Mendocino Headlands and Big River head

This unique blend of gentle trails, rugged coastline, secluded beaches and timeless history surrounds the Village of Mendocino on three sides. Three miles of trails wind along the cliffs, giving the casual explorer spectacular views of sea arches and hidden grottos.

For more information call our district office phone at 707 937-5804.

The seasonal Ford House visitor center and museum phone is 707 937-5397.

The Big River Unit

In 2002 the 7,334-acre Big River Unit was added to Mendocino Headlands State Park. The addition of the Big River Unit to the California State Park system creates a 7,400-acre wildlife corridor which links diverse coastal and inland habitats into the largest piece of connected public land entirely within Mendocino County.

Reaching from the river's mouth to 800-foot elevation inland ridges, the Big River wetlands property includes a wide range of habitats. State lands surround it on three sides. On the north it adjoins Jackson Demonstration State Forest and Mendocino Woodlands State Park.

Public lands reach to the sea from Jackson State Forest at Jug Handle State Reserve and Russian Gulch State Park. To the south, separated by a narrow strip of private land and Comptche Ukiah Road, lies Van Damme State Park, to which Nature Conservancy and University of California reserves are connected.

Image of link to Big River

Mendocino Music Festival

Mendocino Music Festival LogoThe Mendocino Music Festival, over two decades old, is a magical blend of fine music by outstanding performers in one of the most enchanting sites in Northern California. Evenings include breathtaking concerts featuring the glorious Festival Orchestra, the popular Big Band concert, chamber music ensembles, dance, blues, jazz, world, and folk music. Days include lecture/recitals at the Piano Series, a children's matinee, performances by Young Musicians Scholarship Program participants, and chamber concerts at beautiful venues throughout Mendocino Village. The Mendocino Music Festival continues to maintain its commitment to bringing the highest quality classical and contemporary music and musicians to a place founder and Artistic Director Allan Pollack has described as ". . . one of the most picturesque towns in the world."

Click the Logo above to visit our website

Mendocino Headlands
State Park

The park began operation in 1974. The original idea for the park came from the citizens of Mendocino in the late 1960's. Rumors of a planned development for the headlands brought the people together who wanted to retain the property as natural open space. Now the park land provides Mendocino with a buffer area that preserves the town's historical presence. In return, the town provides a view of a unique blend of natural, ecological, cultural and social diversity.

In any season, a visit to Mendocino Headlands State Park will provide a memorable experience. You might come to see the spring wildflowers, enjoy a crisp and clear fall day, escape to a cool summer climate or witness the winter migration of grey whale. The park serves as a window through which to view the past and a pathway to new discoveries. There are no camping facilities; visitors are day users only.

The park snakes around the town of Mendocino starting north at road D500 day use area coming south to the northern portion of the towns headlands on Heeser drive. Heeser drive circles around the town to the western bluffs and continues south and across Highway 1 to Big River beach. The whole park is used by hikers, picnicers, sun bathers, and surfers. Photographers and painters frequently visit various parts of Mendocino Headlands enjoying and capturing the scenic wonders.
Visitors-use caution when on the rocks at the ocean edge.

The Ford House Museum

Image of Ford HouseThe museum, is also part of the Mendocino Headlands State Park. The Mendocino Area Parks Association operates the historic Ford House on Main Street in Mendocino and is the Visitor and Interpretive Center for Mendocino Headlands State Park. Current and historical information of the area is available to Mendocino visitors.

The Ford House offers a number of videos for viewing with topics ranging from the great migration of the gray whales to the steam whistle logging era of the early Twentieth Century. All videos are presented upon request and at no charge.

Historically, Jerome B. Ford had the house built for his bride, Martha, in 1854. Ford was the Superintendent of the first sawmill in Mendocino and is credited by many as being the founder of Mendocino.

Exhibits at the Ford House carry the visitor back to another era. Throughout the house, exhibits of old photographs, tools and relics tell the story from the felling of the redwoods to the shipping of the lumber aboard the legendary doghole schooners. There is a small display of Native American implements and also changing seasonal exhibits on the local flora and fauna. Local craftsman Len Peterson built a scale model of the town as it was in 1890, on permanent display.

For more on current and historic information available to Mendocino visitors, go to MAPA's website.

All rights reserved
California State Parks,
Mendocino District Office
Mendoparks Home

Photos, maps and art are the property of California State Parks. Use of any of the above is subject to permission by California State Parks.

California State Parks link