Extending eight miles inland, the estuary is home to a host of wildlife, including playful sea otters and adorable harbor seals, lolling on the shore or cavorting in the water. It is a bird watcher’s paradise, with a wide range of sea and shore birds, including ducks, loons, cormorants, herons, quail, hummingbirds, hawks, and Mendocino’s iconic ravens. Bring your binoculars!
The haul road, which was once used for hauling lumber in Mendocino’s logging heyday, runs beside this serene and picturesque river. Mostly flat, lined with trees, it is a popular area for walking, running, and bicycling. You might encounter the occasional equestrian on horseback, and you will almost certainly meet someone accompanied by their dogs. Bicycles can be rented at nearby Catch A Canoe and Bicycles Too!, and as you might guess, you can also rent canoes (including pet-friendly outrigger canoes made from redwood) and kayaks to explore Big River by water, an unforgettable adventure.