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Salt Point State Park

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Salt Point State Park

Located on the rugged California coastline about 90 miles north of San Francisco on State Highway One, and 8 miles north of Fort Ross State Historic Park. The shoreline of the 6,000-acre park features rocky promontories, such as Salt Point, that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. 
 


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Salt Point State Park
 

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There are two campgrounds and more than 20 miles of hiking trails in the park. For more information visit the California State Park Salt Point site.

The inland portion of the park features both grassland and forest areas. As the terrain rises northeast of Highway One, coastal brush and grasslands blend into lush growths of bishop pine, Douglas fir, madrone, tanoak, groves of second growth redwood and quiet meadow areas. At the top of the coastal ridge, at about 1,000 elevation, there is a large open prairie and pygmy forests.

The park encompasses one of the first underwater parks in California. Fishing is permitted throughout the area with the exception of Gerstle Cove Marine Reserve, where the marine life is completely protected. 

Salt Point History

In 1853, Samuel Duncan and Joshua Hendy established a sawmill on the ridge behind Salt Point. Two years later, they signed a lease authorizing a San Francisco company to quarry sandstone here which was used to construct San Francisco’s streets and buildings, as well as the naval facility at Mare Island. Quarried rocks with visible drill holes can still be seen along the marine terrace north of Gerstle Cove. In 1870 Duncan sold his property to San Francisco businessmen Frederick Funcke and Lewis Gerstle. The Funcke & Co. ranch shipped about 5,000 cords of wood annually, and used the surrounding land for cattle grazing. Their period of ownership, 1870-1881, was the most active in Salt Point's history. A small village known as Louisville developed around Salt Point's shipping facilities at Gerstle Cove. The Salt Point Hotel was built in 1870. The hotel had fifteen rooms and a large hall; it collapsed in 1923. The citizens of Salt Point Township organized parties and holiday celebrations that brought in guests from the ridge and coast.

Salt Point Natural History

Salt Point is named for the cliffs and crevices of the rocky shoreline where salt from ocean water crystallizes in sandstone depressions. The Native Kashaya Pomo gathered salt here for centuries. One of the most unusual and beautiful features of the sandstone along these sea cliffs is the honeycomb-like network called tafoni.
 

 

The waves and salt spray leave salt crystals which interact with the sandstone, causing some portions to be hardened, while others are loosened. This creates the lacy, box-like pattern. The rocks that rise above the terrace level in the background are ancient sea stacks, similar to the resistant rocks off the coast today that take the initial impact of the waves before they reach the sea cliff.

Camping at Salt Point

  • Salt Point’s Woodside Campground will have 36 camping sites open in April.

  • After May 24, 78 sites will be available.

  • Salt Point’s Gerstle Cove campground is open.

  • The Hike and Bike campground is open.

  • The walk-in campground at Salt Point remains closed.

  • For camping reservations, see Reserve America.

Day Use at and around Salt Point

  • Woodside Day Use is open
  • Gerstle Day Use is open
  • Stump Beach and Fisk Mill: parking lot and bathrooms closed.
  • Kruse Rhododendrun – open, but bathrooms closed

 

 


Fort Ross Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) and California State Park cooperating association, connects people to the history and beauty of Fort Ross and Salt Point State Parks. 

Copyright Fort Ross Conservancy, 19005 Coast Highway One, Jenner, CA 95450 707-847-3437