Inglenook Fen & 10 Miles Dune


What? :

Ten Mile Beach is the long stretch of coastline dunes at Inglenook Fen Ten Mile Dunes Preserve. The long stretch of ocean beach is covered by vast dunes structure that is about 4 miles long and half a mile wide. The sand dunes can reach up to 100 feet tall. This is the most pristine stretch of coastal dunes in California.

The unmarked trail in the dune and along the ocean front and follow the Ten Mile River opening.


I do not see this location as a must visit for people that do not have the time to explore the coastline at their highway 1 road trip, but if you have 2 hours to spend this is a fun and different place to visit along your drive.

Additional nearby locations blogs:



Where? :

The park is located west of highway 1 north of MacKerricher State Park and west of the town of Inglenook, about 7 miles north of Fort Bragg.

The trailhead leading to the river front and dunes is located south of Ten Mile River Bridge on the ocean side of the road.

Drive slowly, look for "Coastal Access" sign and find a parking spot on the large roadside parking bay.

Google Map Link



When? :

The Dune Natural Preserve is open year-round.



Due note 1: Parking and visiting is free.


Due note 2: No dogs are allowed on the beach or to enter the sand dunes.


Due note 3: The dunes are not tall or steep but rather spread flat, where the highest point is near the road.


Due note 4: The Ten Mile Dunes are the largest sand dunes on the Northern California coastline.


Due note 5: The Mendocino sand dunes are part of the 1,300-acre Inglenook Fen, Ten Mile Dunes Natural Preserve that forms the northern section of MacKerricher State Park.


Due note 6: The Preserve contains Inglenook Fen, the only remaining coastal fen in California.


Due note 7: There are no established trails leading through the dune field although there was an old road that went through the dunes, it was removed and today send cover most of it.


Due note 8: As part of a restoration work for the Ten Mile Dunes area restoration remove 2.7 miles of crumbling haul road, remove two culverts, and introduce hand-pull non-native European beach grass.


Due note 9: There are only an estimated 2,100 adult breeding Western Snowy Plovers in the world. During winter months in the past few years 50 of these birds are spotted in Inglenook Fen-Ten Mile Dunes Preserve.



My thoughts:

I stop here and visit the dunes as part of my visit to the Mendocino section of highway 1 road trip. Initially I thought this will be a short visit, but I found myself walking south into the dunes and then west to the ocean front. From there I went north to the river and back to my car.

Overall, I spend here almost two hours.



The visit:

From the northern end of the roadside pullout, there is a small narrow trail leading down north to the river and dunes.

After very short narrow section near the bridge the trail open into the river to the right and the dune to the left.

Here you can hike south and west into the dunes or walk down to the river trail.


I decided to walk first south into the dunes.

There is no clear trail in the dunes, and you need to find your way. Do not walk over plants and try not to create any damage to vegetation.

After short hike south over the clear dunes I started to cross the dunes west in the direction of the ocean.

I arrived at the long open ocean beach; few miles of open beach, all the way to MacKerricher State Park.


It was nice clear day, and I was the only one hiking here (there was another car when I exit the preserve).

The ocean was relatively calm without waves, but it was windy.


I turned right and followed the beach north for a mile up to Ten Mile River mouth.

Here I follow the shore of the fen inland, in the direction of highway 1 bridge.

On my way I saw few turkeys’ vulture enjoying dead fish and two young seals resting and enjoying the warm sun.


After half a mile walk along the river I reach back to the old road path, here you can find a viewing platform overlooking the river.


From here it is a short hike back, turning right into the narrow trail leading to the road and to my car.


This is not a must visit location but for me it was a fun hiking stop, enjoying the solitude, the dunes, and the beach, in my northern California road trip.







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