The Mendocino Coast and the California Coast Mountain Range’s natural wonders inspire.
The craggy coastline, redwood trees blanketing the mountains (some of which are among the tallest on the planet), impossibly blue waters front rock strewn beaches. There are the geologic mysteries like the ecological staircase, or the pygmy forest.
Whatever style of green space you crave, Mendocino Coast is sure to leave travelers wanting for more.
Hundreds of hidden coves dot the coastline, but none more illusive and interesting than the Lost Coast. Should spend a weekend hiking these wild lands, where bears wander on the sand and no development has affected the natural landscape.
Closer to Mendocino, check out Van Damme State Park. At first glance, merely a pleasant beach in a sheltered cove, with cold water, favored by brave kayakers. Cross the highway, and hike to the “pygmy forest.” a collection of miniature conifers (cypress and pine trees) complete with miniature cones.
Trek to a waterfall in Russian Gulch State Park.
Climb the 2.5-mile staircase to a pygmy forest that displays the ecological succession and landscape evolution at Jug Handle State Ecological Preserve.
Near Point Arena, explore the hiking trails to two-miles of beaches at Stornetta Public Lands. Another unusual beach hike is the striking Bowling Ball Beach. Hike the half-mile trail to the beach during low tide to spot huge boulders that look like bowling balls—hence the name.
In addition to those listed above, there are a few Mendocino County beaches worth adding to your lists of must sees. In Fort Bragg, the nine-mile MacKerricher State Park is a haven for beachcombers, bird-watchers and joggers. Also in Fort Bragg the magical Glass Beach is an entire beach covered in sea glass.
The redwoods meet the sea in Navarro River State Park, an excellent place to camp under these giant trees. The campground is located at the mouth of the Navarro River on the Pacific Ocean.
In Elk, Greenwood State Beach offers views of the fog hanging over the sea caves, seaweed hunters, fly fishermen, and the huge boulders and cliffs protecting this picturesque spot.
Surfers sojourn to one of the best surf spots in NorCal, the Cove at Point Arena Pier. Sunseekers: Fish Rock Beach, just past the hamlet of Anchor Bay, offers gentle surf, dependable sun and tide pools.
To the south, the Gualala Point Regional Park features meadows, forest, river and beach trails, and even a campground. Though the sea appears inviting, it is dangerous for swimming.
These trees grow only in Northern California. And Mendocino County has some of the tallest. Worthy places to get up close with these giants include Hendy Woods State Park and Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve.
If you have limited mobility, or prefer a more casual introduction to the redwoods, opt to ride on the Skunk Train from Fort Bragg into the mountains.