Coastal Trail Guide

Mendocino Land Trust

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Northern Coastal Trails

Hike Our Trails

Mendocino Land Trust has pioneered the way in California for nongovernmental organizations to open and operate public access trail easements. The abundance of coastal access trails helps contribute to the local economy, providing healthy opportunities to get out and enjoy our beautiful coast to residents and visitors.

The California Coastal Trail is managed and maintained by a wide variety of Federal, State, County, City, and non-governmental organizations (non-profits) throughout California and on the Mendocino Coast.

  • No cell phone receptionThis location has no cellular reception. Please plan accordingly. We recommend that you download the PDF trail data sheet below to your device prior to your trip to this location.

    Hikers come from all over the world to experience Mendocino’s “Lost Coast,” so-named because the coastline is so rugged that only footpaths provide access.  However, the remote Lost Coast Trail in Sinkyone Wilderness State Park is highly eroded and falling away in places because of steep terrain, a dynamic environment, and lack of recent trail maintenance. The northern section of the Lost Coast Trail (between Shelter Cove and the Mattole River) is in better condition and is therefore more popular. But if you are looking to get off the beaten path, have an extreme adventure, and explore the coast between Usal and Needle Rock, the Sinkyone Lost Coast offers a rugged backpacking experience. 

     

    The Sinkyone Lost Coast trail is 19.4 miles in length and has over 5,600 feet of elevation gain and loss - so you will need to be prepared for this physically strenuous adventure. Trekking poles and sturdy boots are highly recommended, and you should allow at least two, preferably three consecutive days to complete the entire hike, staying overnight at the environmental campgrounds along the trail.  Arrange to be dropped off at one end of the trail and picked up at the other; the trailheads at the north (Needle Rock) and south (Usal) are remote and involve a lot of driving on poorly maintained dirt roads (4-wheel drive recommended), which are often closed in winter.  The trail can also be overgrown in the spring and summer, so come prepared to bushwhack and watch out for ticks. Winter use of this trail is not advised, as there are many steep sections and slip-outs that are extremely dangerous in slippery, wet conditions.  Since there are no facilities or cell service, all visitors must pack in/out their own food and be prepared to filter water from one of the numerous freshwater streams along the way.

     

    No dogs are allowed on the Lost Coast Trail in the Sinkyone Wilderness, as there are Roosevelt Elk and other wildlife that are protected by State Parks.  No mountain bikes are allowed on the trails in this park, but they are permitted on the dirt roads. 

    Check out the California State Parks brochure and map here.

    Lost Coast Trail trail map

    Click or tap to view the full-size map.

    Trail Latitude (X): 39.8348057

    Trail Longitude (Y): -123.8498252

    Mapping: View vicinity on Google Maps (see Trail Map above or Trail Data Sheet PDF under the Information tab for a more precise map)

    Trail Length: 17 miles

  • No cell phone receptionThis location has no cellular reception. Please plan accordingly. We recommend that you download the PDF trail data sheet below to your device prior to your trip to this location.

    This 2.3-mile trail includes expansive views of Mendocino’s remote and wild “Lost Coast,” deep redwood and Douglas fir forests, and old-growth trees sculpted into bizarre shapes by salty winds. There is magic and mystery present here. It is an all-day excursion to get to this trail from Fort Bragg or Mendocino. The Usal Road is narrow and rough. The best time to visit is during the dry season when the road is more accessible. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended. Please call the Mendocino County DOT before planning a trip to Usal: (707) 463-4363. It’s well worth the trip, though it’s a rugged adventure and hike.

    The Lost Coast Trail continues north of Usal for 53 miles, winding up and down through the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park in Mendocino County and along the beach in the BLM King Range National Conservation Area, ending at the Mattole River in Humboldt County.

    Peter Douglas Trail trail map

    Click or tap to view the full-size map.

    The Lost Coast Trail continues north of Usal for 53 miles, winding up and down through the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park in Mendocino County and along the beach in the BLM Kings Range National Conservation Area, ending at the Mattole River in Humboldt County

    Trail Latitude (X): 39.814

    Trail Longitude (Y): -123.839

    Mapping: View vicinity on Google Maps (see Trail Map above or Trail Data Sheet PDF under the Information tab for a more precise map)

    Highway One Mile Marker (north end): 90.91

    Highway One Mile Marker (south end): 90.6

    Trail Length: 2.3 miles

    This wild and beautiful section of the California Coastal Trail is dedicated to the memory of Peter Douglas (1942-2012), who was the Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission for more than 25 years.  He was a fierce guardian of California's 1,100-mile-long coastline, and he battled to preserve its natural beauty and public access to its beaches. He was the main author of California's landmark coastal protection law, the Coastal Act. It only seems fitting that this trail at Shady Dell be named for him, as a way of honoring his tireless dedication to conserving and protecting for future generations the beautiful California Coast. 


