For an unfurgettable hike in California's great outdoors, head on over to the Jug Handle State Natural Reserve! Located halfway between Fort Bragg and Mendocino, and adjacent to Highway 1, this unique site features puptacular ocean views, serene forests, and half a million years of ecological history. It's a dream destination for two- and four-legged nature lovers alike!
Leashed doggos are welcome at the Jug Handle State Natural Reserve, but must stay within the area west of Highway 1, as the east section is off-limits to furry visitors except for service animals. That means if you plan on checking out the park's main attraction, the 2.5-mile Ecological Staircase Trail, you'll have to come back another day when Fido isn't tagging along.
Furtunately, the first seven stops of the Ecological Staircase are located west of Highway 1 and can be walked as a half-mile loop with your canine companion. The Headlands Loop lets you and your pup explore a portion of the first terrace of the “staircase,” which comprises a broad bluff overlooking the ocean. You'll encounter tall Bishop pines, a sweep of prairie, and the rugged Pacific Coast. Interpretive signs help you identify the various plants of the first terrace, including Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, grand fir, and wax myrtle. You may also spot wildlife such as black-tailed deer, pocket gophers, and meadowlarks. Drinking water is not available along the trail, so remember to bring your own. Don't furget the clean-up bags and clean up after your pooch as well!
Once you and Fido have completed the loop, head to the picnic area to refuel with a packed lunch. After you've filled your tummies, you can walk down the steps to the beach to enjoy the scenery. There are no lifeguards and the water is rough, so water-loving pups will have to resist the urge to go doggie paddling!
A pawsome outdoor experience awaits you and your pooch at the Jug Handle State Natural Reserve!