Discover why California’s north coast is the perfect place to play outside.
The Japanese science of forest-bathing—or “shirin-yoku”—states that nature is the ultimate stress reliever and exactly what your brain and body need to unwind.
Forest-bathing is kind of like it sounds: surround yourself with nature and “soak” up the reinvigorating energy of the forest. Forest-bathing has been proven to be both revitalizing and relaxing, and is quickly growing in popularity around the world. There’s no better place to do it than the scenic coastal forests of Fort Bragg!
You’re going to need your energy, so start your day at Café One, a local favorite featuring a variety of scrumptious vegan and non-vegetarian choices. Just a short 20-minute drive south of Fort Bragg, Russian Gulch State Park lets you experience the wonders of the forest, with the harmony of crashing waves serving as the soundtrack. This three-mile, leafy canyon features windswept headlands and pristine beaches along the rocky coastline. Move inland to view the 36-foot waterfall cascading down into a bower of colorful redwoods, mosses and ferns. Must-see stops also include the collapsed sea cave known as the Devil’s Punchbowl, as well as the picture-perfect Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge, which rises 100 feet from the gulch. Plan to visit the Russian Gulch State Park for half a day.
Speaking of “must-see”, get a front-row seat to California’s geologic history along Jughandle State Park’s 2.5-mile ecological staircase trail. Along the trail are three wave-cut terraces that were formed by the same continental glaciers, rising seas, and tectonic plates that created California’s coast. Few places on earth display a more complete record of how geology, soils, and plants change over time. Within the park is the Pygmy Forest, a national natural landmark designated by the National Park Service. Plan to spend half-a-day in Jughandle State Park.
Looking to take a shorter trip? Take a short 11-minute drive north to Otis R. Johnson Wilderness Park, another great spot for outdoor lovers. Time slows down as you enjoy a relaxing, close-up experience with nature in this shady, seven-acre park. The highlight of the park are the charming wooden footbridges that cross the gentle, flowing stream. The park is open May through October, from 7am to 8pm, and November through April, 7am to 5pm, so plan ahead.
California is world-famous for our giant redwoods, and Fort Bragg is the only place to find coastal redwoods. These majestic giants from eons past have been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and are home to many species on found in this habitat. Jackson State Forest near Fort Bragg is a great place to view redwoods. Jackson Forest is 50,000 acres, making it California’s largest state-owned forest by far, and the only one to feature a large amount of second-growth redwoods.
Trying to plan your forest bathing trip all in a day? If so, we suggest only picking one of the above. If you’re going to stick around, try them all! Whatever you choose, be sure to spend the second half of your day relaxing with yoga or a massage in town, or meditate along the coast.
Looking to try forest bathing for yourself? Explore the wild beauty of Fort Bragg, California. Start planning your trip today.