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USA Parks
Northern California Region
MacKerricher State Park
MacKerricher State Park Mac Kerricher State Park © Marla J. Hayes
Valley Quail ©
Valley Quail
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P.O. Box 440
Mendocino, California   95460

Phone: 707-964-9112
Toll Free: 800-444-7275
MacKerricher State Park offers a variety of habitats; beach, bluff, headland, dune, forest and wetland. Tidepools are along the shore. Seals live on the rocks off the park?s Mendocino coast. More than 90 species of birds visit or live near Cleone Lake, a formal tidal lagoon. During winter and spring, the nearby headland provides a good lookout for whale watching. The park is popular with hikers, joggers, equestrians and bicyclists. Fishing is also popular, with trout in two fresh-water lakes. The park has a wheelchair accessible nature trail.
History of the Area
MacKerricher State Park is the only one in the park system that was at one time part of the Mendocino Indian Reservation. It is the only park unit that was part of the Union Lumber Company's vast timber and shipping holdings in northern Mendocino County. A small, independent logging and shipping operation began here, then was absorbed by the larger corporation. MacKerricher, known historically as Cleone, thus followed a pattern common to many of the small areas in the region. The park was officially opened in 1952; land was added along the Ten Mile beach until 1977, when the park contained more than 1,530 acres.

Ten Mile Beach Trail

From Laguna Point to Ten Mile River is 10 miles round trip;shorter hikes possibleTen Mile Dunes and lnglenook Fen, Laguna Point and Cleone Lake. These are some of the intriguing names on an intriguing land? MacKerricher State Park. Extending from just north of the Fort Bragg city limits to Ten Mile River, this park offers the walker a chance to explore headlands and wetlands, sand dunes, forest and meadowland.

In 1868, Scottish immigrant Duncan MacKerricher paid $1.25 an acre for a former Indian reservation, El Rancho de la Laguna. MacKerricher and his heirs worked the land until 1949 when they gift-deeded it to the state. The vast redwood forests of the coast range in the areas bordering Ten Mile River were heavily logged. An early coast railroad connected the mills of the town of Cleone with a landing at Laguna Point. Lumber was loaded onto flatcars which rolled by gravity to waiting schooners; horses hauled the cars back to the mill. At the point, anchor pins and other signs of the old landing can be seen.

A more obvious reminder of this coast?s logging history is the old haul road that crosses the park. In 1949, the road replaced a railway, which for three decades carried timber from the Ten Mile River Area to the Union Lumber Company in Fort Bragg. In 1982, winter storms washed out sections of the road, closing the five mile stretch from Cleone Lake to Ten Mile River. The road is closed to motor vehicles and is a superb path for walkers.

The old haul road travels the length of Ten Mile Beach to the mouth of Ten Mile River, so named because it?s ten miles north of Noyo River. The beach is backed by one of the California coast?s longest dune systems.

Directions to trailhead: From Highway 1, three miles north of Fort Bragg, turn west into the main entrance of MacKerricher State Park. Follow the signs to the Laguna Point Parking area.

The hike: Immediately west of the underpass, a short gravel road leads up to the paved ex-logging road. Walk north on the high embankment. You?ll soon observe Cleone Lake, a tidal lagoon cut off from the sea by the road. Many shore and water birds visit the lake. Mill Creek, which feeds the lake, is a winter stopover for ducks and geese. Bird-watchers will enjoy the mile-long walk around the lake.

Soon you?ll pass some squat shore pines?a coastal form of the much better-known lodgepole pine. You?ll also walk past a side trail leading to the state park campground. A quarter mile later another side trail beckons; this one leads over the dunes, which are covered with grasses, sand verbena and beach morning glory.

About a 1.5 miles north of the trailhead, you?ll encounter a washed-out section of road and, a few hundred yards farther, another bad section.

Two miles north of Laguna Point, tucked in the dunes, lies Inglenook Fen; it?s a sensitive area and not open to the public. A botanist studying this unique ecosystem gave it the Old English word fen?meaning something like a bog or marsh. Sandhill Lake and the marshy area around it support many rare plants such as marsh pennywort and rein orchid, as well as many endemic varieties of spiders and insects.

After walking three miles, you?ll pass a couple of small creeks and begin crossing the widest part of the sand dunes, which at this point are about a mile wide and measure more than one hundred feet high. About 4.5 miles from the trailhead, the road turns inland with Ten Mile River. You can continue walking north a short distance if you wish down to the mouth of Ten Mile River. The marsh area is inhabited by lots of waterfowl.

The main route travels inland above the east bank of Ten Mile River. A side trail leads southeast to a parking area beside Highway 1, while the paved road continues under the highway bridge.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
February 15 The Best Camping by Wremy
park review stars; one to five My boyfriend and I came here in April for a weekend trip. We had a great time! The park rangers were very helpful and kind. We had a campsite very close to the beach, it was a little soggy on the walkway because of the previous rainfall. However the weather was absolutely perfect! I definitely recommend staying here. The best sunsets! If you want a fantastic place to eat head to the North Coast Brewery right off main st. We had a great dinner and sampled all their beer! A great vacation, we will be making this a yearly trip.
September 30 The most beautiful beach/forest I have e by [email protected]
park review stars; one to five breath taking
August 16 wonderful by m johnson
park review stars; one to five
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Area Campgrounds
Vagabond Village
32850 Mill Creek Drive
Fort Bragg, CA
Caspar Beach RV Park Campground
14441 Point Cabrillo Drive
Mendocino, CA
Westport Beach RV & Camping
37700 North Highway 1
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Dolphin Isle Marina
32399 Basin Street
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Ft Bragg Leisure Time RV Park
30801 Highway 20
Fort Bragg, CA
Pomo RV Park & Campground
17999 Tregoning Lane
Fort Bragg, CA
Sportsman's RV Park
32094 N. Harbor Drive
Fort Bragg, CA
Nearby Hotels

The park is three miles north of Fort Bragg on Highway 1, near the town of Cleone. The park encompasses much of the land west of Cleone and a strip of beach between Fort Bragg and Ten Mile River.

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California State Parks