Virtual Guidebook to the Northern California Coast and Coast Ranges
Cape Mendocino
Humboldt County California


Cape Mendocino is the westernmost point on the California coast, an iconic location that is, unfortunately, private property and closed to the public. The lighthouse which used to cling to the slopes 450 feet above the ocean has been moved to Shelter Cove.

This is considered the most seismically active area in the country, with the Mendocino Triple Junction, where three tectonic plates collide, just offshore. A series of earthquakes with magnitudes up to 7.2 in 1992 raised the coastal terrace several feet, killing the intertidal life along a mile of shore.



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The coast road near Cape Mendocino

(April 25, 2004)


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The beach just south of Cape Mendocino

(April 25, 2004)


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The low coastal terrace near Cape Mendocino

(April 25, 2004)


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On the switchbacks north of Capetown

(April 25, 2004)


Next Locality: Punta Gorda