A tunnel of trees to the sea
HIGHLIGHTS: Navarro River Redwoods State Park is as long and skinny as the river corridor it protects. Along Highway 128’s 11-mile-long “redwood tunnel to the sea” in Mendocino County, the park offers fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
ACTIVITIES: Picnicking, camping, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and swimming. The most popular swimming hole is at milepost marker 3.66.
VISITOR CENTER: None.
CAMPGROUND: 10-site Navarro Beach Campground. No running water. Maximum trailer length 24 feet, camper/motorhomes 30 feet.
TRAILS: No official trails. Kayaking or canoeing is the best way to explore.
MUST-SEE UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: A river trip will put you unobtrusively inside the forest for excellent wildlife viewing. You can launch either at the Dimmick campground or at the mouth of the river. Be sure to time your trip to avoid floods and take advantage of the tides. The best season is late winter or spring. Once you’re on the water, look for great blue herons, river otters, kingfishers and black-tailed deer.
HIDDEN GEM: Hardy adventurers may want to try one of the 10 campsites at Navarro Beach Campground. This windy, primitive outpost has few amenities, but how often do you get to spend a night beside the Pacific Ocean? The access road lies on the south side of the Navarro River Bridge. First come, first served.
FEATURES ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: None.
DOGS: Not allowed on trails, beach or dirt roads. On leash elsewhere. In tent or vehicle at night.
ENTRANCE FEE: None for day use.
EAT: Regan Ranoa, Outreach Manager, loves to stop at the Mosswood Market Cafe and Bakery (external link) in Boonville for a freshly made sandwich and then head two shops down to Paysanne (external link) for amazing ice cream treats!
STOP: Regan suggests stopping at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company (external link) in Boonville. You can taste some amazing beers but be sure to have a designated driver with you. Or check out the Anderson Valley wineries and festivals (external link).
FAVORITE PARK ATTRACTION: This park is located on highway 128 about six miles inland from the Pacific Ocean and is great for a family day. The highway, a highly scenic route, follows the Navarro River from Dimmick through what is known locally as “the Tunnel of Redwoods-to-the-Sea.”
DON’T MISS: Regan suggests a stop at the Gowan’s Oak Tree (external link) apple stand on 128. You can buy a variety of apples, both fresh and dried, and don’t forget to buy a gallon of their fresh apple cider.
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Acres Protected by the League: 650
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