THIS IS AN IMPORTANT INTERSECTION. Red Hill Trail, Pomo Canyon and Shell Beach trails. The Park map looks as though the Pomo Canyon Trail will loop back toward the coast. If that is your desire, take the Shell Beach Route and keep your elevation. We followed Pomo Canyon down into Willow Creek. The route down will take you to the valley floor and campgrounds. The route gets steep in places. To get back you will be coming back up. This is a great opportunity to get in shape.
There is an alternate route out to coming back up- by taking the very long way out. Willow Creek has a road that passes the campground out to the Russian River. Take the road out to the HWY 1 Bridge and then back to the trail head via HWY 1.
That being said, the walk down is gorgeous!
The Pomo trail will start a series of switchbacks into older Fir and Bay forest. The forest floor is packed with beautiful fern ground cover. There are downed trees over the trail forming picturesque arches in places. It’s a wonderful forest.