Gualala Bluff Trail
Completed in 2013, the Gualala Bluff Trail provides spectacular estuary and ocean vistas for a half-mile stretch paralleling the bluff edge as it winds west of the Gualala commercial district.
Winding along the bluff, the trail, several bridges and overlooks allow opportunities to experience Gualala River Estuary wildlife "up close and personal."
Along with seals and sea lions that frequently haul out near the mouth of the river, pelicans and river otters are visitors as well as whales beyond the point and most recently, bald eagles. It is a major scenery location for photographers of all abilities.
The trail runs north/south behind the SeaCliff Commercial Center at the top to the Shoreline Restaurant at the south, where a link to the Gualala River Bridge is possible in the near future. Formal access for pedestrians is marked at monument signs posted at the Shoreline Restaurant and the Surf Motel at Hwy 1 mile markers .6 and .7 just north of the bridge.
The beautiful trail meanders behind the Breakers Inn, Surf Market, Surf Motel and shops and eateries of downtown Gualala, offering a pleasant stroll away from traffic. Two cautions: there is no trailhead parking and there is no access to the river from the bluff edge - those wishing to cross the river to the sandy point must enter at Gualala Regional Park just south of the Gualala River Bridge. Public parking in downtown Gualala provides easy walk-in access to the Bluff Trail.
The Gualala Bluff Trail was the original inspiration for the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy. An early planning organization for the Mendocino County coastal town of Gualala, the Gualala Area Coalition (now Gualala Municipal Advisory Council), was concerned about the pending expiration of certain downtown "Offers to Dedicate," OTDs, that are easements across property identified in the coastal development process. OTDs had been established by the California Coastal Commission as a way to provide public access to significant coastal features and views.
A determination was made to capture this valuable preservation opportunity by having a non-profit land trust accept and implement these offers. With this in mind, a small group of dedicated local citizens banded together to incorporate RCLC in 1992. RCLC became the FIRST such organization in California to accept an OTD. Now there are four distinct easements that comprise the trail and provide contiguous additional segments to the California Coastal Trail in this area.
The Gualala Bluff Trail is a perpetual gift for Gualala area residents and visitors. It was made possible by the generous financial support of the California State Coastal Conservancy and the citizens of California who have voted for State Parks and conservation propositions. Trail construction and improvements can be credited to a large group of volunteers who spent much time and manual labor alongside engineers and contractors. These volunteers help to maintain and monitor the trail to this day.
Learn more about the life of this project by viewing the
Gualala Bluff Trail Timeline.
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy
P.O. Box 1511
Gualala, CA 95445
Phone: (707) 884-4426