Right up the road from Van Damme State Park, this campground is a nice spot to stay if you plan to explore the Mendocino Coast. There are 29...
Peaceful little campground near Mendocino. Encountered sea mammals and a couple of raccoons. It's under the highway, but you can't hear it from the campground. Cute little stream runs through the grounds. We stayed for two nights and really enjoyed this spot a few hours north of San Francisco! Great weekend getaway.
Russians who established Fort Ross in 1812 were probably the first white men to explore and chart this area. It is believed that U.S. government surveyors later gave the name "Russian Gulch" to the area 50 miles north of Fort Ross to honor these early pioneers.
In 1852 Harry Meiggs, a San Francisco engineer and promoter, erected a sawmill at Big River. This was the start of redwood lumber industry on the Mendocino Coast.
Soon other mills were popping up in all the little inlets, or "dog holes" as they were called. Since the sea was the only means of travel, these dog holes such as Russian Gulch were regular stops for the little schooners traveling from San Francisco to Humboldt Bay. They would bring freight and passengers on the way north and pick up lumber and passengers on the way back.
This was a very dangerous operation in bad weather, and many of the little ships were lost. Some of the old iron rings used to hold the high lines that loaded lumber on the ships can be seen anchored in the rocks along the headlands.
Redwood was considered excellent material for railroad ties, and Russian Gulch produced many of the ties used on the transcontinental railroad. Shingles were also produced here . One of the first redwood shingle mills in this part of the country was built on the site where the recreation hall stands today.
Russian Gulch State Park was acquired in 1933 through gifts of land and money by A. Johnston and the County of Mendocino to match State Park funds.