018
The Walk-in campsites are closed indefinitely
Juvenile Camping: CLOSED
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.
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.
Facilities and Activities:
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).
Fisk Mill Cove 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.
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 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.
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-served basis year round- no reservations are available for these sites. Campgrounds consistently fill on weekends from April 1 to the end of September. Reservations are strongly 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.
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, with 79 sites, is located on the east side of Highway One.
Ten sites are available for campers on foot or bicycles. These sites are located behind the ranger office near Woodside Campground.
This camp is located on the ocean side of Highway One and accommodates a maximum of 40 people and ten cars.
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.