    Peter would be proud of the collaborative work that led to this trail being built in his name on this remote part of the California Coast.  It takes a village, and the California Coastal Conservancy, Coastal Commission, Save the Redwoods League, Mendocino Land Trust, California Conservation Corps, NCCC Americorps, Redwood Forest Foundation, Coastwalk, and many other organizations and individuals played a part in the creation of this trail. 

    It’s not unusual to see Roosevelt Elk and other wildlife near Usal Beach. Also at the north end of the Peter Douglas Trail is a “candelabra redwood forest,” featuring large old trees that the salt and wind have twisted into strange shapes and designs. There are over 300 handmade steps climbing a steep hill in this part of the CCT. Portions of the trail are on old logging roads, enabling friends and family to hike side-by-side if they wish. There is also a bridge across Shady Dell Creek that was built by local craftsman John Koski, with stringers and decking made from locally milled Fort Bragg redwood.

  • The Westport Headlands is a community gathering spot with a rich history of past uses. In the past, this spot was used as a ship landing, and a careful observer can find signs of that history. Today, the site features picnic areas, a stairway to the rocky cove beach below the headlands, and blackberries in late summer. The public can also enjoy ocean views, whale and bird watching, beachcombing, tidepools, fishing, kayaking, and a children’s natural play area at this location. This public access area is managed by the Westport Village Society (WVS), and has street parking as well as an ADA parking area and platform. For more information, please contact WVS at wvs@westportvillagesociety.org or visit their website at www.westportvillagesociety.org

    Westport Headlands Trail trail map

    Click or tap to view the full-size map.

    Trail Latitude (X): 39.6378

    Trail Longitude (Y): -123.7851

    Mapping: View vicinity on Google Maps (see Trail Map above or Trail Data Sheet PDF under the Information tab for a more precise map)

    Highway One Mile Marker (north end): 77.48

    Highway One Mile Marker (south end): 77.39

    Trail Length: 0.3 miles

  • Bruhel Point offers a beautiful “Vista Point” west of Highway One at milepost 74.09 that includes benches, interpretive panels, accessible parking, and an all-access trail. The trail has a concrete surface leading south from the parking lot and offers several benches for ocean viewing. A short (0.25 mile) descent to the bluff edge on a dirt path offers hikers great views of a tidal shelf, as well as ocean swells and another viewing bench. There are no restroom facilities, and there are numerous paths crossing the property and along the bluff edge.  This public access is managed by Caltrans.

    Bruhel Point trail map

    Click or tap to view the full-size map.

    Trail Latitude (X): 39.5985562

    Trail Longitude (Y): -123.7860396

    Mapping: View vicinity on Google Maps (see Trail Map above or Trail Data Sheet PDF under the Information tab for a more precise map)

    Highway One Mile Marker (north end): 74.08

    Trail Length: 0.5 miles

  • This 1.2-mile long segment of the California Coastal Trail is managed by the Mendocino Land Trust. The trail runs parallel to Highway One along its entire length, with a parking lot and path to an ocean-viewing platform near the trail’s north end.

    Newport Trail trail map

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    The Newport Trail map shows this trail’s location relative to Bruhel Point to the north, as well as Seaside Beach and Ten Mile State Natural Reserve in MacKerricher State Park to the south.

    Trail Latitude (X): 39.638

    Trail Longitude (Y): -123.7844

    Mapping: View vicinity on Google Maps (see Trail Map above or Trail Data Sheet PDF under the Information tab for a more precise map)

    Highway One Mile Marker (north end): 73.22

    Highway One Mile Marker (south end): 72.15

    Trail Length: 1.25 miles

    The trail’s name was changed in 2015 from the Kibesillah Coastal Trail to the Newport Coastal Trail, to match the land’s more accurate place name and that of the recently constructed Inn at Newport Ranch.

  • Beautiful, sandy, and very popular Seaside Beach is located ten miles north of Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast. It’s owned and managed by the Mendocino Land Trust. This expansive pocket beach is much loved by locals and visitors to the Mendocino Coast.

    Seaside Beach trail map

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    The Seaside Beach map shows the area’s public access amenities, including trails, parking, and the beach’s location relative to MacKerricher State Park to the south.

