The Mendocino Coast is a land of extraordinary beauty. Take a romantic two-day, 14.1 mile hike, and explore the lush forests of the coastal range and the headlands on the edge of the rugged, wild Pacific. Along the way, you’ll visit interesting coastal villages, stay in charming inns, and enjoy sumptuous cuisine.
Our hike starts in Albion and heads north, ending in the town of Mendocino. The Albion River Inn is one of our favorite places to stay on the California Coast. It perches on cliffs overlooking a narrow bay, the mouth of Albion River, and the vast Pacific stretching to the horizon. Their restaurant is fantastic. They will serve you a delicious complimentary breakfast before you strike out.
The first day’s hike is an 8.3 mile ramble to Little River. There is no trail along the coast for this section, so our route takes a quiet country road and ascends to the first coastal ridge. Here we enter an eerie and rare Mendocino pygmy forest with hundred year old cypress standing only two feet tall and five foot high full-grown redwoods. The terrain and foliage quickly changes as we descend into the lush redwood forests of Van Damme State Park. Hike back to the coast on the trail along Little River as it meanders through the woods. You’ll reach the town of Little River where there are several inns and B&Bs.
Day 2 (5.8 miles) hikes along one of the most spectacularly beautiful coastlines in California – steep cliffs dropping to the sea, offshore outcroppings relentlessly pounded by the powerful Pacific, a verdant coastal terrace, and mountains dense with Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, and redwoods. Keep an eye out for harbor seals, pods of dolphins, and migrating whales.
Stroll into Mendocino by walking the bridge over Big River. You may want to stay a few days to enjoy the many pleasures that Mendocino has to offer – fine dining, taverns, inns, and beautiful hikes along the headlands – and to savor the memory of an adventure on the Mendocino Coast, hiking inn-to-inn.
The Mendocino Coast Walkabout is one of a dozen inn-to-inn hikes found in “Walkabout Northern California: Hiking Inn to Inn.” It can also be purchased as an individual guide.
But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud”
- Wallace Stevens