Location: Mendocino, CA
Features: RV camping, camping, hiking trails, bike path, dog-friendly, wheelchair accessible, hot showers, clean bathrooms, private beach, clean water, Fern Canyon Trail, North Trail
What a beautiful state park! Growing up, I would visit Mendocino every year with my family. How did I not know this gem existed until this year?!
Russian Gulch State Park is located just 2 miles north of the town of Mendocino. For $8 you can access this park for the day to utilize its hiking trails and private beach. For just $35 dollars a night you can set up a tent or RV in one of the 30 available campsites.
Trails and Beach
This park includes miles of hiking trails and a 3 mile paved bike trail. One of the most popular hikes leads to a 36 ft waterfall accessed by a 6.5 mile hike round trip with just a 200 ft elevation gain.
The private beach features a punch bowl, swimming, and plenty of places to explore. From my campsite, it took all of 10 minutes to get to the beach. There is parking right up to the sand for day users and those in need of handicap parking.
The park rangers I met were friendly and helpful. When I accidentally set up camp in a reserved campsite, the ranger personally helped me find an available campsite that fit my needs!
With access to clean drinking water, nearby trash receptacles, clean bathrooms, and hot showers, you get the luxuries of a hotel while getting to sleep on the forest floor.
Each campsite has a parking spot, fire pit, picnic table, food storage cabinet, and flat ground for your tent. My campsite was even right up against the creek, which saved me several trips to get water for my thirsty dogs. Not to mention it was quite peaceful falling asleep to the sound of the creek’s babbling.
Safety and Animals
I set up my tent, and headed to town to people watch and grab some dinner. I wasn’t once nervous about leaving my tent unattended.
You know there isn’t much of a wild animal problem when the park’s trashcans don’t have complex locks. Simply a metal bin with a lid!
As for your animals, dogs are allowed in the park and on the beach on-leash. The trails, however, are not open to dogs.