    Trail Latitude (X): 39.558

    Trail Longitude (Y): -123.765

    Mapping: View vicinity on Google Maps (see Trail Map above or Trail Data Sheet PDF under the Information tab for a more precise map)

    Highway One Mile Marker (north end): 70.7

    Highway One Mile Marker (south end): 70.5

    Trail Length: 0.5 miles

    The Coastal Land Trust, the former owner of Seaside Beach, completed a successful Japanese knotweed removal project in 2010, which removed about 0.3 acres of this invasive plant at the edge of the meadow, east of Seaside Beach. One of the photos shows the knotweed removal effort while it was underway. 

    Dogs are welcome at Seaside, but not allowed south of the Ten Mile River, which is at the south end of this beach. The endangered snowy plover lives and nests just south of the Ten Mile River. This is a small shorebird that is protected by Federal law. State Parks will ticket anyone with a dog in the Ten Mile Dunes Natural Reserve. Please respect these rules, and keep your dog north of the Ten Mile River at all times. The snowy plover’s survival in this area depends upon you!

  • The Mendocino Land Trust, Conservation Fund, State Coastal Conservancy, Nature Conservancy, and Smith/Perry family worked together to conserve this beautiful 49-acre property south of the Ten Mile River. This project is part of a larger, multi-year effort to permanently protect the 1,340-acre Smith Ranch, located east of Highway One and the Ten Mile Dunes.  The Mendocino Land Trust plans to open a public access trail on this property in 2019, so stay tuned!

    Old Smith Ranch Trail trail map

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  • MacKerricher State Park spans nine miles of coastline between Fort Bragg and the Ten Mile River.  Visitors can enjoy hiking, birding, marine mammal viewing, tidepooling, kayaking, and surfing.

    The MacKerricher Coastal Trail, located mostly on the old “Haul Road,” is one of the main features of this park.  This old road follows the coastline from Glass Beach to the Inglenook Fen-Ten Mile Dunes Natural Preserve. West of the main entrance to the park and near the town of Cleone is the Laguna Point Boardwalk trail.  This Laguna Point trail features interpretive panels that tell the story of Mendocino Coast’s marine life. The boardwalk also offers multiple benches with resting points overlooking the coast. At the west end of the boardwalk at low tide, you may be able to descend stairs to the tidepools.  You might even catch a glimpse of the colony of harbor seals that live here.

     

    On-leash dogs are welcome on the Haul Road, but to protect the endangered snowy plover, the Ten Mile Beach is entirely off-limits to dogs. Dogs should not be taken to the Laguna Point area, as harbor seals and dogs can share deadly diseases with each other

    There are campsites here for RVs, campers, and tents.  MacKerricher State Park is very popular during the summer, so you will want to visit ReserveCalifornia.com to reserve your spot.

    MacKerricher Coastal Trail trail map

    Click or tap to view the full-size map.

    Trail Latitude (X): 39.458

    Trail Longitude (Y): -123.808

    Mapping: View vicinity on Google Maps (see Trail Map above or Trail Data Sheet PDF under the Information tab for a more precise map)

    Highway One Mile Marker (north end): 64.8

    Highway One Mile Marker (south end): 62

    Trail Length: 4.75 miles

     

    Giant Green Anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica)

    MacKerricher State Park offers a great opportunity to experience Mendocino County’s colorful and abundant tidepools.  If you time your trip to this park with a low tide, you will want to watch your children very carefully and never turn your back on the ocean as you explore the tidepools. Tidepool rocks are very slippery, and you will need to wear close-toed shoes (rubber boots with gripping soles are best) and be prepared to get a little wet.  You may see some of the following tidepool creatures: California mussels, black turban snails, green anemones, hermit crabs, lined shore crabs, mossy chitons, ochre stars, sea urchins, red abalone, ribbed limpets, and sea palm. ​

    California Mussel (Mytilus californianus) and Goose-Neck Barnacle (Pollocipes polymerus)

    To some extent, tidepool inhabitants are resilient.  But although they survive hours of crashing waves and scorching sun and have defenses against predators, we need to treat them with the utmost care and respect.  Many are hemophiliacs that are unable to form blood clots. Ripping tidepool residents from rocks can kill them, as they will not be able to form a scab and are vulnerable.  Please treat these creatures with respect and take only photographs, being careful where you step so that you do not crush them.

    At MacKerricher’s south end, Glass Beach offers a different kind of tidepooling.  “Glass Beach” earned its name because it was the town garbage dump between 1949 and 1967.  Bottles, scrap metal, wood, old cars, and household trash were once dumped here.  Over time, wave action crushed the glass, ceramic, and metal into pebble-sized jewels. Glass Beach and its history are now protected by state parks, and beachcombing is not allowed here. Collecting glass and other relict treasures can lead to a ticket, so please take only pictures and leave only footsteps when you visit.

