Hiking Bodega Head

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

The exploring continues! Yesterday, my husband and I drove out to Bodega Head, a peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean about 30 minutes west of Petaluma. The headlands are a beautiful place to hike around for the afternoon, and even do some whale watching. The hike around the outside loop of Bodega Head is about 2 miles, with an additional mile hike to the north. Of course, if you want to do some serious hiking, you can just keep going along the Sonoma Coast!

Our hike yesterday was lovely. The weather was perfect. 60s and sunny. There was a bit of wind for part of the hike, but overall it was quite nice.

Our first stop was the whale watching point, where local “whale watch” volunteers were waiting to answer any questions and help with whale spotting. We saw a few spouts of water blowing up out of the surface, but did not see any tails. Still, it was an exciting experience.

As we continued around Bodega Head, we saw beautiful cliffs, listened to seals and birds in the distance, and saw the “Hole in the Head” dug by PG&E in the 1960s. They had planned to build a nuclear plant on Bodega Head, so they dug a huge hole that would eventually house a nuclear reactor. However, the location of the hole is essentially right on top of the San Andreas fault line, so continuing the project would have been a horrible idea. The hole eventually filled up with rainwater and now serves as a freshwater pond for local wildlife.

Almost at the end of our hike, we had wandered off the beaten path and onto a sparsely used trail. We were still close to the road and the main trail, with the ocean in the background, and what did we see? A family of deer! We must have seen each other at the exact same moment, because right as I jumped up and said “Oh!” (to which Jake immediately thought I had seen something scary, like a snake!), all four deer turned their heads toward us with their ears straight up in the air. All six of us stood perfectly still for at least 30 seconds before any of us moved. As if I thought it would help, I started talking to the deer like I talk to my kids (our greyhounds) when I want them to be calm. Somehow, it worked, and though they wouldn’t let us get close, they did not run away. Eventually, we moved around them, even further off the barely there trail, and they continued grazing nearby. It was beautiful.

Bodega Head is definitely worth visiting. We only hiked about 3 miles, but it you can easily make it longer or shorter depending on where you want to go. Who knows where we’ll venture off to next time!

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