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Doran Regional Park

Doran Regional Park in Bodega Bay is situated on a broad, sandy 120-acre spit that forms the northern border of the bay and the southern border of Bodega Harbor. On summer weekends, inland residents flock here seeking the cooler temperatures typically found along this part of the coast. The park has a campground for both trailers and...
Doran Regional Park in Bodega Bay is situated on a broad, sandy 120-acre spit that forms the northern border of the bay and the southern border of Bodega Harbor. On summer weekends, inland residents flock here seeking the cooler temperatures typically found along this part of the coast. The park has a campground for both trailers and tents (the accessible campsites have electricity), a boat launch, picnic tables, and .4-mile hike through wetlands that connects to the Bird Walk coastal access trail for an additional one-mile loop.The calm waters off this two-mile-long stretch of beach are the best in Sonoma County for swimming, and a concrete ramp provides good access to the beach when using a beach wheelchair. A short boardwalk with platforms overlooking the beach is off the main day-use lot; be sure to stop at the marble sculpture "Whale Ballet," by Warren Arnold. From the picnic tables at the end of the park road you can watch people fishing from the rocky jetty at the spit’s end, or just enjoy the bay views and, on a clear day, perhaps spot Tomales Point in the distance.

Trail/Pathway Details

Doran Marsh Trail

Trailhead: Across from the first parking lot beyond the park's entrance on Doran Park Road

Length: Under one mile total

Typical Width: 4 ft. & above

Typical Grade: Level

Moderate uphill to reach Bird Walk after crossing the creek

Terrain: Firm

Large-sized gravel in places makes for a bumpy ride. Might be muddy in wet weather.

Description

Although Doran Marsh Trail can be hiked quickly—it's short, straight, and flat—I combined it with the adjoining Bird Walk and spent several hours meandering along the two trails, observing birdlife, taking photos, and trying to identify the plants—all despite a heavy mist that dampened my clothes. An incessant foghorn that might bother campers was to me a soothing accent to the ever-present birdsong. At one point my attention was held by a rustling in the grasses that I thought might be a jackrabbit; instead, I was treated to the sight of two fawns springing away in cartoon-like fashion.

The Doran Marsh Trail runs on a levee along Cheney Creek, then crosses the creek on an accessible bridge and climbs a gentle hill to its crest, where you can connect to the Bird Walk loop. Cheney Creek provides habitat for federally threatened Central Coast steelhead and is a critical nursery area for several fish species, including the three-spined stickleback and prickly sculpin. Coyote brush, coast morning glory, yarrow, and yellow lupine are the dominant plants. On my summertime visit, mustard and gum plant, both yellow, brightened up an otherwise gray day. Birds you might see include egrets, western grebes, and American avocets.

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Beach Wheelchair: Yes

Available from camp host at site 59. If camp host is not available, ask at entrance kiosk. At Cypress, day-use, and jetty lots. The dirt and gravel lot across from Doran Marsh Trail has no striping.

Accessible Restroom: Yes

At jetty and day-use parking lots. Campground has unisex stalls that are open to the public.
Tables on concrete pads with raised barbecue grills are at the jetty day-use parking lot.

Reviewed by Bonnie Lewkowicz, September 2, 2010

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Whale Ballet sculpture
Whale Ballet sculpture (Bonnie Lewkowicz)

Features icon key

  • Beach Wheelchairs Available
  • camping
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • particularly good for families
  • picnic
  • swimming
  • wildlife viewing

Additional Information

View Map  
Website: www.Sonoma-county.org/parks
Managing Agency: Sonoma County Regional Parks
Address: 201 Doran Beach Rd., Bodega Bay
Nearest City: Bodega Bay
Phone: (707) 565-2041, (707) 875-3540 (ranger station)
Reservations: (707) 565-2267
Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Fees: Entrance
Dogs: On leash
Rabies certificate required

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Accessible Wheelchair Icon looks like a wheelchair with balloon wheelsBeach Accessible
Wheelchairs Available
  Hiking icon is silhouette of a hikerHiking & Trails
Biking icon looks like person riding a bikeBicycling   Good for Familis icon is a child on a swing'Particularly Good for Families
Boating Icon is a boatBoating   Picnic Area Icon is a picnic tablePicnic
Camping icon is a tentCamping   Swimming Icon is a person swimmingSwimming
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