First Day Hikes at Mendocino Coast Area State Parks
California State Parks announces guided interpretive hikes at 5 state parks along the Mendocino County coastline on January 1, 2013. These hikes are part of a nationwide effort of special hikes on New Years Day in state parks in all 50 states. This will promote state parks and provide people an opportunity to participate in a healthy activity. All of these hikes will take place on California’s North Coast in wintertime. Be prepared for cool temperatures.
Westport-Union Landing State Beach
Meet the docent at 10:00 a.m. at the park headquarters building at park headquarters just south of the Howard Creek Bridge on Hwy 1. The park is located about 19 miles north of Fort Bragg, California on Hwy 1. This will be a 1 mile long moderate hike. This hike is for adults and children. Learn fun facts about the once bustling town of Westport from local resident Steve Brigham and Thad Van Bueren
Spring Ranch/Van Damme State Park
Meet Carolyne Cathey, Director of the Mendocino Area Parks Association, at the dirt parking lot at the west side of the intersection of Hwy 1 and Gordon Lane. The parking lot is about 2 miles north of Little River, California on Hwy 1. This 10:00 a.m. hike goes downhill through the Spring Ranch property to bluffs overlooking the ocean to look for migrating gray whales. Learn about the annual migration of gray whales between Alaska and Baja. After looking for whales, you will retrace your path uphill to the dirt parking lot. This hike is about 2 miles in length (1 mile each way). Bring binoculars, water and a snack. Wear layered clothing.
Mendocino Headlands State Park
Meet the docent at the Ford House Visitor Center at 11:00 a.m. The visitor center is at 735 E. Main St. in Mendocino, California. This will be a moderate 2 mile out and back hike
(1 mile each way) to the bluffs overlooking the ocean. The Park Host will tell the story of the early days of the Mendocino Village. This hike is suggested for children 3 years and older, and adults. You might spot gray whales on their southward migration. Where layered clothing. Rain will cancel this hike.
Meet the docent at 11:00 a.m. at The Ford House Visitor Center, 735 Main Street in the village of Mendocino
Russian Gulch State Park
Meet the docent in front of the recreation hall at the park at 12:00 noon. The park entrance road is located on the west side of Hwy 1, three miles north of Mendocino, California.
This will be a moderate 5.5 mile out and back hike (2.75 miles each way) to the beautiful waterfall at Russian Gulch State Park. You will learn about the park’s natural history from Dave Jensen, renowned birder and naturalist. This hike is suggested for children 11 years and older, and adults. Bring water and snacks with you.
Meet the docent in front to the recreation hall at the park at 12:00 noon.
MacKerricher State Park
Meet the docent at 1:00 p.m. at the Laguna Point parking lot, west on Mill Creek Road, three miles north of Fort Bragg, California, on Hwy 1. This will be an easy ¾ mile walk along a boardwalk. This short walk will be filled with fun facts about MacKerricher State Park as you walk to an overlook above the ocean. Park Naturalist Teresa Hurray will lead this walk. The walk is suggested for children 12 years and older, and adults. Rain will cancel this walk. Board walk is wheelchair accessible.