Russian Gulch, Mendocino Coast

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Russian Gulch, Mendocino Coast

by | Jul 23, 2020

Russian Gulch is a ravine located in Russian Gulch State Park, about 2 miles (3.3 km) north of Mendocino and 7 miles (11 km) south of Fort Bragg, California. The name was given to the area by U.S. government surveyors in honor of the Russian fur trappers who founded Fort Ross 50 miles (81 km) to the south.

In the late 19th century there were hundreds of small rural sawmills between Central California and Southern Oregon. Ports like Russian Gulch were commonly called dog holes from the notion that they were barely big enough for a dog to turn around. Coastal schooners would make dangerous stops in these coves to take on redwood lumber and passengers. At Russian Gulch, iron rings were bolted to the headland and used to secure mooring lines when ships were being loaded with lumber.

A mill also made redwood shingles on what is now the site of the Russian Gulch State Park recreation hall. Russian Gulch is now crossed by California State Highway 1, which passes over the ravine on the Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge, a large concrete arch bridge constructed in 1940. Read more here and here. Explore more of Russian Gulch here:

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