Noyo Headlands Park is situated on the bluffs in Fort Bragg on land that was formerly part of the Georgia Pacific lumber mill. This 93-acre park has spectacular views that have been off-limits to the general public for over a century and are now open to the public. There is a southern and northern trailhead with plentiful parking. You’ll share the trail with cyclists, strollers, roller bladers, hikers, runners, families, and dogs on leash. You might see oystercatchers and pelagic cormorants nest over the bluff edges, Peregrine falcons, geese, river otters, harbor seals, and even deer. Interpretive panels inform visitors about the park’s plants, birds, Native American history, and the mill.
Trails and Pathways
- Ka Kaleh Trail
- Time to Complete:
- 2 hours
- Trailhead Location:
- Cypress St. parking lot
- Trail Length:
- Over 4 total miles
- Typical Width:
- 4 ft. & above
- Typical Grade:
- Typical Terrain:
Completed in 2016, the Ka Kaleh Trail was created as one segment of the vast California Coastal Trail system. The trail is about 6 miles roundtrip and is popular spot for both locals and visitors, it was quiet when I visited on a Monday afternoon in March but busteling on a return visit during a summer weekend. To experience the trail in its entirety, double back from the Cypress St. parking lot about ¼ mile by heading south towards Pomo Bluffs Park. I recommend doing this as there are a few preserved historic sites and ruins along this part of the trail. The trail begins at a historic cemetery, which has an eerie vibe when the fog rolls in. From here, one can look from the bluffs to the beach below, where the Pomo River feeds into the Pacific, and which still has remnants of the logging mill that was here for many years. Continue northwest on the trail, past the picnic area and parking lot, and head towards the western bluffs. Follow the meandering trail amongst the newly planted grassland and native plants. There are a many interpretive panels along the way that detail the history of this park and its tragic past involving the native Noyo people and the settlers who exploited them.
Depending on the weather, one can view the crystal blue waters on the horizon and perhaps spy a whale during migrating season. Looking directly down from the rugged bluffs onto the rocks below you might be able to see seals resting and avoiding the great white sharks that frequent the area. There are many spur trails along the way that showcase local artisans interpretations of benches, all created with natural materials. The spur trails are a gravel mix with a firm under-layment and easy to navigate in a power chair and should be fine for strong manual wheelchair users. At about midway on the trail there is a visitor’s center run by the Noyo Marine center. After that the trail curves inland a bit to skirt some wetlands then continues along the shoreline. We spotted a variety of bird species flitting amongst the tall grasses, but I especially enjoyed watching the ravens play along the bluffs. Their deep croaking and intent stares lent to the mysterious, foggy scene. Definitely check out the different benches and chat up the locals who drop long fishing lines from the bluffs.
More Info: The weather can change drastically while you are here, so make sure to bring a few layers. A sun drenched early spring day can become "socked in" as fog sneaks in and quickly settles on the landscape, changing the vibe to mysterious yet peaceful.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria
unless otherwise noted.
- Accessible Parking:
- Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;
At the west ends of North Harbor Drive, Cypress Street, and Elm Street.
- Accessible Restroom:
- Yes – By visitor center, the Cypress and Elm St. parking lots and near the wetlands; none have sinks and are locked overnight.
- Accessible Picnic Table:
- Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance
- Accessible Visitor Center:
- Yes – The Crow\'s Nest visitor center is housed in a redwood A-frame building and run by the Noyo Marine and Science Center. Although small there\'s lots to see, touch and learn about through environmental exhibits. Hours: Thursday-Monday 11:00am – 3:00pm