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.
Starts off partially paved for bikes, felt like a fairy land with all the lush greenery, little blue flowers, and babbling brook. We did the waterfall loop up the hill and back down, but I heard the North Trail is a terrific flat portion once you get up to the ridge.
Amazing hike - easy to find, good parking and trail head easy to identify. Trail gets better and better as you go further and further. Starts off flat but eventually you go up and down a few times. Trail was in good condition however not always well marked Waterfall is really impressive.
Beautiful anytime of year! Waterfall is amazing after all the recent rain. There is a fair amount of incline and decline. Take the 2.2 loop logging road trail for the easiest hike or add a 4 mile loop to make it adventurous. Great for family hike. Great for romantic beauty.
It was an amazing, yet tiring hike! I kept track of the miles... I got 10 in total! Keep in mind I did do the extended 2.8 mile route instead of the 0.7 mile one. I would recommend this hike for anybody around the area. Make sure you start early in the morning. I started around 9:30/10:00 and ended maybe close to 4:00ish? Take some water and a few snacks to munch on a couple of breaks. I didn't take any and learned the hard way. I did stop to take pictures and videos.. and, kinda, sort of, maybe, somewhat got lost haha that was my fault though. Once you feel like you're "making" your own trail, STOP, TURN AROUND, & HEAD BACK!