Local lore has it that Schooner Gulch got its name back in the era of sailing ships when a mysterious schooner ran aground there at dusk one evening, only to have vanished without a trace by the following morning. Today, Schooner Gulch State Beach offers its visitors not only great fun and exciting activities, but also some of the most magnificent views anywhere. Spend the day here hiking, picnicking, fishing, sunbathing, surfing or windsurfing.
Just north of Schooner Gulch you’ll find Bowling Ball Beach, named after the numerous prehistoric spherical boulders that cover the beach and are visible only at low tide. Such formations grow in underwater environments when materials collect around a nucleus, and are shaped by water action as it moves them around.
south of Point Arena at mile marker 11.41 (Schooner Gulch) offers the closest parking area, look for a sign that says, “Park Facing South Only.” There are two trailheads, about 100 feet apart. The southern trailhead takes you through a dense forest for a short quarter-mile hike to Schooner Gulch Beach. The northern trail goes to Bowling Ball Beach. Be sure to check the tides schedule before trekking there. (google map)