On the Mendocino coast, the air smells of salt, and the crashing waves create a continuous resonance. The tall bluffs at this spot north of San Francisco resemble the rugged shores of the east coast, but with an unmistakable California flair. Two miles north of Mendocino, Russian Gulch State Park’s collapsed sea cave cuts 200 feet into the heavily forested Russian Gulch Creek Canyon, a headland that features the Devil's Punch Bowl (a large, collapsed sea cave with churning water), and a beach that offers swimming, tide pool exploring, skin diving and rock fishing. Inland, there is a 36-foot high waterfall. Hikers enjoy miles of hiking trails. The park also has a paved three-mile bicycle trail. Devil’s Punchbowl formed when pounding waves forged an inland tunnel and left a hole 100 feet across and 60 feet deep. At high tide, boiling waves crash around the cave’s interior, producing a reverberant echo. The photogenic Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge rises gracefully 100 feet from the bottom of the gulch. The park has nearly a mile and a half of ocean frontage; its craggy beauty rivals any point along California’s coast. In the spring, the park’s foggy headlands bloom with acres of wildflowers. The climate here is temperate year-round. Winter rains and cool summer fogs that usually burn off by mid-morning provide the moisture necessary for the thriving coastal redwoods. Prepare for changeable weather by dressing in light layers.

hiking
9 days ago

Gorgeous hike. Trail is narrow at times and there are some old fallen trees to get around. There weren't very many people for a weekend in Oct.

hiking
17 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

came from out of state to see the red woods. this was definately the way to go. beautiful scenery.

hiking
24 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

Very nice hike. The falls are beautiful, even in September. The first part of the trail is an old logging road, so it is still somewhat paved, but the rest is dirt. Much of the route follows the creek, so it is very lush with plenty of ferns and flowers. We hiked on a weekday and saw about 20 people total, so not a busy trail. Most people seem to take the most direct out and back route to the falls. We did a loop to add additional distance and hardly saw anyone on the secondary trails. Our favorite part of the hike was along the north trail - you have some elevation gain, but it's not difficult, and then once you are up on the hill, it is a very easy and relaxing hike through the forest.

No bugs. Well maintained trails. Lovely forest.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago