Gay Beach/Swimming Holes
Phone: 800 Phone: Fax:
It can be quite busy here with 100 swimmers on a hot day but on average you'll run into about 50 people. Weekdays are more quiet with about 20 people. Take Highway 1 north to Mendocino, then turn right onto Little Lake Road, the first right turn past the main Mendocino turnoff sign. Drive four or five miles east on Little Lake until you see a sign for Mendocino Woodlands. Follow the dirt road that starts there for about three miles. Keep going until you reach the Woodlands retreat. Instead of turning left into the campground, go right about .3 mile, until the road ends at the road that follows Big River. Go to the left and follow that road a quarter mile, until it ends in a parking area next to Lilies. Or to save time, from Mendocino, drive 3.5 miles east on Little Lake until you spot a dirt road with a yellow Forest Service gate. Follow the road until it comes to a second yellow gate. Just past the gate, at the juncture of a number of roads, turn right and take the dirt road to the parking area. The second route will save you 1.5 miles of driving, and the road is better than the first one. Bring thongs or old shoes to wear in the river, which is strewn with rocks. To reach the beach from the path, wade across ankle-deep water to a site that is a mix of sand and gravel.