Fort Bragg Attractions
The Skunk line runs 40 miles from Fort Bragg on the coast to Willits on US Highway 101. Along the way, the tracks cross some 30 bridges and trestles and pass through two deep mountain tunnels. The half-way point of Northspur is a popular lunch spot, giving passengers a chance to snack before continuing to Willits or heading back to Fort Bragg.
Giant Redwoods are easy to find, there are 13 Redwood parks in Mendocino County. Two are close to Fort Bragg, two more with large stands of old growth redwood are just a short drive.
Otis R. Johnson Wilderness Park is located 3 blocks from the Inn at the east end of Laurel Street. The park offers shady walking trails and a close-up experience with redwoods and other nature.
Just a short drive on Highway 20 takes you to a grove of old growth Redwoods at Camp One's day use area in Jackson State Demonstration Forest. From Highway 1, go east on Highway 20 to the 5.8 mile marker and turn on Road 350 (there's no sign). Go 3 more miles, and you're there.
Montgomery Woods State Park is an 1142 acre State Reserve located on both sides of the Comptche-Ukiah road about thirty miles east of the town of Mendocino. It's an excellent example of a magnificent coastal Redwood grove and a beautiful fern forest.
Hendy Woods State Park features two virgin Redwood groves. The park is located on Greenwood Road, just off Highway 128, near Boonville. It takes less than 1 hour to get there from Fort Bragg.
Glass Beach is one of the most unique beaches in the world, not because nature created it that way, but because time and the pounding surf have corrected one of man's mistakes.
Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach became a public dump. It is hard to believe these days, but back then people dumped all kinds of refuse straight into the ocean, including old cars, and their household garbage, which of course included lots of glass. By the early sixties, some attempts were made to control what was dumped, and dumping of any toxic items was banned. Finally in 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board realized what a mistake it was and plans were begun for a new dump away from the ocean.
Now, over 30 years later, Mother Nature has reclaimed this beach. Years of pounding wave action have deposited tons of polished glass onto the beach. You'll still see the occasional reminder of it earlier life, such as a rusted spark plug, but for the most part what you'll see is millions of pieces of glass sparkling in the sun. (Sorry, collecting is not allowed.)
Glass Beach also has a very interesting array of tide pools to explore. Crabs, mollusks, and many aquatic plants make their homes in these ever changing environments. It is very easy to spend your whole day poking around the tide pools and watching the busy little worlds that go on inside each one.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
This rare jewel, located just south of the city of Fort Bragg, boasts 47 acres of oceanfront gardens, forests, streams, fern canyons and bluffs. Visitors will be enthralled by the diversity and tranquility of the Botanical Gardens, where you can find something for every outdoor enthusiast. Manicured gardens, dense pine forest, diverse plant collections and flower filled bluffs are just some of what awaits you when you spend a day exploring this coastal gem. Enjoy the Cliff House, located on the bluffs, where you can watch for migrating whales and enjoy a picnic lunch as the ocean crashes just below.
One of the west coast's most scenic harbors, Noyo Harbor is tucked into the forested hills at the south end of Fort Bragg. Noyo Harbor is the starting point for a day out on the ocean, whether it's on a whale watching charter or paddling your own kayak. Or paddle a canoe or kayak upstream with the tide to discover the beauty of Noyo River. Noyo Beach, Mendocino coast’s only dog off-leash beach, is accessible by driving through the North side of the harbor to the end of the road.
Point Cabrillo Light Station Park
The Point Cabrillo Preserve includes the historic 1909 Light Station (30.5 acres), and approximately 270 acres of undeveloped coastal bluffs and prairie.
The property was purchased and preserved from development by the California State Coastal Conservancy and managed by a non-profit affiliate, the North Coast Interpretive Association. In 2002, the property transferred to the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Management of the Preserve's programs and restoration activities was assumed by a newly formed non-profit organization: The Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation paid the Coastal Conservancy four million for the historic Light Station. The coastal Conservancy has granted that money to the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers’ Association. These funds have been used to restore two of the three lightkeepers' houses and the three historic out buildings. Restoration of the West Lightkeepers' house, the historic fencing and gardens will be accomplished as additional restoration funds become available.
What is a pygmy forest? Stunted trees and shrubs caused by a complex ecological condition associated with underlying wave terraces and their unusual soils. The poor soil fertility and wetness of the soil restricts the growth of vegetation and induces a dwarf condition. Though short, the trees in the pygmy forest can be hundreds of years old. Jug Handle State Natural Reserve has a terrace walk which takes you through the pygmy forest. Van Damme State Park’s Fern Canyon trail takes you through a redwood stream canyon to the pygmy forest.