Hiking in the mountains is no ordinary activity. It involves its own set of unique flora and fauna, memorable scenery, and fascinating history. There’s always something awe-inspiring about hiking. Mysterious rainforests, sweeping ocean views, and endless green mountains. Hiking is definitely one of my personal favorite activities! Check out The Best Hikes in Mendocino California on the blog below.
And if you’re planning a trip to Mendocino check out my Best Mendocino Hotels Guide here and Mendocino Dining Guide here and Fort Bragg Dining Guide here (which is just 15 minutes north of Mendocino).
Ecological Staircase, Jug Handle State Natural Reserve
The Jug Handle State Natural Reserve attracts visitors with its half a million years of ecological history. It is also the most unique amongst the best Hikes in Mendocino California. There are three terraces you can discover along this 2.5 mile hiking trail. Because of the wave action along this coastal region, each terrace was above water for 100,000 years longer than the terrace below it. As a result, each terrace has a unique ecology you can witness if you hike along this route. There are very few places on earth where you can witness ecological succession, which makes this a truly unique destination that you must visit!
Length: est 2.5 miles
Along some of The Best Hikes in Mendocino California, you will be enamored with stunning oceanfront views and trails. Mendocino is truly one of the most stunning parts of Northern California. If you’re planning a visit be sure to check out my The Best Hotels in Mendocino for the Luxury Traveler here.
Fern Canyon Trail, Van Damme State Park
The Fern Canyon Trail is a very popular option for hiking. This scenic path travels through many different forests, meanders through steep hills and climbs to breathtaking views of the Van Damme State park. It’s a perfect destination for a day trip or weekend getaway, with great activities like kayaking or camping that you can plan ahead for. Because of that, this trail becomes one of the most popular spots in summer, as many flock to enjoy its forested sights. This is a place where nature has been enriched by an incredible sense of artistry. It definitely has some of the most scenic views you can find in Mendocino!
Length: est. 8 miles
The Inn at Newport Ranch
If you are lucky enough to get to stay at the Inn at Newport Ranch (which I’ve stayed at twice and adore) be sure to hike their property. They have 2,000 acres between the land on the ocean side (where the hotel is) and their wooded land across the highway. This is also a working cattle ranch so you’ll get to see lots of cattle wherever you are on the property.
Length: ranch is 2,000 acres.
All ready for the rainy January weather at The Inn at Newport Ranch. Even in the rain this is the most beautiful place to explore, hike and enjoy nature and the slower pace.
Jackson Demonstration State Forest
If you’re a seasoned hiker and looking for a challenge, seek out Jackson Demonstration State Forest’s trails which are some of the hardest hiking trails in Mendocino County. As an area with an extensive history of logging activity, you’ll be surrounded by plenty of redwood that the state has been harvesting since 1862. You’ll also find a wealth of other species in this forest, which offers some of the best woodlands views on the continent.
Length: est. 16 miles
Mendocino Cliffs Trail, Mendocino Headlands State Park
If you’re looking for less trudging and more sightseeing, the Mendocino Cliffs Trail is for you! Located along the Mendocino Headlands State Park, experience the Mendocino coast while enjoying an easy walk through this commanding landscape. Here, you’ll forget the hustle and bustle of Californian cities and truly immerse yourself in spectacular views and the refreshing coastal breeze. This is a great option for families with kids.
Length: est. 1 mile
Length: est. 1 mile loop
When visiting Elk, you have to hike Navarro Point. You will get the best views and amazing scenery. It truly does not even feel like you’re in California when you’re on this hike because the views are that great.
Crisp blue California coast is always stunning and never gets old.
All smiles after finishing this hike!
One of the best parts about Mendocino County is all of the wildlife. These were just across the street from Harbor House Inn (another Elk hotel I adore). Read about my Harbor House Inn stay on the blog here.
Russian Gulch Waterfall Loop Trail, Russian Gulch State Park
The Russian Gulch Waterfall Loop Trail has waterfall sights that are simply gorgeous. The route offers a variety of scenery and varying levels of incline. Hiking in this area is a great way to see the area with your family and discover the natural beauty along the hiking trails in Mendocino. There are also other trails you can find in the Russian Gulch State Park, like the coastal ones which give you stunning views of the ocean, or another which takes you into a flourishing forest with indigenous trees.
Length: est. 6 miles