Located equidistant between Fort Bragg and Mendocino, Jug Handle State Reserve is a very special place on the Mendocino Coast and known as the “locals” beach. This jewel of a cove is located at the foot of the Ecological Staircase, a trail that takes the visitor on a tour of geological updrift inland. The Staircase at Jug Handle Creek is a small slice of five uplifted ocean terraces spanning approximately 20 miles of the local coast. On the beach, one is standing on today’s time. Climb to the bluff top and one has traveled back in time 500,000 years. Each terrace is approximately 100,000 years older, taking one back in time a half million years as one travels from the beach to the fifth terrace. The terraces extend inland about 5 miles from the beach. Terraces 3, 4, and 5 contain some of the world’s oldest soils, depleted of nutrients and extremely acidic. Here is where Mendocino’s Pygmy Forests developed and adapted to this harsh environment. The beach itself is a gem… protected from the wind, it’s a great place for families and friends to enjoy the sea air.