The Natural Environment of Sonoma Coast

The bluff on which the fort stands is a young coastal marine terrace. Below are rugged sandstone and conglomerate rocks and cliffs, a sandy beach and offshore islets. Two small harbors give entrance. Behind the fort, a backdrop of grassy hills rises quickly as a steep wooded slope, covered first with Bishop pines, broad-leafed trees and shrubs, then with giant evergreens and tan bark oak trees. The first ridge of the Coast Range, also a marine terrace, reaches a height of 1,600 feet and parallels the sea. The park contains about 3,200 acres of spectacular wildlands.


Marine Mammals at Fort Ross
Learn which marine mammal populations thrive at Fort Ross, and which species are now absent. Consider joining our Marine Mammal Monitoring program to better track the ocean’s health. Today, Fort Ross is home to numerous marine mammal populations. While harbor seals are present along much of the Sonoma coast, Fort Ross’ Sea Lion Rocks, and both Bodega Rock and Ano Nuevo to our south host the most southerly and fragile extension of the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) population in the Eastern Pacific. To better assess their health along our coast, Fort Ross Conservancy has created a marine mammal monitoring program. more…

Learn about Fort Ross Conservancy’s Marine Ecology Program

Register to attend our Marine Ecology Program