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Rodeo Beach

The fleeting colors of the sunset are another story: though varied, their multihued tones return nightly.

Often incorrectly called Cronkhite (the name of the entire park area), this halfmile stretch of sand and chert is one of the fastest-to-get-to Pacific sunset options for most in the county. The pocket beach is also unique in that it contains chert. But what is chert, you ask, and what is a pocket beach? Chert is a fine-grained, silica-rich microcrystalline sedimentary rock. A pocket beach is an area where the sand created there stays there; because of the geographic position, it doesn’t migrate up or down the coast. The trapped sand is created when pebbles chipped off the surrounding cliffs are carried offshore a bit and then return, in an ongoing kind of washing machine-like action. This continual breakdown of chert, basalt and sandstone is what creates the rainbow sands of Rodeo Beach, which are unlike any others found on any other beach in the state. But as tempting is it might be to collect these multicolored minerals, park rangers urge you to resist, as they’d take thousands of years to be replaced.

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