The Fort Bragg Coastal Trail stretches along the entire length of the City of Fort Bragg. Looking at this magnificent piece of unspoiled coastline, it’s hard to believe that it was once the site of a busy lumber mill. In those days, and for many after the mill closed its doors for the last time in 2002, residents and visitors had to leave Fort Bragg to see the ocean that borders the town.
The first lumber mill was built on this site in 1885, and was one of the major employers in Fort Bragg. Mendocino redwood was used extensively to rebuild San Francisco following the Great Quake in 1906. After the mill closed, the buildings remained behind a chain link fence. Public opinion was clear: everyone wanted to see the beautiful ocean views that had been hidden for more than a century.
Fast forward a few years, and there’s no sign of the old mill, just breathtaking ocean views as far as the eye can see. The generous, paved trail follows the coastline, close enough to appreciate the beauty of the waves, but far enough from the cliff edges to be safe. It is a popular place to walk, run, ride a bike, and walk your dog (on leash, please), and is wide enough that it doesn’t feel crowded. The walk can be as long or short as you like.
Along the way, you’ll find signs with information about the area, wildlife, and plants around you. There are lovely benches made by local artists so you can stop, rest, and watch the waves. At Otsuchi Point, named for Fort Bragg’s sister city in Japan which was decimated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, there is a beautiful compass set into the trail and a commemorative bench.
The trail is open daily for day use only. ADA accessible and stroller friendly. Dogs permitted on leash. The northern end can be accessed at Glass Beach, at the west end of Elm Street, and the southern end at Cypress Street, just off Highway One.