Now that the hectic pace of summer is winding down, and we’ve had just a hint of some misty fall weather, Fort Bragg is transformed into a magical world—a quiet getaway where you won’t miss the crowds. You’ll be able to enjoy our scenic vistas while you contemplate the beauty and peace of the natural environment. It’s not stormy yet, but the light is softer, the breezes are a bit cooler, the fog rolls in many mornings, and the salt air feels bracing and cleansing to the spirit.
One of the most common questions we hear is “How do you get to Glass Beach? It’s easy access now from Noyo Headlands Park. Head west down Elm Street and park in the lot in front of the trail. As you walk towards the ocean, you’ll see stairs leading down to Glass Beach. I was impressed to hear a young mother say “look with your eyes” to her toddler. The child didn’t seem compelled to pick up the glass stones and put them in her mouth. She just opened her eyes and beheld the beauty of this unique landmark. It’s a good lesson to remember.
Open our eyes and behold the wonder. Nothing to strive for, no need to take anything away. Just be in the presence of the magic and the mystery. That’s the great thing about memories..no one can ever take them away. They remain in your heart forever.
The Ka Kahleh Trail
Our new Coastal Trail, established in 2015, is one of the most beautiful walks you can imagine – and it’s just behind our town, on land that was owned by the lumber mill and was not accessible to the public for more than 100 years. What a joy it is to be able to walk from town to this amazing trail. As you head south on the trail from Glass beach you experience the rocky coastal landscape that is now part of the California Coastal National Monument. Harbor seals, sea lions, and a wide variety of seabirds and animal families enjoy the diversity of habitats provided by the ocean and rocks. The trail passes through many sensitive habitats, so it’s always important to follow the few simple posted guidelines—stay on the marked trail, keep away from cliffs and nesting birds, and keep your dog on a leash! Dogs love running along the trail, and you’ll see kids in strollers and on scooters, people on bikes, runners, and families walking together, enjoying the scenery.
Pretty soon you’ll find yourself at the magnificent Otsuchi Point, named for our sister city in Japan. It’s a spectacular viewpoint. Take a few minutes to stretch, or just sit on one of the beautiful benches and take in the salt air for a few moments. When you reach trail’s end, it’s time to turn around and go back the way you came.
There’s a sidewalk across from the restrooms in the parking lot that will take you to another popular trail…the Pudding Creek Trestle and the old Haul Road with more ocean vistas all the way to MacKerricher State Park, or even further into sand dune territory. (We’ll talk about that another time).
And that’s not all! If you’re not too tired after that bracing hike, you can drive south to Cypress Street and enjoy the south trail where you’ll see the Frontier Cemetery, the Noyo Center, and catch a glimpse of the boats in Noyo Harbor.
No matter where your feet take you, you’ll be surrounded by beauty, calm, and peace. Early morning walks and sunset walks are especially gorgeous and relaxing. Trails close when it gets dark, but you can still enjoy the starry skies at night from many of our beaches. If you’re looking for a magical spot on earth, we’re pretty sure you’ve found it. Fort Bragg, on the spectacular Mendocino coast of northern California. Photo credits: Mark Scheffer (first photo) Anya De la Pena (last photo) Matthew Ortiz (Glass Beach) Debra DeGraw (Otsuchi Point) Kristin Suratt (Noyo Headlands Park and South Trail)