Stornetta Ranch Preserve and Waterfall

StornettaWhere can you see a lighthouse, pounding waves, and a 50-foot waterfall all at the same time? It’s about a one-mile hike along scenic coastal bluffs to what’s become known as Stornetta Falls.

This wildflower and grass-covered meadowland was once part of the Stornetta family’s dairy ranch; only recently has it been open to the public as a preserve.

Directions: From Highway 1, go west on Lighthouse Road (towards the Point Arena lighthouse) for 1.4 miles. Park at the turnout on the left, by a gate.

Walk south along the coast and you’ll find the waterfall as you approach the Coast Guard compound. The trail is not marked so follow the tracks worn by other hikers. You will have to cross two small coastal streams, so make sure you wear shoes that can get muddy. There is no beach access along this hike.

This writeup and the pictures were submitted by Matt Conens, photographer and waterfall buff from Sacramento. Matt has been to nearly 400 waterfalls, and he said: “This was one of the more interesting hikes. Great view of the ocean from the bluff, plus the lighthouse and coves down by the water. Very peaceful and easy. Made me wish I had a kite out there. I’m told the waterfall is year round but seems seasonal to me.”

More pictures of the waterfall.

Mendocino Outdoors is the premier guide to outdoor activities on the Mendocino CoastMendocino Outdoors, the premier guidebook for outdoor fun and adventure on the Mendocino Coast, has been updated in 2017 as an ebook for the 5th Edition. You can buy a copy at, the Apple iBooks Bookstore, Amazon’s Kindle Books, and Barnes & Noble's online store.

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