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“Lovely area”
Review of Big River

Big River
Ranked #7 of 26 things to do in Mendocino
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Attraction details
Owner description: A beautiful estuary in which to observe nature.
Reviewed March 17, 2012

Big river is a lovely place. You can rent canoes and paddle up the river. It will have kelp in the water, as it's an inlet to the sea. Enjoy!

Thank Mondra R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"low tide"
in 5 reviews
"easy paddle"
in 2 reviews
"the pacific ocean"
in 5 reviews
"nice beach"
in 3 reviews
"logging road"
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"mendocino coast"
in 2 reviews
"kayak"
in 18 reviews
"dogs"
in 12 reviews
"herons"
in 4 reviews
"inlet"
in 4 reviews
"redwoods"
in 10 reviews
"nature"
in 5 reviews
"driftwood"
in 2 reviews
"california"
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77 - 81 of 83 reviews

Reviewed January 25, 2012

Take a canoe or kayak up the river, and visit with local birds and otters.

Thank SUZN3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2012

Plenty of room to run and play with your dogs but be careful about some less responsible dog owners who may not have the friendliest dogs.

Thank Lovefur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2011

My husband and I have been to Mendocino twice, and each time, we've spent a good deal of time at Big River. The first time we rented a canoe and took a trip downriver. This time, he stand-up paddle-boarded while I hiked the trail above the river. It's so peaceful and very dog friendly. Check the tides if you will be going on the water so you can maximize the push of the river each way.

The River opens up onto a beautiful ocean beach, which at low tide, you can hike out to some caves. Overall, a gorgeous spot, easily accessible, easy to park, lots of dogs and surfers and people fishing.

Thank TikiG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Rocklin, California
111
Reviewed August 11, 2005

The Big River Estuary is a must for anyone who loves nature’s beauty and the outdoors. Our family of four enjoyed the river so much, we canoed twice during our eight-day stay in the area.

First, if you are like me and don’t know, an estuary is a water passage where the river meets the sea, allowing the tide to meet the river current. Though the Big River meets the Pacific Ocean, it is amazingly calm.

We went to the facility next to the river, Catch-A-Canoe, to determine the logistics of renting a canoe. For our first trip, we talked to a middle-aged gentleman, who was very knowledgeable. The time was 11:45 am. He told us the tide was coming in and would turn around at 1:30 pm. If we started now, we would get the assistance of the current as we headed up the river, and be able to turn around at 1:30 to get the help of the current on the way back. The establishment had canoes with and without outriggers, as well as kayaks. The gentleman recommended either the bigger outrigger, since our children are teens, or a smaller outrigger and one kayak, with the person in the kayak switching off during the excursion. As novices, we opted for the larger outrigger, which offers more stability. We departed riding the incoming tide around noon, traveled 3.3 miles, and returned on the outgoing tide around 1:30 pm.

Thanks to the Mendocino community, who fought for the property when a logging company announced plans to harvest, the land now belongs to the California State Park system. We enjoyed seeing herons, ducks, an otter, and an eagle in their natural habitat. Remnants of the massive logging that took place beginning in the 1850’s can be seen along the way. Our trip was like traveling back in time and gave us a taste of what early explorers might have seen.

For any one contemplating the trip that feels unsure, even novices like myself, (a female, 50 plus years old), can navigate the river easily. There are no forks in the waterway, so you cannot get lost. However, be sure to wear a hat or hood and sunscreen, even on cloudy days. We realized too late we had forgotten our sunscreen and paid dearly with sunburned faces.

Before departure, remember to consult a tide log. You should be able to ask at your inn or at Catch-A-Canoe. On our second trip, we dealt with a person who was less helpful than the first. We did not ask about the tide and he didn’t offer any information. We had an easy ride on the incoming tide, taking an hour and one quarter to go 4.5 miles, but labored two hours on the return, fighting the incoming tide and head winds. Upon our return, I asked about the tide and the young man said the tide would not change until after they were closed. Working against the tide was possible, but progress required a great deal more effort when we were already tired.

We will return to Big River on our next visit to Mendocino, and highly recommend the experience.

11  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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