When visiting the town of Mendocino, take some time to see Mendocino Headlands State Park. The park surrounds the town on three sides with delightful expanses of land perched atop stunning bluffs. From there you can enjoy whale-watching in the winter, wildflowers in the spring, nesting seabirds in the summer and vivid color throughout autumn. Miles of trails wind along the cliffs, surprising the casual explorer with spectacular views of sea arches and hidden grottos. Three miles of trails meander atop the rugged and majestic cliffs that line the coast. The park has a beach that is accessible from Hwy 1 or by trails down the bluffs, and offers excellent fishing and scuba diving opportunities.
The park has been in operation since 1974. The town’s south headlands, facing Main Street, remained in timber company ownership until 1972. The threat of development there spurred resident artist Emmy Lou Packard to start a movement in 1969 that led to the inclusion of the south headlands in the State Park. An outgrowth of this effort was the listing of Mendocino on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, an essential step toward protecting Mendocino’s 19th-century flavor. Now the parkland provides Mendocino with a buffer area that helps preserve the town’s historical presence, while providing a scenic backdrop of breathtaking beauty. Admission is free. Day use only.
Next Up: #30 – Russian Gulch State Park