Van Damme State Park

location

8125 N Highway 1
Little River, CA 95456

(707) 937-4016

 

Open

Call for hours.

 

Recreational Activities

Trails—Van Damme is known as a "day hiker's paradise." Trails range from the flat, 1/4 mile Pygmy Forest hike to the 9.15 loop Fern Canyon Lollapalooza with a 450' elevation gain.

BoatingKayak Sea Cave Nature Tours offer excursions three times a day for guests of all ages from the Van Damme State Park beach. Tours last 90 minutes, during which you'll join the Harbour Seals, Sea stars, algaes and Shorebirds in this incredibly rich and diverse habitat. All tours are easily paddled by beginners and require no prior experience.

Visitor Center—The Van Damme Visitor center, which was built as a recreation hall by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930s, features a life like model of an underwater surge channel, complete with all of the creatures and plants that live in the tidal environment. Hold your breath and pretend you are diving under the waves! You will also find a mural depicting an artist’s rendition of early Native American life along the coast.

Learn more on our Visitor Centers page.

 

General Info

Three miles south of Mendocino on Highway One, Van Damme State Park offers a scenic beach, a lush fern-filled forest, and year-round camping. The highway runs through the park, separating the campground and the Fern Canyon trail head to the east from the beach and parking lot to the west. Visitors can fish for abalone or launch a kayak in a protected cove. They can explore a pygmy forest. They can hike, jog, or bicycle the splendid Fern Canyon Scenic Trail beside Little River. Of all the park system's units along the Mendocino coast, Van Damme is perhaps the richest in terms of historical resources connected with the redwood lumber industry. Its story is a prime example of the struggles and eventual failures of a small, independent lumber operation.

The climate here is temperate year-round. Winter rains and cool summer fogs that usually burn off by mid-morning provide the moisture necessary for the thriving coastal redwoods. Prepare for changeable weather.

 

This park receives ongoing support from the Mendocino Area Parks Association.