We went on a camping trip to Russian Gulch State Park in Mendocino, CA. This campground is part of a California State Park. We stayed at site 13.
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It was no problem fitting our 20 foot trailer in our campsite (#13). But, our site was one of the few in the campground that would have been easy to park our rig. The campground has some tight corners and if you go towards the end of the campground (towards site 30) there is nowhere to turn around. We didn’t have a campground map and learned that the hard way. Luckily, we were there in the fall and several sites were empty so we were able to use one to turn around.
Before we talk more about the actual site and campground, there’s a little more to say about the roads. Once you enter the state park, getting to the campground area also has some tight corners. You go down a single lane road that has blind curves. When you’re towing a trailer you’re just crossing your fingers that no one is coming the other direction. Luckily we didn’t have any problems with the tight road and had no issues getting by oncoming traffic.
Once you get into the campground it is beautiful. It is a small campground and when we were there it was very quiet and everything was lush green.
The sites were not very secluded. They were separate enough that people didn’t walk through your site but the other campers weren’t hidden from your view at camp. And while the sites weren’t massive, they were large enough that the neighbors didn’t feel too close.
All and all, we really enjoyed our site. The scenery was beautiful, the neighbors didn’t bother us, and the layout worked well with the trailer. And the site was large enough for the kids to set up some soccer goals and run around.
This is a dry campground. There are no hook-ups and there is no dump station. There also is no cell service at all. There is however an EV charging station.
The Best Campsites
- Site 13
- We really enjoyed site 13. It was easy to park our 20 foot trailer in, the table was positioned on the side of the trailer instead of behind it, and the size and privacy weren’t bad.
- Site 26
- This site is right next to a bathroom so that could be a downside, but the site is large and feels private.
- Sites 29 & 30
- These two sites are perfect together. They are right next to each other but not too close to anyone else. If you had both of these sites reserved it would feel very private and secluded.
Our visit was in the fall, late September, so it was expectedly cold. We were prepared and had gloves and beanies for the kids. That was enough for them to have a good time and hang out near the campfire without complaints. We had fog but no rain. For a fall trip we really had amazing weather.
There is a beach right at the campground. Though none of the sites are directly on the beach it is only a short walk away. You can get there either by walking on a paved road or taking a short trail.
There are also multiple hiking trails at the campground. We’ll talk about that more in the next section.
And lastly, the campground is in Mendocino. The town of Mendocino is only an 8-minute drive away. The town is very cute and has lots of shops. We got some coffee and hot cocoa for the kids and then we went to a local book shop. We also took the kids to both of the toy stores there. We highly recommend the Out of This World toy store. It’s science focused and has really cool stem toys as well as binoculars and telescopes. And they even let you bring your dog in the store.
Whether you want to shop or just want to walk around the town of Mendocino is a great place to visit.
The Dog-Friendly Hiking
There are multiple trails at Russian Gulch State Park and some of them are dog-friendly. The trails on the west side of highway 1 are dog-friendly. Dogs are not permitted on the trails on the east side of highway 1 including the fern canyon trail.
We decided to walk up the road that leads into the campground to get to the picnic area. From there we picked up the headlands trail. That trail had gorgeous views and ended up at a sinkhole.
It was an easy trail, short and level, which was good for the kids and grandparents.
If you want some good beer visit Patterson’s Pub in the town of Mendocino. We didn’t go there this trip because we didn’t think it would be the best spot to visit with the kids, but we’ve gone before. They have a huge selection of local beers and even several wines available.
Russian Gulch is stunning. The campground is beautiful. It is small and private. It has beach access, dog-friendly hiking, and lush greenery. And it is right next to the charming town of Mendocino.
Russian Gulch State Park
CA-1, Mendocino, CA 95460
Can reserve online at reservecalifornia.com. Reservations open 6 months ahead at 8am PST.