    Purple Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)

    Laguna Point in MacKerricher State Park is home to a harbor seal colony. These pinnipeds live in the park year-round.  Their pups are born every year in March and April. Pups weigh 30 pounds and can swim at birth. During the pupping season, State Parks installs a protective fence around the rookery area. This serves to shield harbor seals from human interaction and dogs. These seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, which prohibits hunting, killing, capture, or harassment of any marine mammal. Even well-meaning observers can have a negative impact on the colony, sometimes causing mother seals to abandon their pups.  Please view from a distance only.   Of note: mother seals will sometimes leave their pups on the beach while hunting for food, so if you see a pup alone on the beach, please realize that mom will return soon.

     
  • This is one of the newest segments of the California Coastal Trail in Mendocino County, located on the headlands west of the City of Fort Bragg. This stretch of coastline has been off-limits to the public and locked behind lumber mill gates for over a century. The wildlife viewing opportunities here are varied and superb, and the 5-mile long trail is easy and accessible to all kinds of people.
     

    The new trail has two Fort Bragg entry points - a northern entrance, with parking at the west end of Elm Street near Glass Beach, and a southern entrance, with parking at the west end of Cypress Street north of the Noyo bridge. The trail is multi-use, ADA-accessible, 8 feet wide, and has a paved surface.  It offers spectacular views, parking, restrooms, and unique benches made by local artists and woodworkers.
     

    There are many interpretive panels near the path that offer information on local natural and human history. Biking, rollerblading, hiking, and running opportunities are available on this trail.  Families and dogs on leash are welcome. An even longer hike is possible, as this trail connects to MacKerricher State Park to the north and Pomo Bluffs to the south.  

     

    This trail is owned and maintained by the City of Fort Bragg.

    Noyo Headlands Trail trail map

    Click or tap to view the full-size map.

    Trail Latitude (X): 39.4519

    Trail Longitude (Y): -123.8097

    Mapping: View vicinity on Google Maps (see Trail Map above or Trail Data Sheet PDF under the Information tab for a more precise map)

    Trail Length: 3 miles

  • Hare Creek Beach is a sweet pocket beach owned by Mendocino Land Trust and located just south of the City of Fort Bragg. The trailhead to this beach is located at the southeast end of Bay View Drive. You can also reach Hare Creek Beach by walking south from the Mendocino College parking lot (see map for details).

     

    Hare Creek Beach is an important resting spot for migratory birds. An informative interpretive panel located at the entrance to the beach explains why it’s essential to keep your dog on-leash at any beach serving this purpose for tired birds.

     

    Mendocino Land Trust owns and manages Hare Creek Beach and the 0.6-mile trail leading to it. There is a stairway on the south side of the beach that gets pounded by high winter tides and is currently in disrepair. Please note that this stairway is privately owned and not managed by Mendocino Land Trust.

     

    The trail is dedicated to the memory of Gordon McBride, a local botanist from Fort Bragg.  Mendocino Land Trust hosts monthly volunteer workdays to remove invasive plants, pick up trash, and steward this special place. For more information, please contact Mendocino Land Trust at 707-962-0470.

    Hare Creek Trail trail map

    Click or tap to view the full-size map.

    Trail Latitude (X): 39.419

    Trail Longitude (Y): -123.811

    Mapping: View vicinity on Google Maps (see Trail Map above or Trail Data Sheet PDF under the Information tab for a more precise map)

    Highway One Mile Marker (north end): 60

    Highway One Mile Marker (south end): 59.6

    Trail Length: 0.6 miles

  • This 0.7-mile long trail leads to Belinda Point and includes a stairway down to a rocky pocket beach. The trail is located within two public access easements on private property, which were required by the California Coastal Commission in the 1990s, because of the likelihood of “prescriptive rights” gained here through decades of public use. The point was named “Belinda Point” because, in 1948, the film “Johnny Belinda” was filmed here.

    This trail is perfect for families with small children. There is a boardwalk through a seasonally wet part of the trail, which then travels through a eucalyptus forest and out to the bluff edge. The stairway down to the pocket cove is sturdy and easy to find. This hiking trail is managed by the Mendocino Land Trust.   

    Belinda Point Trail trail map

    Click or tap to view the full-size map.

    Trail Latitude (X): 39.398

    Trail Longitude (Y): -123.813

    Mapping: View vicinity on Google Maps (see Trail Map above or Trail Data Sheet PDF under the Information tab for a more precise map)

    Highway One Mile Marker (north end): 59

    Highway One Mile Marker (south end): 58.5

    Trail Length: 0.7 miles