Trails of the Season:
1-7/8 miles round trip or more. Elevation Gain 250 feet.
One hour or more.
This trail starts on Jackson State Forest land and ends in new Big River State Park— it is not an official trail, But the author found it open and passable on his last visit in February 2003. No smoking or fires. No dogs allowed beyond first 7/8 mile.
From Highway 1 at Mendocino, turn right onto Little Lake Road and head east 3 miles. Park on shoulder near the CDF woodlands Fire Station. Trail starts opposite the fire station driveway.
Take the obvious but unmarked path directly opposite the fire station driveway. Contour south through transitional pygmy forest. Before 5/8 mile the trail merges with a power line path. Veer left to continue southeast into tall forest, soon entering Big River State Park where you descend an old logging road onto cut-over timber lands with views of Big River's canyon on your right.
Beyond one mile it joins a gravel track. Go straight to reach the Big River Haul Road at Mile.4.1 (4.1 miles from east end of Big River Beach) in 1-7/8 miles, a 3-¾-mile round trip. You can go left or right to explore the canyon of Big River. If you do, however, be sure you take the same gravel road to return to the trailhead. Big River State Park is a huge place, 7334 acres, where it's easy to get lost.