Spectacular coastal scenery
HIGHLIGHTS: Acquired in 2009, the 5,360-acre Jenner Headlands Preserve is among the largest conservation acquisitions in the history of Sonoma County. And it’s not just big: It’s scenically spectacular and a regional keystone for ecological stability. This rugged landscape of mixed redwood and Douglas fir forest, oak woodland, coastal prairie and chaparral extends north from the town of Jenner 2.5 miles to Russian Gulch State Park. Both properties are rich in wildlife. Along with black-tailed deer, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote and gray fox, the preserve harbors several rare and endangered species, including northern spotted owl, peregrine falcon and red tree vole. The Preserve is owned and managed by The Wildlands Conservancy, and managers are working on a comprehensive public access plan. Pending approval and implementation of the plan, The Wildlands Conservancy and the Sonoma Land Trust hold regular guided tours.
ACTIVITIES: While there is no current public access to the preserve, managers host guided hikes in spring, summer and fall. The spring hikes are usually in April and May when the preserve’s stellar wildflower displays are at their peak. The summer hikes address management of the preserve’s forests, grasslands and riparian areas. The autumn hikes focus on the great fall raptor migration that occurs on the Sonoma Coast. Register for a hike. A parking lot off California State Highway 1 is planned to be constructed by summer 2017.
VISITOR CENTER: None. Preserve managers are planning to create a public access parking lot off of Highway 1 with restrooms.
CAMPGROUNDS: None. No RV access.
TRAILS: 15 miles of trails open for guided hikes only.
MUST-SEE UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: On the guided hikes, wildflower displays in spring; during the fall, the raptor migration.
HIDDEN GEM: The preserve’s coastal prairie is a gem hiding in plain sight: Rolling grasslands spangled with flowers during spring and early summer, and a critical habitat for a wide array of native animals.
FEATURES ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Accessible parking, restrooms and 500 feet of ADA-compliant trail will be available after the parking lot is completed in 2017.
DOGS: Not allowed.
ENTRANCE FEE: None.
SPECIAL EVENTS: In addition to the guided hikes, preserve managers schedule volunteer work days for the removal of non-native invasive plants and re-vegetation with native species. Register to volunteer.
PLACES TO EAT AND STAY:
- Lodging: Jenner Inn
- Food and lodging: River’s End; Ocean Cove (17 miles north of Jenner)
- Food: Cafe Aquatica offers breakfast and lunch
- Latino Conservation Week
- Birding for Beginners
- Sempervirens Falls Hike
- Special “Parents’ Day” Redwood Loop Walks
- Redwood Loop Walk
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