Hearn Gulch

Enjoy expansive ocean views from the wild and scenic coastal bluffs.

If you have time, hike down the steep trail to a lovely pocket beach where you can relax on the sand. An off-shore rock with a narrow sea tunnel is particularly picturesque – especially with the sun shining through as it sets over the Pacific Ocean.

One notable feature of the beach is the surrounding volcanic rock formations and the narrow sea tunnel. Depending on the ocean tide and surf conditions, this tunnel produces a distinctively loud wave sound echo and water backlash.

Of particular interest to experienced wetsuit and kayak enthusiasts, the beach also provides ocean access to nearby Saunders Reef. And, for qualified kayak aficionados, there are nearby sea caves to explore.

History

Although there is little visible evidence today, Hearn Gulch had historic importance during the timber era. Between 1877 and 1895, Saunders Landing, as Hearn Gulch was once known, operated as a doghole port for shipping redwood lumber out of nearby Schooner Gulch.

Read more

Know Before You Go

There are no facilities at Hearn Gulch. Use a restroom before arriving. Bring your own drinking water and bags to pack out trash or dog waste. Thank you for helping keep this beautiful area clean and natural. Fires and overnight camping are not permitted.

Use Caution on Bluffs

Be aware of sensitive habitats and unstable bluff edges and tread lightly when you visit Hearn Gulch. Note that the path down to the beach is very steep and frequently suffers damage from storms. Use at your own risk.

Hearn Gulch History

Although there is little visible evidence today, Hearn Gulch had historic importance. Between 1877 and 1895, Saunders Landing, as Hearn Gulch was once known, operated as a doghole port for shipping redwood lumber out of nearby Schooner Gulch. Small, purpose-built schooners and steamers capable of navigating the precarious reef and tides transported the valuable wood to San Francisco, and from there, the world.

Today, little evidence of lumber harvest activity remains at Hearn Gulch. At Hearn, nature stands once again as the sculptor and creator of the landscape. RCLC’s place – with your help – is to preserve and protect Hearn Gulch so everyone can enjoy it forever.

The Hearn Gulch property was RCLC’s first conservation property. It is composed of nearly six acres of beach and bluff purchased between 2001 and 2005 with the help of the California State Coastal Conservancy and RCLC’s generous donors, Hearn Gulch provides extraordinary encounters with coastal life. Each visit is tempered by weather conditions and time of year.

A 2007 Coastal Commission development permit and 2008 grant from the Coastal Conservancy enabled RCLC to complete the improvements needed to make access suitable for the general public and to protect the fragile bluff area.

Donations to RCLC provide ongoing funds to maintain this and other Redwood Coast Land Conservancy properties.

Photo from Mendocino Historical Society

Property Map

To get to Hearn Gulch…

Photo credits: Hearn Gulch Rocks – Amy Wolitzer; Hearn Gulch – Anne Hanlon; Hearn Gulch Cave Wave – Ethan Applegarth; Wild Flowers – Mary-Sue Ittner; Loggers – Mendocino Historical Society