Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,740.00 ft (530.35 m)
Trail type
6.15 mi (9.90 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Pomo Canyon-Red Hill Loop is a popular hiking route located in Sonoma Coast State Park. Shell Beach has a small parking area, however you can still park on the sides of the road leading into the parking lot. There are no parking fees but also no dogs allowed on the trail. Plan ahead and bring plenty of water and snacks with you since there is no water at the trailhead. This is a moderate six mile hike with over 1,500  feet of elevation gain that ascends through cool cypress trees and patches of redwoods, down into a forest grove and back up to Red Hill which features breathtaking views of Russian River and the coastline. The best way to appreciate this loop is to go clockwise starting with the Pomo Canyon Trail and loop back to Red Hill so that you can enjoy the views of the river and ocean all the way down. 

Park at Shell Beach parking lot. You will need to cross Highway 1 to get to the trailhead. Start the hike by climbing up the graveled fire road to the Pomo Canyon/Red Hill junction. Pretty soon, you will see a huge rock outcropping. Continue to ascend up the Pomo Canyon trail. There will be a short series of foot bridges, and you will enter sections of woodland and redwood. Most of this trail is shaded and colored with wildflowers in the spring. Instead of turning right at Red Hill trail, continue down the Pomo Canyon Trail which leads to a lush, redwood forest grove. At the very bottom is a grassy meadow with a picnic table. It is a nice time to take a break before heading back up the Pomo Canyon Trail to the Red Hill Trail. Bonus: There is a seasonal waterfall near the Pomo campground and would be fun to hunt down! Keep climbing up Red Hill Trail and turn left at the sign. This will take you to the top of Red Hill and another picnic table. From here, enjoy the scenery returning back to the parking lot.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Ocean views. Wildflowers. Redwoods.


No dogs. No potable water.

Trailhead Elevation

114.00 ft (34.75 m)

Highest point

1,063.00 ft (324.00 m)


Bird watching
Near lake or river

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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