Saturday, July 20, 2024

The Peter Douglas Trail—A Redwood Line Path to Mendocino County’s Lost Coast


The Mendocino Land Trust works to conserve and preserve our county’s natural resources including farmland, forests, wildlife habitat, open space, scenic vistas, and watersheds.

In efforts to share their mission and Mendocino County’s natural world, Mendocino Land Trust has given us permission to share their Trail Tuesday posts where their intern Mia highlights some of our local hiking trails.

Consider supporting their mission by donating to them here:

Sunsoaked view of redwood forest along the Peter Douglas Trail [All pictures provided by the Mendocino Land Trust]

Today I will highlight the Peter Douglas Trail, a 2.3-mile trail with expansive views of Mendocino’s rugged northern coastline. The Peter Douglas Trail and the Usal Beach recreation area have quickly become one of my favorite places to visit. While it remains generally difficult to access much of the Lost Coast, this trail gives public access to one of California’s best-kept secrets- the ‘Lost Coast.’ Along the trail, you will see massive old-growth trees sculpted into bizarre shapes, creating what is known as the ‘Enchanted Forest.’ These ‘candelabra trees’ (photo 2) have been naturally manipulated by salty winds to create dozens of tree tops, all sprouting out of one stationary trunk. This trail also features breathtaking views of the Pacific coastline and leads hikers through lush, winding valleys of redwood forest. 

What is referred to as a Candelabra Tree

If you are interested in accessing this trail it is important to be prepared. The Usal road, used to access this trail from Hwy 1, is narrow and rough. The best time to visit is during the dry season when the road is more accessible. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended. Before planning your trip to Usal, be sure to contact the Mendocino County Department of Transportation (707)-463-4363 for updates and information about road conditions. Visit our website www.mendocinolandtrust.org for more directions, as well as information about the trail history and ecology. The drive may be rugged, but the views are well worth the adventure. 

Map of Peter Douglas Trail

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
Editor's Note: Whenever an article's byline reads "MendoFever Staff", the contents of that article were not composed by any of our reporters. Types of writing that will be attributed to "MendoFever Staff" include press releases, letters to the editor, op-eds, obituaries— essentially writing that is not produced by a reporter.

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