It is not surprising that Bowling Ball Beach has inspired wild speculations among the Mendocino visitors who have come to see the concretions. The concretions certainly appear to have been placed on the beach with some purpose or strategy. Some have hypothesized that they are remnants of a supernatural event from long ago, while others have insisted that they must be dinosaur eggs preserved over the ages. Of course, ordinary geology is the true explanation for the concretions.
A visit to Bowling Ball Beach is an excellent family outing – in addition to being downright “cool” and large enough to function as a natural jungle gym, the concretions are the perfect subject for an impromptu science inquiry with children. It’s likely you’ll observe some incredible marine lifeforms as well. While your dog is invited to join the family for the excursion, Bowling Ball Beach is strictly on-leash only.
Though just about anyone is certain to be captivated by the geological formations on Bowling Ball Beach, the trek to get to them is a bit more challenging than your typical beach. That said, if you’re comfortable taking a short, easy hike and climbing down a flight of beach stairs/ladder (at your own risk), it’s an absolutely worthwhile excursion! Call the Schooner Gulch State Beach Parks and Rec line – (707) 937-5804 – if you want to check up on the current trail conditions.
Pack a backpack with a few snacks and water, strap on a pair of good hiking shoes, grab your camera, dress in layers for the unpredictable beach temperatures, and aim to arrive in time for a low-tide view of the strange rows of spherical stones lining Bowling Ball Beach. If you’re feeling especially motivated, plan to make a whole day of it and take advantage of the fishing, surfing, and picnicking opportunities at Schooner Gulch State Beach, just a tad further south on Highway 1, along the Mendocino coast.
The entrance to the trail leading to Bowling Ball Beach is on Highway 1, about 3 miles south of the city of Point Arena, at Schooner Gulch Road. The state beach offers southbound roadside parking, marked by a sign that will read “Park facing South only.” Once parked, follow the Northern trail by foot and you’re just a short hike away from the mysterious alleys of geological “bowling balls!”