Russian Gulch Beach Activities

Mendocino County

Nearby Activities and Events

World Champion Abalone Cook-off

October 6, 2018
South Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg
Dance to live music, savor wines, sample abalone and clam chowder, silent auction
Cooks compete by preparing their favorite abalone recipes
Abalone Cook-off

Mendocino Whale Festivals

First 3 weekend in March
3 weekends, 3 locations:

  • Mendocino, March 3-4, 2018
  • Little River (Van Damme SP), March 10-12, 2018
  • Fort Bragg, March 17-18, 2018

Whale Watching Festivals

All Aboard Adventures
Whale Watching Tours

Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg
2-hour trips aboard the 30-passenger Sea Hawk
December 26 through April 30
All Aboard Adventures

Historic Walking Tours

Saturdays and Sundays, 11:00 AM
Kelley House, Mendocino
Docent-led 2-hour stroll through historic Mendocino, $10
Walking Tours

Mendocino Music Festival

July 7-21, 2018
Director and Conductor Allan Pollack guides the Mendocino Music Festival Orchestra
Mendocino Music Festival

Temple of Kwan Tai

45160 Albion St., Mendocino
Taoist temple dedicated to the Chinese god of war
Tours offered by appointment
Temple of Kwan Tai

Unbeaten Path Tours

Guided walking tours of unique places along the Mendocino coast
Stornetta Lands Tour, Architectural Tour, Photographer's Tour, Seascape Tour, and many more.
(707) 888-6121
Unbeaten Path Tours

Russian Gulch Beach Diving

Russian Gulch Beach is known as a wonderful spot for diving. The protected cove at the beach allows easy access to the water. Parking is available next to the beach, making it convenient to unload from your car. An outdoor shower is available to wash off after your dive.

Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.

The underwater valley to the left of the beach is filled with interesting places to explore. Underwater boulders shelter a variety of fish and plant life, including sponges, sea stars, abalone, anemones, and nudibranchs.

Some of the best areas are farther out near the mouth of the bay to both the north and the south. Canyons, valleys, sea caves and other features abound. Abalone are plentiful - although not monster in size, but enough legal abalone to make your limit. Spearfishing around the cove is very good.

Abalone Season: Generally from April - June and August - November

Local Dive Shops

Sub-Surface Progression Dive Shop

18600 N. Highway 1, Fort Bragg, CA
(707) 964-3793   Sub-Surface Progression Dive Shop

Sales and rentals of SCUBA diving gear, abalone diving equipment, kayaks, and surfboards and boogie boards.

Russian Gulch State Park Hiking Trails

A network of trails connect virtually every corner of Russian Gulch State Park. Some trails are designated for multi-use, including hiking, bicycles, and equestrians. Others are limited to hikers only. No dogs are allowed on the trails.

  • Waterfall Trail: The 36-foot fall waterfall at the upper end of Russian Gulch Creek is a popular hiking destination. The shortest route to the fall is to park at the trailhead on Caspar-Little Lake Road and follow the trails about 1 mile down to falls. The more common route is from the end of the road near the campground and following the creek through Fern Canyon. That route is 2.4 miles each way.
  • Fern Canyon Trail: This easy 2-mile hike follows the creek up the canyon on an old road. The route is open to cyclists.
  • North Boundary Trail: The North Boundary trail is open to cyclists, hikers, and equestrians. Its 2.7-mile length connects the regional park headquarters with Caspar-Little Lake Road. An equestrian camp is located near the eastern end of the trail.
  • South Trail: This 1.6-mile long trail connects the trailhead at the southern end of the park with the trailhead at the end of the road along Russian Gulch Creek. The beach is mid-way along the trail.

Birds along the Trails

Birds often sighted along the trails in Russian Gulch include warblers, swallows, Gray Jays, Swainson's thrushes, Allen's hummingbird, red crossbills, Pacific-slope flycatchers, and wrens. Occasionally hikers catch sight of northern spotted owls or kingfishers.

Kayaking at Russian Gulch Beach

Russian Gulch draw kayakers who enjoy exploring the rugged coast. Numerous islands, inlets, coves, and caves make for an adventurous day on the ocean. Launching from the beach is usually easy in the relatively calm water of the bay.

More advanced paddlers venture beyond the protected water of the bay. Those who manage to stay within the protection of the reefs avoid some of the heavier swells. A half mile north up the coast are many caves, narrow chutes, rock gardens, and arches.

Sea cave at Russian Gulch, Mendocino County, CA

Devil's Punchbowl

On the northern headlands of the park is a large sinkhole which was created when a section of sea caves collapsed. The sink, known as Devil's Punchbowl, is about 60 feet deep and 100 feet in diameter. A short trail leads out to the sink and a safety railing surrounds it. Visitors can look down into the punchbowl and see water surging in and out through the tunnels which connect it to the ocean.

Devil's Punchbowl sink at Russian Gulch, Mendocino County, CA

map of Russian Gulch State Park, Mendocino County, CA


Ocean Safety

California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at CA State Parks: Ocean Safety

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