Raptor Migration Hike at Poff Ranch 

Saturday Oct 6th, 10-3 PM

Pre-registration is required for this event.  Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to register.

What if it's raining?  We will continue in a light rain but cancel in the case of heavy rain or high winds.  If in doubt please call (707) 544-7284 (then press 1) after 8 AM on the day of the outing.  If there is no special message the event is on!


Join us for a fall birding hike at the spectacular Wright Hill (aka Poff Ranch) just south of Red Hill on the Sonoma Coast. This 1,235-acre ranch is owned and protected by your Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District. The property features breathtaking coastal views from Wright Hill (1,190 feet), extensive wildlife habitat and a colorful history. This property is slated to open as a public park and will include possible future trail connections to the Coastal Trail and it will remain as part of Sonoma County’s coastal “agriculture belt” – with continued grazing.

Overview of our hike:

Our route will cover a 7.5-mile loop over a combination of trails, ranch roads, and open grasslands.  The first leg of our hike will take us from Shell Beach up the Pomo Trail to Red Hill (1,000 feet of elevation gain over 2 miles).  We’ll take in the views at Red Hill before heading south to Wright Hill, and entering the Poff Property, stopping for lunch at the spot of our choosing.  The next stretch will be through grasslands.  We’ll stop for a brief tour of the historic house before heading down a gravel road to connect with the Kortum Trail for a short jaunt back to Shell Beach. 

We will be joined by veteran LandPaths’ volunteer & UC California Naturalist Dave Barry (a.k.a. “Duck Dave”) who will share his extensive bird knowledge with all of us as we traverse the grasslands. Bring your binoculars! 

To accommodate as many folks as possible, we will have a large group.  Our pace will be kept slow enough for us to stay together, allowing time to take in the scenery, point out landmarks, etc.  Due to the lack of established trails, early departures cannot be accommodated. 

Please note that the Poff Ranch Preserve is grazed by cattle and we may encounter some of them on our route.  Cattle hoof-prints will make footing uneven in some sections.

Where:  We will meet at Shell Beach Parking area on the Sonoma coast. Click here for Google Map.  From Santa Rosa and north, take River Road towards Guerneville and the coast. All other areas take Highway 1 towards Jenner. Near the town of Jenner where Highways 116 & 1 intersect, go south on Highway 1 towards Bodega Bay.  Go past the Goat Rock State Park entrance. The Shell Beach parking area is the next major parking area on the ocean side off Hwy 1.  If you come upon "Carlevaro Way" or "Wrights Beach" on your right you have gone too far south and have missed the Shell Beach parking area. Drive time from 101 in Santa Rosa is approximately 1 hour. 


Carpool option: Carpooling is highly encouraged due to the lengthy driving distance to the parking area. An unstaffed carpool to Shell Beach will be leaving the Open Space District Parking Lot (747 Mendocino Ave (parking lot is behind building, off of Carrillo, 1 block north of College) at 8:50 am sharp.  Parking at the District is free of charge.

When: We will meet at 10am on Saturday, Oct 6th.  Thanks for being prompt so we can start on time.  We will be back to the cars by about 3pm.


What to bring: Good boots or shoes, picnic lunch and/or snacks, water, rain gear if needed, weather appropriate clothing (think layers as the weather can change quickly on the coast). Suggested: something to sit on at lunch, binoculars, camera, walking stick for negotiating the terrain. 


Details, Details:

  • There is no charge for this outing
  • We will stay together as a group
  • Poff Ranch is not yet considered to be “open access”
  • You will be asked to sign a liability waiver prior to the hike
  • No pets or smoking are permitted
  • There are vault toilets at Shell Beach, but no other restrooms on our route
  • Please review the hike distance and elevation to make sure you are prepared

We look forward to hiking with you!

Your Friends at LandPaths and the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District



To register, Click here.



The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District protects land in Sonoma County and LandPaths connects you with that land.  This program is made possible though a partnership between the District and non-profit partner LandPaths.  It is sponsored by the voters of Sonoma County who funded the District's work with a quarter-cent sales tax, and is coordinated & guided by LandPaths.