Mendocino County is home to several California state parks, including Russian Gulch State Park located along the scenic Highway 1 only two miles north of the town of Mendocino. Featuring picturesque bridges and hidden coves, Russian Gulch State Park is a hidden gem. Many describe it as a small-scale Big Sur, and if you are looking for coastal bluffs, beach days, Redwoods, and camping all in one location, then look no further.
The Russian Gulch State Park is part of a series of loosely interconnected state parks and forests along the northern California coast. You and your family can traverse over 15 miles of hiking trails in this state park alone, all of which are connected to over 74,000 acres of natural space set aside for conservation. The park runs on both sides of the Russian Gulch Creek, which spills out into the Pacific Ocean, and offers lots of water activities.
People come from all over to hike, fish, dive for abalone, kayak, and camp, and the best part of all is Russian Gulch State Park is dog-friendly! Dogs are allowed on the beach, which is not common in California, provided that they are leashed. They are also allowed in campsites and picnic areas. They are not allowed on trails that go inland, but hiking along paved roads is allowed, as well as on the 0.75 mile Headlands Trail which offers incredible ocean views.
Entrance to the park is only $8 per day, though additional fees will apply if you intend to camp. If you are only coming in to marvel at the natural beauty of the sea and the rocky bluffs, check out the picnic area on the cliffs overlooking the beach.
Be sure to keep your dog leashed at all times everywhere in the park. Have drinking water to share on hand, as well as clean-up bags, and always stoop and scoop. Several human restrooms are located near the coast, but not inland, so be prepared.
For pawmazing views and exciting adventure, check out the Russian Gulch State Park with your pup!