Cinematic Coast

Mendocino County has been the location for more than 50 movies, including classics like James Dean’s “East of Eden.” It’s not hard to see why, with its small-town charms, redwood forests, blue-green bays, rocky headlands, and sublime beaches (with hidden stairways!). Here are some easy ways to make Mendocino the backdrop of your next great escape.

Week: 11.29.2023
Regions: Northern & Southern CA

Beach to Town by Hidden Stairway

Hidden Stairway Beach to Town Hike in Mendocino California

A hidden stairway makes this adventure as easy and fun as a walk on the beach. Thank Beth’s Stairs, a hidden wooden staircase connecting Big River Beach in Mendocino Headlands State Park to the charming town of Mendocino.
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Bluffing Good Time

Wine taste in Anderson Valley and Walk at Mendocino Headlands State Park

Accessible right from town, a bluff-side walk at Mendocino Headlands State Park is pretty much mandatory. The marquee trails here overlook not just the charming hamlet of Mendocino, but also the dramatic coastal scenery from the bluffs.
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Not Your Garden Variety Botanical Garden

Visit and hike at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg’s Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens makes a splash in more ways than its fabulous flora. Its 47 acres include a stunning bluff-side hiking trail overlooking the Pacific, where cliffs drop dramatically to the wild waves below.
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  1. From Town to Falls

    Mount Tam’s Cascade Falls is a bit under the radar, tucked back off a residential area in Mill Valley. Some people drive up to the tiny parking lot nearest to the falls. Do an easy 3-mile (round-trip) hike right from downtown Mill Valley, weaving through quiet streets and secret trails.

  2. The Carson Show

    Carson Falls is ready for primetime. This three-tiered, 100-foot stunner is hidden back in a canyon outside of Fairfax and reached on a 3.25-mile (round-trip) hike.

  3. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park waterfall hike in Sonoma Valley

    Sweet as Sugarloaf

    Right in the heart of wine country there’s plenty more than wine flowing right now, with an oft unheralded waterfall that surges to an exuberant spectacle from all the recent rain.

  4. Sponsored

    Sonoma Valley's 100 Days of Winter Wellness Guide

    This winter wellness plan goes to 100! Nurture yourself in 2024 with Sonoma Valley’s 100 Days of Winter Wellness guide. It’s a perfectly curated array of inspiration and ideas.


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  1. A woman stands at Dante's View in Death Valley, looking out to Telescope Peak and Manly Lake, Badwater Basin below.

    Sunset Hike (and Manly Lake Vista!) at Dante's View

    It’s one of the world’s best places to watch a sunset. Dante’s View is a 5,476-foot vantage of the whole southern basin of Death Valley from the top of the Black Mountains. On clear days you get views of both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous U.S. 

  2. Skull On!

    Temescal Canyon not only has epic views, it's got a waterfall right now, one that only shows after big rains. Head out on this 4.6-mile loop.

  3. Woman hiking on the trail at Trebek Open Space in Los Angeles County

    Trebek Open Space

    While most hikers head over to adjacent Runyon Canyon, instead do the 2-mile hike at Trebek Open Space and pay your respects to the legendary Jeopardy host and philanthropist, Alex Trebek.

  4. Woman on Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes at Death Valley National Park

    Starry Night & Dark Sky Adventures

    You don’t have to stay out all that late to experience eminent stargazing at Death Valley National Park. The park's been given the highest ranking of darkness by the International Dark-Sky Association. Here are a trio of amazing ways to witness the mesmerizing night sky at Death Valley: