Mary West: Enjoying sweet trails on the coast
In an attempt to escape the smoke and heat of this past summer, I drove over to Highway 1 to walk the trails that lead to the ocean. I started at Belinda Point in Fort Bragg. A Mendocino County park, a short walk from the road-side through Eucalyptus, Cypress and Coastal Redwoods. The partial boardwalk leads to a small cove and beach.
The Mendocino Bay Viewpoint is a county overlook where you can watch the surfers and the seagulls drift by. The dramatic overlook also takes in the the town of Mendocino and the many inns that share the ocean view.
Continuing south I stopped at Gualala County Beach. A nice fourth of a mile stroll with some local history, and a wide open beach with blue sky and whales! I am told the wales migrate in spring and return in fall to shed barnacles on the sand bars.
One more stop was Stump Beach. Just off Highway 1, this walk leads to a small rocky beach and shallow inlet that can be smelly, but to the south of the beach across the green muck, head up the hill to a meandering trail along the cliffs. Fantastic views of the coast line with epic waves splashing against the rocky shore are found at Stump Beach in the Salt Creek State Park.
Heading back down Highway 1 north of Jenner, the blackened ground reminded me of our foothills. A fire had swept through hundreds of acres along the coast recently. I appreciated the blue sky but I’m always happy to be home. Consider a trip to the coast and its many trails.
Mary West is author of the book series Day Hiker – Gold Country Trail Guide. The books are a collection of the Day Hiker columns where West shares her longtime love of the outdoors, and favorite hikes in Northern California’s Gold Country and beyond. West was the recipient of the 2017 and 2019 CRAFT Award for Best Outdoor Column and the 2020 Craft Award for Day Hiker-Gold Country Trail Guide II by the Outdoor Writers of California. You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram.
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