The Haul Road Recreation Trail is a scenic, dog-friendly trail that stretches along the environmentally sensitive shoreline dunes and bluffs of the Pudding Creek Trestle in Fort Bragg to Ward Avenue, north of Cleone, and all the way to the Ten Mile River.
The trail is a part of what was once a seven-mile-long, relatively flat paved road called Haul Road. Haul Road was used to transport wood from the nearby watershed along the Ten Mile River to a mill in Fort Bragg. In fact, the trail also goes by the name ‘Ten Mile Coastal Trail.'
You can access the southern trailhead by driving north from State Route 1 in Fort Bragg. Along the way, you will cross over Pudding Creek using a railroad trestle and eventually get to a dirt parking lot at Pudding Creek Beach and north of Beachcomber Motel. The trailhead is near the trestle.
When you start along the trail, you will meet other people bicycling, jogging, walking, or enjoying the Pacific coastline along the trail. You are required to keep Fido on a leash and to pick up after your dog. It is, therefore, prudent to carry some disposable bags with you.
The trail has panoramic views of the ocean as well as a diversity of plant and animal species. With some luck, you may see some seals, the Pacific grey whale, and the endangered western snowy plover. About one-and-a-half miles into the trail, you will cross Virgin Creek where you could sit for a snack and again catch great views of the coastline before hiking to the turnaround point near Ward Avenue.
Today, half of this trail is inaccessible to most people and their pups because of severe erosion caused by winter storms that has washed away a one-mile section midway along the road near Ward Avenue, north of Cleone. Some people still find a way to hike across this section and rejoin the paved road and continue to the northern terminus at the Ten Mile River. Otherwise, you will have to turn back at this point, about three-and-a-half miles from the trailhead, and head back to the southern starting point.
On the whole, Haul Road Recreation Trail has a lot to offer and something new to see each time you go there making it a great hike for tail-waggers and their owners. Have a pawtastic hike with your pup on this lovely trail!
Watch out for bicycle traffic along the trail. Protect the habitat and wildlife by respecting the immediate environment around you.