Located less than a thousand feet from the Little River Inn, Van Damme State Park consists of beach and upland on the Mendocino Coast. Of all the park system’s units along the Mendocino coast, Van Damme is perhaps the richest in terms of historical resources connected with the redwood lumber industry. The park features the lush Fern Canyon scenic trail system; the Pygmy Forest where mature, cone-bearing cypress and pine trees stand six inches to eight feet tall; and the bog, or Cabbage Patch, where skunk cabbage grows in abundance. The park’s ten miles of trail go along the fern-carpeted canyon of Little River. A paved road is used by joggers and bicyclists. The beach is popular with abalone divers.
Here you will get professionally guided sea cave tours and more at Van Damme State park in Mendocino, while sitting on a sit on top Ocean Kayak. For the next hour and a half your life will take on that of a Marine Mammal, joining the Harbour Seals, Sea stars, algaes and Shorebirds in this incredibly rich and diverse habitat. All tours are easily paddled by beginners and require no prior experience, as Van Damme is a special place offering protection and channels in either direction.
There are two distinct llama treks offered in the Mendocino Coast area. All are led by experienced guides and accompanied by well-trained and friendly pack llamas. The llamas can carry anything you might want to bring along, such as extra clothing, cameras, or art supplies, leaving you unburdened to meander along at an easy pace seldom enjoyed on extended hikes. Treks can be tailored to your desires, from napping on the beach to spending hours painting a waterfall.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens offers everything from colorful displays to thunderous waves. The mild maritime climate makes it a garden for all seasons, attracting gardeners and nature lovers. With manicured formal gardens, a dense coastal pine forest, native flora and habitats, fern-covered canyons, camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias and conifers, heaths and heathers, and flower-filled coastal bluffs overlooking the blue ocean, the garden is a jewel on the Pacific Coast.
Come ride the Skunk in its natural habitat. Forty miles of railroad run through majestic redwood forests, scenic mountain meadows, and over 30 trestles bridging the pristine mountain waters of Northern California. Departing from Fort Bragg, the first few miles are along the Pudding Creek estuary, where common wildlife sightings include blue heron, egrets, osprey, ducks, and the occasional lounging turtle. After passing through Tunnel No. 1, the Skunk Train snakes its way along the Noyo River, zigzagging through the redwood-thick Noyo River Canyon.
Mendo Bike Sprite offers beautiful bike tours all around the Mendocino Coast. Rides can be tailored to your desires, skill level, and fitness level. From absolute beginners to die-hard extreme bikers, Mendo Bike Sprite can show you the best the coast has to offer.
Established in 1972, Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, Too! continues to provide a wide selection of kayaks, canoes, outriggers, and bicycles for exploring beautiful Big River and beyond. Originally The Mendocino Yacht and Canoe Club, they are the coast’s only full-service outdoor shop, providing rentals, sales and service year-round for visitors and locals alike. Big River flows fifty five miles westward from the rugged Coast Range into Mendocino Bay. Due to its slight gradient, the lower eight miles are tidal, providing paddlers with good depth year round. Nestled within California’s newest state park, the Big River estuary–including its abundant wildlife and adjacent lands–is now permanently protected. Paddling along silently in a non-motorized craft provides a stealthy means for excellent wildlife observation. Harbor Seals and their pups are seen daily during the summer, and if you’re lucky you’ll observe the playful River Otters.