This 347-acre state park consists of undeveloped seaside bluffs and rocky islets surrounding the town of Mendocino, two beaches, and the Big River, which empties into the Pacific here.
The park’s three miles of trails meander along craggy bluffs, offering birders many convenient overlooks for spotting migrating and resident birds. Over the years, I’ve hiked and kayaked along the headlands several times, and the birdlife has always been astounding.
The scenery — secluded coves engulfed in bull kelp, sea arches, and hidden grottos — is postcard-perfect. Several short trails lead down to sandy and cobbled shorelines littered with battered driftwood.
Visitors looking to bird by kayak will find several easy put-ins. Paddling around the knobby sea stacks and rocky outcrops can reveal pelagic species and shorebirds. From spring through fall, look for Osprey perched in cyprus trees, gulls roosting along the sandbar at the mouth of the river, and pelagic birds like Pigeon Guillemot tending to nests within the clefts and alcoves of cliffs and offshore rocks. — Chuck Graham