Fall Up to Mendocino

Mendocino County for a Fall Getaway

We're lucky to call California home—it's one of the most geographically diverse states in the country. And one of its most diverse counties? Mendocino! Just a few hours from San Francisco, Mendocino County has it all—from rugged coastline to inland valleys and redwood forests, Michelin-starred dining and charming towns, this is the place for your next weekend getaway. Check out the Mendocino County Bucket List for top ideas. Hop on board the Skunk Train for a scenic journey through the heart of the county's redwood forests and mountain meadows, crossing more than 30 bridges en route. Or drive Mendocino's wine road, 75 glorious miles that belong on the fall of fame for the picturesque vineyards, friendly family-owned wineries, and towering redwoods. Speaking of redwoods (yes, they're everywhere in Mendocino County!), visit a few of the county's beautiful state parks to see stands of these big red beauties: take a hike into the lush ferns and forest of Van Damme State Park and Russian Gulch State Park. Later, wander the bluffside trails at sunset in Mendocino Headlands State Park, keeping an eye out for migrating gray whales, then stroll right into downtown Mendocino. The coast-side setting of this historic charmer is walkable and filled with cool stores, bed & breakfasts, and award-winning restaurants.

BONUS: Mushroom, Wine, and Beer Fest (November 6–15): Mendocino County's favorite fungus goes well with its wine and beer! Taste the very rare candy cap mushroom, with its rich maple-syrup flavor, and pair the pickings with a winemaker or brewmaster dinner.

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  1. Damme Good Camping

    Just a few miles south of the town of Mendocino is one of the best hike-in (or bike-in) campgrounds on the California coast. Van Damme State Park follows Little River inland from the ocean, and the nine first-come, first-served environmental campsites can be reached via the Fern Canyon Trail.

  2. Campsite at Loch Leven Lakes in Tahoe National Forest

    Tahoe Trio of Lakes

    Three alpine lakes, superb views, and shoreline camping for soaking it all in … Loch Leven Lakes is pure Tahoe wilderness. This 7.2-mile out-and-back in Tahoe National Forest is great for a long day hike, or a weekend of adventure camping among this trio of crystal waters.

  3. Calaveras Giants

    Contending as some of the tallest, mightiest, and most muscular spectacles in the state are the hulking (and beautiful) trees of Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Hit the trails to witness spectacular groves of giant sequoia redwoods.

  4. Best of the Summer Fests!

    Outdoor winery events featuring films, food, wine, live music, and Sonoma’s cinematic scenery in the background: now that’s a blockbuster summer weekend!


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  1. Backpacking to Rancheria Falls in Hetch Hetchy Valley Yosemite

    Get Hetched!

    Enjoy top-notch valley views on this 13-mile moderately strenuous backpacking trip highlighting some of Yosemite's best scenery. A bonus: This part of the park attracts fewer visitors than the much more famous valley

  2. Hiker on Proctor Mountain Loop Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

    Storied Trail

    If ever there was a fairy trail, this 6.8-mile lollipop loop on Sun Valley’s Proctor Mountain is it. The Proctor Mountain Trail is a storied route in more ways than one, starting with its tranquil oasis memorial for a famous writer, Ernest Hemingway.

  3. thousand island lake backpacking

    Picture Worth a Thousand Words

    Catch a mirrored sunrise at Thousand Island Lake back in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. You can reach this jewel—set at 9,500 feet in the High Sierra and backed by the brilliant Banner Peak—via a 10-mile trek along part of the Pacific Crest Trail.

  4. Two bikers on the Wood River Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

    Two Wheels to Zen

    The family-friendly Wood River Trail goes over an historic bridge, past art sculptures and ranch-roaming horses, all amid sprawling green valley and a mountainous backdrop. Roll out from the Farmers Market at River Run Lodge and pedal the 8-mile (round-trip) ride to Sun Valley’s Sawtooth Botanical Garden.