You know those gorgeous photographs of historic towns shot from the perfect vantage point far away? In Mendocino, it’s easy to replicate the panoramic postcardesque photos found in tourist shops and visitors centers along the coast at the Mendocino Bay Overlook and you don’t even have to put in much effort to get there.
The Mendocino Bay Overlook Public Access Easement includes an easy, flat, 0.2 mile out and back trail to a small yet magnificent grassy area atop the bluffs overlooking Mendocino Bay, Big River Beach, Mendocino Headlands State Park, and historic Mendocino Village.
The overlook trailhead is located in a neighborhood, so we simply pulled off the side of the road near the sign and followed the trail. After only two or three minutes we emerged from the trees onto the overlook and our jaws dropped. The view of Mendocino and Big River Beach is quite stunning, especially on a beautiful sunny spring day and there is a single bench to relax on that is dedicated to Grail Dawson and Betty Barber, longtime supporters of the Mendocino Land Trust, the organization that manages the site.
Know Before You Go
- The Mendocino Bay Overlook Public Access Easement is located just south of Mendocino and Big River Beach off Road 500B/Brewery Gulch Road, Mendocino, California 95460.
- This is the first public access area in California that was opened by a nonprofit in a public access easement on private property.
- Traveling from historic Mendocino village on Highway 1, cross Big River Bridge and make the first right on Road 500B/Brewery Gulch Road. There is no official parking lot, so look for the brown trail sign on the ocean side of the road and park alongside the road.
- The Mendocino Bay Overlook Trail is an easy, flat, 0.2 mile out and back trail to a small grassy area on the bluffs overlooking Mendocino Bay, Big River Beach, and historic Mendocino Village.
- Open from dawn to dusk for pedestrian use only.
- Dogs are allowed on leash and must be picked up after.