Map of MacKerricher State Park
The park road forks off CA 1 three miles north of Fort Bragg and 165 miles from San Francisco. A complete, 30-foot long whale skeleton provides an unusual attraction, beside the entrance station, after which the road passes the campgrounds and leads to the main day use area, first reaching the lagoon (Lake Cleone
), a small but scenic pond, lined by reeds and wind-sculpted fir trees, and resting place for many species of birds. The course of the old railway (now known as the haul road) runs past close by, forming part of the California Trail, and extending northwards all the way along the sand dunes to the Ten Mile River. The road ends at the parking area for Laguna Point
, a promontory that divides the sandy shoreline to the north from the rockier coast to the south. The point is surrounded at low tide by large areas of tidepools and exposed kelp- and sea palm-covered terraces, all harboring extensive sea life including crabs, sea stars, mussels, urchins, anemones, sea lions and harbor seals. Migrating gray whales swim by during winter and spring, heading for Baja California. Paths lead a couple of miles further south to Fort Bragg, along an undeveloped part of the coast, past many sea stacks and small coves beneath cliffs that are fairly sheer but only 10 to 20 feet high so it is easy to climb down. There are also two larger beaches, around the ends of Virgin Creek and Pudding Creek, while right at the south edge of the park, Glass Beach
is the former location of a refuse dump from Fort Bragg, and although subsequently cleaned, the sands for many years remained mixed with numerous fragments of water-polished glass, though in more recent times most has gone, either washed away or stolen. Laguna Point also has a short boardwalk trail through a grove of shore pines, accompanied by notices about the history of the area. This part of the coast was once the preserve of the Pomo and Yuki Indians, and descendants of these tribes still visit the sea shore to collect plants for use in traditional ceremonies.
The nearest town with hotels is Fort Bragg
, bordering the park to the south.