Exploring the Gorgeous State Parks Near Mendocino, California
The Mendocino area is an outdoor enthusiast's goldmine, with a fantastic concentration of state parks. South of Mendocino, divers and kayakers favor Van Damme State Park, but don’t overlook its fascinating pygmy forest on the 3-1/2-mile-long Fern Canyon Trail, where a layer of hardpan beneath the topsoil prevents trees from growing tall, yielding bonsai-like redwoods and pines -- decades old but barely a foot high. Five miles north of Mendo, Jug Handle State Reserve is famous for its ecological staircase, where five wave-cut terraces rise like stair steps, each one 100ft higher than the next, and 10,000 years apart in geological evolution. The money shots at Russian Gulch State Park are the Devil’s Punchbowl, a collapsed sea cave with ocean water swirling round and round; and the "blow hole," a 100-foot-wide, 60ft-deep hole in a rock outcropping, where you can peer inside and watch the ocean churn and roil.
- Brendan McGuigan Just a note that the photo here is not Van Damme State Park, as the caption suggests. I believe it's Big River.