Guided Tours2018-07-08T19:58:33+00:00

Mendocino: Big River Guided Tours

Big River flows fifty five miles westward from the rugged Coast Range into Mendocino Bay. Due to its slight gradient, the lower eight miles are tidal, providing paddlers with good depth year round. Nestled within California’s newest state park, the Big River estuary–including its abundant wildlife and adjacent lands–is now permanently protected. Our unique trio of Big River tours will help you experience the wildlife and river in a way that is truly remarkable … and profoundly memorable.

Mendoléa River Tours

Experience undeveloped Big River Estuary and it’s wildlife aboard the beautiful Mendoléa. Built from re-purposed old growth redwood, this six+ person voyaging canoe uses a state of the art, electric outboard and also deploys a downwind flip sail when conditions are favorable. The catamaran configuration is ultra stable, spacious and easy to paddle if you wish to. Relax and enjoy the silence as your professional guide maneuvers upriver. Watch for harbor seals, river otters and great blue heron while enjoying the beauty of the Big River Canyon. The return trip against the prevailing wind is made effortless courtesy of the nearly silent electric drive.

Mendoléa Private River Tours
(just for your group)

Book the entire boat and bring along up to 6 adults, plus 2 kids between 2 and 10 and 1 or 2 dogs that weigh less than 90 pounds each or any combination thereof. Experience undeveloped Big River Estuary and it’s wildlife aboard the beautiful Mendoléa. Built from re-purposed old growth redwood, this six+ person voyaging canoe uses a state of the art, electric outboard and also deploys a downwind flip sail when conditions are favorable. The catamaran configuration is ultra stable, spacious and easy to paddle if you wish to. Relax and enjoy the silence as your professional guide maneuvers upriver. Watch for harbor seals, river otters and great blue heron while enjoying the beauty of the Big River Canyon. The return trip against the prevailing wind is made effortless courtesy of the nearly silent electric drive.

2018 Lower Big River Tour with a Naturalist

Big River Estuary lies nestled in the Mendocino Headlands State Park. Tidal for up to 8 miles, beautiful Big River is home to river otters, harbor seals, great blue herons, double crested cormorants, and a wide variety of birds. This informative tour takes place on stable, human powered redwood outrigger canoes which are excellent platforms for binoculars. You will travel upriver about 2 miles. Please note that paddling is required, especially on the return. This tour only available during non-summer months, from Labor Day through Memorial Day.

Get more information and Book a Tour!
guided tours on big river mendocino by catch a canoe at the stanford inn eco resort

“When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come.” — Leonardo Da Vinci

ABOUT MENDOCINO, CALIFORNIA

Mendocino sits atop beautiful ocean bluffs surrounded on three sides by Mendocino Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The bluffs comprise the Mendocino Headlands and offer walking trails that afford incredible views of the ocean and the lovingly restored 1850’s New England style Victorians which now house restaurants, specialty shops, galleries and provide lodging for Mendocino artists. Historic buildings line the cliffs. At times the Pacific roars and crashes against the headlands with such force spindrift floats up to Main Street. The air tastes salty.

In a complex surrounding what was once a Victorian carriage house is the Mendocino Art Center, described by the National Endowment for the Arts as a “rural miracle.” The Mendocino Art Center serves area artists as well as artists and aspiring artists throughout the United States.

All this is the nature of Mendocino, located about 150 miles north of San Francisco on Highway 1. Besides the natural beauty, visitors to Mendocino will find a variety of things to see and do.

The history of Mendocino and its founding families can be explored at the Ford House and the Kelley House museums.

The Mendocino Community presents a variety of events from monthly art openings that celebrate art on the Second Saturday of every month to the annual Mendocino Music Festival providing performances in a huge tent on the Headlands in July. Other annual events include a Whale Festival, the Mendocino Art Center’s Garden Tour featuring exquisitely created home gardens with a luncheon at the Stanford Inn’s Raven’s Restaurant, an old-time 4th of July parade, the renown Art in the Gardens presented by the Mendocino Botanical Gardens, Winesong celebrating fine wines and local culinary talents in a tasting followed by an auction and celebrations of the Christmas holidays with lights and singing at the inns and lodges of Mendocino, Little River and Elk, and much more.

Hikers and mountain bikers enjoy bluff-top excursions to view seabirds, the seasonal gray whale migration and spring wildflowers. Nearby Big River Beach is ideal for family picnics and Big River is an ecological treasure which is easily explored by canoe or kayak which can be rented at Catch A Canoe & Bicycles, too!

Montgomery Woods up Comptche Ukiah Road offers virgin redwood groves with the tallest living tree in the world. Redwoods and Douglas Firs dominate the Russian Gulch State Park as well as other nearby State Parks including Van Damme and Hendy Woods. Many of these parks allow dogs on their trails. And at MacKerricher State Park Lari Shea offer horseback riding along the beach.

The town is compact and shopping and dining destinations are within easy walking distance of one another. Mendocino is an art collectors dream. Coast artists show their works at the Mendocino Art Center and in the scores of privately owned galleries. Performing arts include productions by the Mendocino Theatre Company,

Visit Mendocino, enjoy a stay at the Stanford Inn by the Sea, Explore Big River on a bicycle or kayak. And dine at Ravens Restaurant. What could be better?!