Russian Gulch Loop

Mendocino, California 95460

Russian Gulch Loop

Russian Gulch Loop Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Easy access from CA 1 and a straightforward hike along a wide, gently graded road combine to make the well-named Fern Canyon Trail in Russian Gulch State Park quite popular. The first 1.5 miles receive plenty of use from bicyclists, families with strollers, and wheelchair users, as well as bipeds interested in an easy stroll alongside a placid stream. The trail courses through a canyon carpeted with lush vegetation, including a second-growth redwood forest."

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Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Waterfall Lover's Guide: Northern California (The Mountaineers Books)
Matt & Krissi Danielsson
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"As the name implies, the first white explorers and settlers in this area were Russian. After building Fort Ross in 1811, they stuck around and were soon joined by a number of small lumber mill companies that enjoyed modest success at best. The park we see today was created in 1933 by joint private and county efforts to preserve this dramatic piece of California coastline. The park is relatively small at just 1162 acres, but it features 30 campsites and numerous day-use trails. In addition to the waterfall, you may want to take a look at the famous “blowhole,” a large hole some 200 feet inland that drops 60 feet to a tunnel leading out to the ocean. As the tide rises, water crashes into the tunnel all the way to the blowhole. This trail guide contains descriptions of the following trails: Russian Gulch Falls." Read more
"This trail leads up through a lush coastal canyon filled with ferns, maples, berries, and second-growth redwood to a 36-foot waterfall. On the coast, hikers can awe at the Punchbowl, a 100-foot-diameter collapsed wave tunnel resembling a large crater, churning at its base with waves injected through a tunnel from the nearby shoreline." Read more

Russian Gulch Loop Reviews

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easygoing trail with some inclines. great for those who enjoy deep forest settings. the falls are a great stop for a break and photos. a must for those visiting Mendocino.
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This is a lovely trail in the late fall. There are a couple of steep climbs; one at the beginning and one in the middle. Other than that its all either flat or a gentle gradient. The waterfall is very pretty and the trails are excellently maintained. It can be a little muddy if it's been raining recently. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a day hike in the Mendocino area.
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This can be an 8 mile loop so come prepared with water and snacks. The directions posted are quite good with the exception of one spot at the top of the waterfall. When you go up the carved steps there is a path off to the right. This is not the unmarked trail in the instructions a "Go left until you come to an unmarked trail to your right. If you cross a wooden bridge you have gone to far." would be better. We were lost for about 15 minutes before we finally got in the correct trail. The view of the water fall was spoiled by all of the people swimming at he bottom in the pool. Muddied up the waters. The hike is well worth it and we enjoyed it none the less. Did recommend it to others at the B&B that were planning to do it.

Russian Gulch Loop Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
750 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
4–6 hours
Russian Gulch State Park is open all year. Spring offers the added bonus of scattered wildflowers. During winter, when the campground is closed, you’ll have to walk an additional 0.7 mile round-trip.
Mendocino National Forest
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Dec 2018