Two small communities along the Highway 128 route are Philo and Navarro. First at Philo, this begin a very beautiful and scenic stretch along the Navarro River. Good for fishing and swimming, there are several pul in points for fisherman along the river. Trails meander through redwoods, parks and old logging property, and several beautiful sandy pocket beaches are dotted all along this route. Philo has a great restaurant called Libby’s, and a nice market for sandwiches or cold drinks and picnic supplies.
There is a park that shows off the area’s gorgeous redwoods, called Hendy Woods. It is a state park, which offers camping and hiking. The 25 picnicking sites are located near the banks of the Navarro River in full view of Big Hendy Grove. There is no need to bring either wood, charcoal or presto-logs as wood is available at the ranger station, but the visitor is asked not to gather wood within the park as this downed material is needed to provide humus for the surrounding vegetation. Two miles of nature trails guide the visitor through both Big and Little Hendy Groves. While hiking these please stay on the trail so that the forest floor will maintain its beauty untrammeled for generations to come.
Fishing has not been allowed in the park for several decades. Fishing is permitted in the Navarro River watershed down river from the bridge at the park entrance. In the summer, swimming is popular as is kayaking and canoeing in late winter and early spring. The park also features exhibits, Junior Ranger nature walks, and campfire programs.
Navarro is a small town, like Yorkville, and has a general store, but hours are sporatic, especially off season.
From here the ride is one of a kind, winding through huge redwoods, old stumps of another era, ferns, and lovely shaded walkways. I like to keep my windows rolled down and take in all the wonderful smells and sounds if I’m riding through either early morning or late afternoon. There is a small state park called Paul Dimmick State Park.
Paul M. Dimmick State Recreation Area is located on State highway 128 about six miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. The highway, a highly scenic route, follows the Navarro River from Dimmick through what is known locally as “the Tunnel of Redwoods-to-the-Sea”. This beautiful little park is the smallest unit in the California State Park System where camping and picnic facilities are provided. Just under twelve acres it contains 23 campsites and picnic facilities for several parties. During summer the weather is considerably warmer than that on the coast, seldom is fog encountered, and a cool evening breeze makes for comfortable sleeping.
Being right on the Navarro River, which is warm in summer except right at the mouth of the north fork, children have a lot of fun wading in this crystal clear water. The pools are not deep enough for good swimming but a few do take part in this sport. Most of the camp and picnic equipment is portable and is removed each winter due to the danger of floods (as much as twelve feet of water has been observed during flood periods) in the spring. Around May 1st the equipment is moved back and set up for the vacationer. There is no summer fishing in the stream at Dimmick, but during the winter steelhead fishing is considered excellent when water conditions are right.
This is a fine place to camp while exploring the magnificent Mendocino coastline. It is just an hours easy drive to Fort Bragg or Point Arena, and there is much to see along the way.
All too soon you meet Highway 1, which will either take you back south along the coast toward Elk and Point Arena, or north to Mendocino and Fort Bragg.