[Note: A more recent trip to the Sonoma Coast with more photography here]
Salt Point State Park is located about 2 hours north of the Golden Gate Bridge on the sparsely populated Sonoma Coast. The park features a rugged coastline and woodlands with an interesting mixture of redwoods, bishop pine, Douglas fir, oaks, and hardwoods . In addition, there is an expansive prairie and a pygmy forest. On the way to Salt Point is the 17-mile-long Sonoma Coast State Park which features a craggy coastline, secluded coves, sandy beaches, and natural arches. I stopped numerous times to photograph the amazing scenery on both the drive in and the drive back, especially the area around Shell Beach, Goat Rock, and the outlet of the Russian River near the town of Jenner.
At Salt Point, I started at Stump Beach Cove and toured the Salt Point Headlands, Gerstle Cove, and South Gerstle Point. I then went up into the forested hills, stopping at a lovely small waterfall with redwoods. The stands of Bishop Pines in this area reminded me of the Lost Pines region in Eastern Texas I visited in November. I continued on up to the Pygmy forest with mature Bishop Pines and Pygmy Cypress reaching only 6-8 feet tall. At the top of the hill is a pleasant natural prairie area. I returned to Stump Beach Cove via the Stump Beach Trail, which is a nice single track descent. I also did a 2 mile loop through Kruse Rhodedendron Preserve, which is a lush environment of second growth redwoods with an understory of rhododendrons. I will have to return in the spring to see the Rhododendrons in bloom.
Many more photos after the jump!