Van Damme State Park consists of beach and upland on the Mendocino Coast. Of all the park system's units along the Mendocino coast, Van Damme is perhaps the richest in terms of historical resources connected with the redwood lumber industry. Its story is a prime example of the struggles and eventual failures of a small, independent lumber operation.
Visitors can enjoy hiking fern canyons, miles of trails, horse camping, a 36-foot waterfall, scuba diving, bluff-top picnicking, camping, and a bicycle trail, among many choices.
Camping—Russian Gulch and Van Damme State Parks have campgrounds—reservations are highly recommended from spring through fall. Call (800) 444-7275.
Diving and Fishing—Russian Gulch’s rocky ledges attract abalone divers. The wellprotected dive site at Van Damme has shallow areas and offers beginners gradual entry from the shore. Abalone divers need a valid California fishing license and report card.
The beauty of the Mendocino coast is tempered by its unpredictability and danger. Dive only in designated areas, and heed the warnings on the parks’ map.
Kayaking and Canoeing—The Big River has an outlet to the sea, sea caves, and a great view of historic Mendocino. At Van Damme, tide pools and sea caves provide adventure, while at Russian Gulch, canoes and kayaks take you from the cove’s calm waters into the ocean.
Interpretive Activities— Summer interpretive activities include staff-led hikes, campfire programs, and Junior Ranger programs. Times and locations are posted in each park.
En route Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
RV Dump Station
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Nature & Wildlife Viewing