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California’s Salt Point State Park

Delicate rock formations and tide pools at California’s Salt Point State Park are accessible by a 1.2-mile trail.

Via Staff
tide pool and rock formations at Salt Point State Park, California, picture
Photo credit
Photo: David H.Collier
Photo caption
Tide pools at Salt Point State Park.

They seem the work of elves or aliens—or perhaps some mad genius with a chisel. But the mysterious honey-combed rocks at California's Salt Point State Park are as natural as the surging kelp forests, rippling prairie, and silent redwood groves that grace this 5,727-acre oceanfront park 90 miles north of San Francisco. Formed when expanding salt-spray crystals weaken the soft sandstone, these delicate lattices can be accessed by the 1.2-mile Salt Point Trail, which connects the teeming tide pools of Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve to sandy Stump Beach. Quarried slabs along the way date to the mid-1800s, when boomtown San Francisco looked to Salt Point for beautiful building materials.

This article was first published in July/August 2017. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.