Exploring Mendocino County 1 Waterfall and Lighthouse at a Time

Exploring Mendocino County 1 Waterfall and Lighthouse at a Time | Smiling in Sonoma

If your hubs sneezes in the forest and no one else is around does it make a sound? Yes!! We were exploring the Chamberlain Creek Waterfall Trail in the Jackson Demonstration Forest for our last hike of 2016 and the hubs ended up having a sneezing attack that echoed through the forest. 🙂 No one else was around and I am sure any forest creatures out there were scared of this new sound!

It hadn’t rained in a few days so we knew we would be ok to travel on the dirt road that leads up to the trail head. It is 4.7 miles on a bumpy mostly 1 lane dirt road which would probably not be too easy to drive on after a hard rain. From the trail head stairs you step down into this beautifully lush ravine. Redwoods towering overhead with ferns and moss covering the ground. The trail is somewhat well maintained and easy to follow. We had the place all to ourselves so it was unbelievably peaceful. At .3 miles you reach this lovely 50 foot tall waterfall flowing over a smooth rock with moss and ferns growing all around. It’s a beautiful place to be in hearing the water tap tap tapping as it hits the ground, no cars, no people, no other noises.

After we enjoyed the waterfall we followed the trail across the creek to the ravine with some old growth redwood trees. Hiking up the switchbacks from here was the most strenuous part of the 1.9 mile hike and it really wasn’t bad at all. We followed the short trail around and through the forest until it met the dirt road and then walked back down to our car. While this isn’t the longest hike, it is a beautiful place to experience while exploring Mendocino!

After our waterfall hike we hopped back in the car to enjoy our picnic at Point Cabrillo Lighthouse Station. Head west on Highway 20 till you hit the coast and take Highway 1 south and follow the signs. There is plenty of parking at the top and some really great views (we picnicked in the car since it was only 40 degrees outside) but there is some parking down by the lighthouse if you are not interested in taking a short stroll from the upper parking lot. We were having so much fun enjoying the ocean views on the walk down through the meadow it was worth the time to take the walk.

Once you reach the lighthouse walk around and keep your eyes on the horizon for whale spouts! We saw several spouts and a couple whales poking out of the water. These must be the early birds heading south to get first dibs on the good stuff in the warmer waters south of us. The lighthouse itself is small with a gift shop inside and historical photos and information. It would be a wonderful place to picnic on a warmer day! Don’t forget to take a few dollars with you to donate or purchase items in the gift shop to help keep this historical place running. The hubs and I want to go back and stay in one of the cottages one day. How amazing would that be?!?!


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