Why You Need to See the Van Damme State Park Pygmy Trees

In Northern California, you can expect to see a variety of breathtaking landscapes. Among these are peaceful beaches and magnificent forests. In Mendocino, we have a gorgeous coastline that can be seen from many different places, like our own property at Sea Rock Inn.  

Van Damme State Park

Other amazing sights while here in Mendocino are the lush forest scapes. Mendocino County is right in the middle of some beautiful and old redwood forests, all protected in our state parks. You can admire these awe-inspiring giants as you walk on a path beneath them. However, you might want to admire the trees below you as well! Another unusual type of tree in Mendocino is the pygmy tree. You can view these ancient miniature trees during your Van Damme State Park hiking adventures!

For other outdoor activity suggestions, you can download our free Vacation Guide. It features some of the best suggestions for beaches, restaurants, and state parks like the Van Damme State Park!

History of Van Damme State Park

The Van Damme State Park has a rich history that goes back to the job of its namesake. Charles Van Damme was the son of a Flemish couple who immigrated to Little River. His father, John, worked at Little River’s lumber mill, and all of the Van Damme children grew an appreciation for the area and their father’s work. Lumbering was a huge source of income in California’s past, and towns rose and fell as the trees were chopped down. Little River was one of the towns that deteriorated from the lumber industry until finally the need for logging declined. Charles Van Damme saw the urgent need of preservation and bought a large piece of land for just that reason. In 1934, when Van Damme died, the plot of land became Van Damme State Park.

How to Spend a Day at Van Damme State Park

Today, many visitors love coming to the Van Damme State Park. It is conveniently located just south of Mendocino and is easily accessed from Highway 1. There are many ways to spend a day at the park. Some recommendations are going to the beach, windsurfing, learning about the environment at the visitor’s center, hiking along the extensive trails, and of course appreciating the Van Damme State Park pygmy forest. You may wonder why there is such an abundance of pygmy trees in this area. This is because of the type of soil in the area. In the Van Damme State Park, the soil happens to be nutrient poor and highly acidic. This means that trees can grow but not to their usual height. While the trees may only be a few feet tall, don’t let their size fool you. Some of them are over 100 years old! 

Stay at Sea Rock Inn During Your Mendocino Visit

Pygmy trees are just one of the many unique things that set Mendocino apart. Discover more one-of-a-kind forests, beaches, and other local landscapes by staying with us at Sea Rock Inn. Our beautiful seaside cottages provide a unique experience in themselves! Ready to take a break from it all and come enjoy Mendocino? Contact our amazing staff today and let us help you plan a wonderful trip with unforgettable adventures!

Photo by: David Berry