Fort Ross is located on the Sonoma Coast 25 minutes north of Jenner on Highway 1. It has a rugged coastline, with a wreck of the S.S. Pomona, "Fort Ross" a historic coastal fort, miles of hiking trails and Fort Ross winery. The area is a great spot for history buffs, fishing, hiking, people who are looking to view wildlife and a winery for wine tasting. Sandy Beach Cove lies below the fort.
THINGS TO DO AT FORT ROSS:
Wildlife: Fort Ross is host to harbor seals, Steller Sea Lions, and California Sea Lions.
Fishing: When in season, visitors with valid fishing licenses can fish for rockfish from the shore and from kayaks.
Scuba Diving: Certified scuba divers can explore the wreck of the S.S. Pomona, a ship that sank more than 100 years ago and now sits in approximately forty feet of water just off Fort Ross Cove. Diving for Red Abalone is open at certain places of the park's coast when in season. California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulates the abalone and other fisheries within the park.
Hiking: Walk to the Fort Ross Cemetery, the Historic Orchid or walk across the San Andreas Fault.
You could add to your Fort Ross trip a visit to Timber Cove and stop at Fort Ross on your way back to Jenner. Timber Cove, is a few miles north of Fort Ross on the Sonoma Coast, there you will find Benny Bufano’s 93-foot piece of concrete, lead and mosaic Peace Totem on the grounds of Timber Cove Inn. Timber Cove is a beautiful, coastal village with dramatic ocean views. Fabulous abalone diving, hiking, nature walks, and tide pooling all along the Pacific Ocean.
The drive on HWY 1 from Jenner to Fort Ross can be very windy so drive slow and look out for cows crossing the road. Right out of Jenner just past River's End restaurant is a lookout on the left side of the road. You will see a long stretch of Goat Rock beach and Goat Rock. Just below you is the resident harbor seal population. It is the best vantage point along the coast to see them.
I would pack a picnic or take a short trip north of the fort to Timber Cove. There you have two choices for food. A roadside market with a deli or the Timber Cove Lodge's Alexander's restaurant. Call them to see the hours the restaurant is open.
Another option is to visit Fort Ross Winery after visiting the Fort for some world class wine. I would fill your tank up with gas in Jenner before heading out.
High on the coastal ridges, the Fort Ross Vineyard produces limited quantities of Estate grown, single vineyard, cool climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinotage. Fort Ross Vineyard strives to produce wine of purity and elegance that reﬂects the cool maritime climate and challenging terroir of the steep Sonoma Coast Ridges. Owners, Lester and Linda Schwartz. Winemaker, Jeff Pisoni. Address: 15725 Meyers Grade Road, Jenner, California 95450 • (707) 847-3460