Backpacking 101 for Families – Mendocino

Backpacking 101 for Families-Mendocino

NEW! Improve your backpacking skills with experienced guides

 Backpacking 101 for Families

August 9-12, 2018
4 days 3 nights 

Rating: Moderate  Max Capacity: 12
Must be able to carry a 30-40 pound backpack for 3 miles.
Ages 12 and up. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

This exciting new Coastwalk adventure is designed to help you learn how to camp and backpack for the first time. It is designed as a multi-generational event to help families focus on developing independence and confidence in nature with just the basics. Coastwalk will provide leadership, campsites, and dinners each evening: (breakfast and lunches not provided; detailed suggestions for backpack meal planning will be sent to all registrants). Experienced Coastwalk volunteers will show you how to set up camp,build a campfire, filter water, cook a meal, and wash up after, all in an environmentally sensitive manner.


Trip Includes:

camping; dinner and light breakfast, hot water/coffee, educational daytime prgrams, evening programs and guided hiking.

Make Sure to Bring:

tent, sleeping bag and pad, ground cloth or rain fly; water resistant or water-proof light weight jacket (damp weather is a likely event), sturdy boots and clothes suitable to changeable weather.

Average Daily Hiking:

5 miles a day

Types of Hiking Surfaces

sand and dirt trails

Elevation Gains & Losses


Fitness Requirements

Must be able to carry a 30-40 pound backpack for 3 miles.
Ages 12 and up. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Beginning  Backpacking at Van Damme State Park, August 9-12, 2018. Itinerary

DAY 1: Thursday, August 9.

Meet at 2PM, Van Damme State Park group campground. After introductions we will set-up camp for the first night, then enjoy the Beach and walk some of the California Coastal Trail (CCT.),  up to five miles round trip, on park road, beach and bluff top trail.  Dinner 6 PM.  After dinner we will go over some basic camping necessities: fire building, cooking, water filtering, “Light on the Land” and “Pack it in, Pack it out”.

Day 2: Friday, August 10.

Breakfast 7-8 AM.  After breakfast backpackers hike into Environmental Camp, up Fern Canyon trail, 2 1/2 miles, 330 feet elevation gain.  There we’ll make camp and enjoy some free time. Just before dinner we can go over some of the skills from last night as needed. Then we’ll make a communal  dinner about 6 PM, campfire after dinner.

Day 3: Saturday, August 11.

Breakfast 7-8 am.  After breakfast we’ll hike up to the Pygmy Forest, about five miles round trip and 500 feet elevation gain. At the Pygmy Forest we’ll find a nice place for lunch.  Return to environmental camp.

Dinner 6PM.

Day 4: Sunday, August 12.

Breakfast 7-8 AM.  10 AM Packers hike back to Van Damme Group Campground.  Where we can review our efforts and lessons learned.

Noon: Trip concludes



David La Follette – Mendocino Trip Leader

I am a third generation Californian, now living in Ukiah, in Mendocino County. I have an education in Biological Science and years of experience in traveling and working in the woods and enjoying our Natural History.

Having retired from Cal Fire about ten years ago I got to travel all around the State fighting fires. Now I get to go to some of the Beautiful natural areas of this state and the world seeing the fauna and flora as a Naturalist.

I first become aware of Coastwalk in 1983 when as President of Madrone Audubon Society; a group of coastal activists approached the Sonoma Environmental Counsel seeking seed money to start Coastwalk. I joined their group and helped organize and lead the first couple of years of “Walks”. Then a permanent position with CDF opened up in Mendocino County and I took it. As a wildland fire fighter, back then, we couldn’t take summer vacation so making plans with Coastwalk ended, until I retired.

With my summers free again, I have coordinated and led about ten years of “Walks” in Mendocino, Sonoma, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. My commitment to Coastwalk has grown as I stepped up to help, with the Walks Committee, as a Day Hike Leader and now on the Advisory Committee. Our latest project, a “Service Walk” will bring out my knowledge of working in the Forest with hand tools and combine it with coordinating a camping/hiking trip like a Coastwalk. This project will bring me a lot of satisfaction actually building another section of the California Coastal Trail. Finishing the whole CCT. is a life time goal of mine.

For more information please feel free to explore the links below.

Public Transportation: Mendocino Transit Authority (800-696-4682)


The zip code for Fort Bragg is 95437.