Bowling Ball Beach

The Lore

Bowling Ball BeachImagine a beach with spherical boulders lying in long flat lanes, as if they were in some Prehistoric Bowling Alley. A beach that is invisible except at Low Tide. Sounds folly, yet such a beach exists! Bowling Ball Beach! Elusive and Hidden. Not even marked on the highway! In fact, if you do not know where it is, you would probably not find it, even if you had an idea of where it might be. The sandy beach above the boulders is all that is visible except at low tide. At very low, minus, tides, you will be absolutely amazed! If you happen to catch a minus tide at Sunset, with a bit of cloud cover, yet with the Sun not obscurred, you might see the boulders glowing in the orange glow. That glow, is the Quest I am still on.

Facts and Location

Bowling Ball SunsetBowling Ball Beach is one of those hidden treasures that the locals want to preserve for their own. Yet, it is one of those phenomenal places that is awe-inspiring and anyone that spends the time researching should be able to go there. Similar to the Kayakers that paddle the Estero Americano, the beach should be able to be accessed by the public. Traveling North on Hwy. 1 from Jenner by the Sea, past Gualala and past Anchor Bay, just 3.5 South of Point Arena, at Schooner Gulch, is where to look. There is a rather small pull-out on the Western side of the highway. There are no real signs. There is a trail on the South side leading to Schooner Gulch Beach. This beach is also very beautiful and has a nice creek draining out to the sea. There is an un-marked trail at the North end of the pull-out. Walk along this trail over the bluff and look North. If the tide is in, all you will see is a real nice sandy beach. At low tide, you will see, in the distance, many boulders in the water. That's it! Bowling Ball Beach! At very low, minus, tides you will be amazed at the "Bowling Balls". The image to the left was shot just after a December 2008 storm, at the extreme minus 1.8 tide, near Sunset. The only thing missing are the lanes which are covered in sand, here. When the storms have not churned up the sand, you will actually see flat lanes that look like bowling alley lanes.

Research and Gearing-Up

Bowling Ball Beach is a great place to just sit down and lie in the sand. It is relatively unknown and chances are you may even be alone there. One important note that I discovered on my first venture there is that this beach has a very dramatic angle to the sea. I had my sling-bag for my gear and my back went out because of the strange walking angle. You will have to hike about three-quarters of a mile to the actual spherical boulders.

Here's some of the equipment I carry:


The Prize

The Prize is a shot similar to the ones you see on this page. I have made many journeys to this phenomenal beach and have yet to capture the boulders, with the lanes visible and glowing orange at Sunset. This is still my quest. The best times to catch the boulders at Sunset is during the low tides of November, December and January, weather permitting, of course. I went out one Winter and it was actually raining. I did manage a very cool shot of the "Diamonds" on the blades of grass growing on the bluff.