The entire length of the coast of Fort Bragg, California, is finally open to the public for the first time in more than 100 years. The central section of the five-mile Noyo Headlands Park and Ka Kahleh Coastal Trail, finished this summer, joins two sections of the trail completed over the past three years, from Glass Beach in the north to the Noyo River in the south. The multi-use area includes 8-foot wide ADA-accessible paved trails, beautiful ocean views, and handmade redwood benches crafted by local artists. On the northern end of the trail, a parking lot with a public restroom is located at the west end of Elm Street adjacent to Glass Beach. The trail leading south from Glass Beach extends along carefully restored coastal bluffs, allowing visitors to experience an awe-inspiring stretch of coastline – part of the California Coastal National Monument that – was hidden behind a chain link fence for the past century. Harbor seals, sea lions, and a wide variety of seabirds and wildlife enjoy the diversity of habitats provided by the ocean and rocks, with beautifully illustrated interpretive panels all along the trail to enrich the hiking experience.
Otsuchi Point Commemorates Fort Bragg’s Sister City
Highlights along the trail include the magnificent Otsuchi Point, a promontory named for Fort Bragg’s sister city in Japan, Otsuchi, which was decimated by an earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. Otsuchi Point is the site of a beautiful compass rose and a handmade bench that commemorates the sister city relationship between the two communities. One side honors Fort Bragg’s iconic Pudding Creek Trestle and the other Otsuchi’s Tori Gate.
Fort Bragg Landing, The Crow’s Nest, and Noyo Harbor
The newest mile of trail at Fort Bragg Landing connects the north and south trail around the Georgia Pacific mill pond, with stairs to the beach. On the southern portion of the trail, The Crow’s Nest Interpretive Center, a branch of the Noyo Center for Marine Science, offers exhibits focusing on marine and environmental education, including projects like the Help the Kelp Initiative. There is an off-leash dog park, with viewpoints including Johnson Rock, the Noyo Headlands Preserve, Skip’s Punch Bowl, Noyo Bay, Frontier Cemetery, and Noyo Harbor. Parking and trail access on the south end of the trail is at Cypress Street, north of Noyo Harbor on Shoreline Highway (Highway 1). Midpoint trail access will soon be available from the center of town at Alder Street. Bikes, strollers, roller blades, hikers, runners, and dogs on a leash are welcome on the trail, which connects on its north end to MacKerricher State Park and on its south end to the Noyo Harbor and Pomo Bluffs Park.
The Coastal Trail Collaboration
The Fort Bragg Coastal Trail has come into being as a collaborative effort of the California Coastal Conservancy, the California Coastal Commission, the Mendocino Land Trust, the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District, Caltrans and the volunteer organization Coastwalk, with support from Noyo Center for Marine Science, the City of Fort Bragg, and other organizations. The vision for the California Coastal Trail is to build a continuous interconnected public trail system along the California coastline as close to the ocean as possible. Fort Bragg Coastal Trail joins this state initiative, which now includes nearly 50 percent of California’s 1100 miles of coastline in developed trails.