Due note 1:
When writing this blog (March 2021), looks like Fern Canyon trail is closed for
renovation until further notice.The
closure is from the Russian Gulch Fern Canyon trailhead in Russian Gulch State
Park to the junction of the Falls Loop Trail.
Due note 2: This
is one of the most popular parks in Mendocino area, when we tried to enter long
summer weekend at around noon the park was close for cars, after few hours we
came back and manage to get inside.
Due note 3: The
fee is $8 per car and the pass allows you to get into any other state parks you
visit that day.
My thoughts: We
visit this park on Labor Day weekend, it was full. We did not manage to get
inside the park during noon time, so we went to hike at the nearby Point
Cabrillo Light Station. We came back at the afternoon and had only a short
visit to the beach below the bridge without any hike.
Must come again
for Fern Canyon Loop and waterfall and the Sinking Whole near the ocean.
Just two miles
north of Mendocino you can find the Russian Gulch State Park entrance on your
left (going north).
The park has
sections both on west of hwy 1 (coastline section) and on the east side (Fern
Just two miles
north of Mendocino combines a three-mile leafy canyon with windswept headlands
and pristine beaches along the park’s rocky coastline. Inland, a 36-foot
waterfall plunges down into a bower of redwoods, mosses, and ferns. Along the
coast, waves crash into a collapsed sea cave called Devil’s Punchbowl, and the
photogenic Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge rises gracefully 100 feet from the
bottom of the gulch.
The park has 3
“sections”: the coastal headlands, the sandy beach below the bridge and the
forest covered Fern Canyon to the east.
The coastal rugged
headlands fingering out into the Pacific for mile and a half of ocean frontage.
On the north side of the riverbank you can find the Devil’s Punch Bowl. This is
one of the best blowholes on the Mendocino Coast. A tunnel leading into the
cliff rock has been formed by the waves and at its end there is 100 feet across
and 60 feet deep hole in the ground. At high wave the water is being pushed
into the lower tunnel and blow up at the open hole.
Fern Canyon hike:
From the end of
the inner road you can hike inland through Fern Canyon to the 36-foot high
waterfall that’s cascades down during the winter and spring months.
canyon is covered in different species of ferns, and towering redwood trees
alongside the creek. This hike one of the Mendocino Coast’s most popular hiking
You can add to
the canyon walk and waterfall loop a hike at the ridge above the canyon, this
will be total of 6.3 miles hike.
Russian Gulch Beach:
Located at the
lower section of the park, there is a small parking lot just in front of the
beach. The sandy beach protected inner bay with the calm water is perfectly for
kids, situated below Highway One Russian Gulch Bridge arch based concrete structure.
The bridge considered
to be the most beautiful of California's concrete arch bridges and it is the
frequent subject of photographs.