Paddle or Peddle…

…explore Mendocino Coast

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Catch-A-Canoe, shop and docks. On Big River, Mendocino CA.Photographer: Mary Charlebois

Stanford Inn’s Catch A Canoe and Bicycles Too, have rented and sold wind-powered, people-powered and solar-powered transportation options since 1972. At their store and docks on Big River, you can find a trail guide, bicycle, kayak, canoe or outrigger. They’ll give you expert help for exploring Big River, Mendocino coast, inland trails and wildlife. Service for repairs, and docks for launching your personal or rented gear are offered.

The most popular rental boats are redwood, outrigger kayaks. Outriggers can’t be tipped. They’re great for any level of paddler, but ideal for novices. Sizes for solo paddlers or groups of eight can be rented. Some can even take along Fido.

Each is handcrafted from reclaimed redwood. Bob Cummings, from Potter Valley, scours the area salvaging redwood barns, water towers and other structures destined for the scrap pile. He crafts each vessel by hand. Catch A Canoe acquires two of Bob’s works of art each year. In addition, Bob maintains his creations, giving them an annual rehab and insuring their long life and safe operation.

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Big River docks for Catch-A-Canoe. Mendocino CA. Photographer: Mary Charlebois

The shop stocks some of the most complete hiking and biking trail maps available. Area hiking and biking trails have been walked and mapped using GPS tracking. The resulting route is laid over aerial imagery. These incredible maps are up-dated frequently, and are available laminated for long term trail use.

In addition to equipment rentals and sales, Catch A Canoe host guided tours. Their Solar Eco Tour investigates Big River in a 33-foot redwood outrigger. The high-tech craft has sails, a solar powered engine or can be people paddled.

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Catch-A-Canoe docks on Big River, Mendocino CA. Photographer: Mary Charlebois

The Sunset ‘til Dusk Bioluminescence Tour explores Big River after dark in search of phosphorescent algae. This tour is sold out for 2017, but will be available in 2018.

Stanford Inn’s Catch A Canoe and Bicycles Too is owned by one of the area’s greenest accommodations, Mendocino’s, Stanford Inn by the Sea. Their restaurant, Raven’s, is an award-winning eatery, serving plant-based, ethical and sustainable meals. An enormous organic kitchen garden influences the menu daily and provides fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs year-round. When visiting Catch A Canoe, be sure to take a quick stroll through the kitchen garden, all are welcome. If you’re lucky, the gardeners may be around for a chat. The garden entrance is just up the hill from the shop.

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Looking across Catch-A-Canoe docks with A-1-A crossing Big River Bridge.

Catch A Canoe is managed by Rick Hemmings. He’s been at the helm since 1972. Rick and his team can be found at 1 South Big River Road, Mendocino. Take Comptche Ukiah Road then north on South Big River Road. They are open 9-5 daily, excepting Thanksgiving and Christmas. For tour or equipment reservations call 707-937-0273. A first-rate FAQ about paddling and peddling is available at

–Mary Charlebois, MaryGo

Published by Fort Bragg-Mendocino Coast Packet August 1, 2017

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lady Eloise says:

    Once again, you leave me craving to get out and explore something right in our own backyards! I can do this! It’s great how you find great adventures right here in Mendocino County. You are my “go-to” person now for those not so famous places that are the best! Great photos too! The article just doesn’t do them justice, but that’s okay – more publicity of this great article. THANK YOU

    1. Thank you so much. I know you share my love of our precious home, I see it in your photos. You see the beauty in it all. 🙂
      Catch A Canoe contributes to our community in ways they are too humble to bragg about. They work with school kids, providing trips on Big River and nature safaris. They are also heavily involved with Mendocino Land Trust, an org I love and support. Catch A Canoe and Stanford Inn are true stewards of our land and water. –MaryGo

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