Mendocino County has long been known as a hiker's paradise, thanks to 90 miles of Pacific coastline, two dozen state and national parks, and 4,000 square miles of meandering streams and old-growth redwoods.
In time for National Trails Day on June 4, two new hiking routes have opened in the county. The first one — dubbed the Peter Douglas Coastal Trail in Shady Dell, Sinkyone Wilderness State Park — is 2.3 miles long and in the rugged and remote Lost Coast (the largest roadless coastal area in the continental U.S.) section of the King Range National Conservation Area.
This trail, which offers vistas of legendary surf breaks, is owned by the Save the Redwoods League and winds through an unusual stand of old redwoods whose branches curl like candelabras. See mendocinolandtrust.org.
The second route is 4.6 miles long and just a stone's throw from Fort Bragg. Known as the Coastal Trail in Noyo Headlands Park, it consists of a new, 8-foot wide paved trail that runs along restored coastal bluffs that provides access to a stretch of coastline that has been behind the fences of a former mill site for more than 100 years.
Part of the 1,200-mile California Coastal Trail, this route also provides access to the southernmost coves of the Glass Beach complex, which were previously accessible only by kayak or at very low tides. In addition, the path has new interpretive panels that tell the rich history of the area's old mill site and Fort Bragg's logging past. See fortbragg.com.
There's more: To help navigate the trails of this Northern California escape, the Mendocino Land Trust recently launched a new web-based app that helps visitors discover hidden beaches, explore new coastal trails and experience the county's best walkable terrain. The coastal trail guide app can be accessed online at trails.mendocinolandtrust.org.