Hike Along Mendocino Cliffs Trail

Rate this Adventure San Francisco Mendocino Bay

Added by Mike Quine

Mendocino is the location shot for decades-long famous mystery series, Murder She Wrote. In contrast to the plagued fictional town of Cabot Cove, here you will find nothing but tranquil beaches, scenic hiking trails, harbor seals, and stunning sunset views.

The town of Mendocino is as charming and quaint as one can find. It is no wonder why it was pegged as the perfect location spot to film the series Murder She Wrote. While the series heroine Jessica Fletcher's home can still be visited, it is the bay itself that will draw your attention. 

Starting in the southwest corner of the town, Main Street ends where the Mendocino Cliffs Trail begins. While the trail can lead southeast along the bay (Mendocino Headlands Trail), the unique views of sunset are best captured if you follow the trail west along the outer shoreline. By following the trail west, you will enjoy views of the bay on your left-hand side and grassy dunes to the right. Following this trail will also lead to several splits that allow hikers to break away and take a rugged set of steps down to the Mendocino Bay beach shores (a great place to set in a kayak to explore the sea caves and cliffs).

*Harbor seals are common in this bay

If opting to stay on the trail, the trail loops fully around Point Mendocino, terminating at a parking lot off Hesser Drive (of course this could also be where you start the hike). The northern section of this short trail can split into several paths, all ultimately leading to the trail's exit. To return to the starting point, you can either backtrack along Point Mendocino or walk south through the town back to Main Street.

The sunset views from Point Mendocino are legendary and you will not likely be the only one privy to the secret. Despite its visual appeal, the stunning views will have you so enthralled that you won't even notice anyone else is there.

Pack List

  • Comfortable shoes
  • A hiking chair (if catching the sunset)
  • Water
  • Kayak (if planning to launch from the bay's shore)
  • Camera
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Chillin, Fishing, Fitness, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Running, Stand Up Paddle, Swimming, Yoga

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



1.5 Miles


Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

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Added by Mike Quine

...a year long journey through the American landscape of our National Parks. Disengaged from societal pursuits to set out alone and face the uncertainty guaranteed by the Wilderness. Hardening both hands and mind through tempered resolve.

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