All Around the Area
1 Humboldt County Wines
Humboldt County is becoming a destination for tasting unique, handcrafted wines. There is a dedicated community of artisan wineries and vineyards whose passion and enthusiasm for wine is matched by the taste and quality of their products. While in the area take time to enjoy some of these quality wines at one of the local tasting rooms and wineries.
- 2 Doors Down… wine sipping & sales. Located just 2 doors down from big sister Brick & Fire Bistro, this quaint wine bar has a charming list of over 80 wines, as well as small plates, desserts, espresso and a spirited ambiance. Open at 4:30 p.m. everyday except Wednesday.
WHERE: 1626 F St., Eureka (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-268-8989 | 2DoorsDownWineBar.com
- In 2007 Bergeron Winery was born, a small family-owned boutique premium winery producing limited quantities of single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay wines, with more varietals on the way. The grapes they use are grown in high elevation vineyards located in the Red Hills and Pine Mountain Appellations within the Mayacamas mountain range. Their wine-making philosophy is driven by passion and a desire to express a pure transition of grape to bottle. They believe that “Wine is bottled poetry.”
WHERE: 359 Main Street, Trinidad (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-677-5177 | BergeronWinery.com
- Elk Prairie Vineyards is located on Fruitland Ridge just four miles up the hill from the Avenue of the Giants. The 10 acre estate vineyard and winery is located at a 1200 ft. elevation above the ancient redwoods. The wine making process does not include pesticides or artificial fertilizers, and they have sheep that graze the vineyard to keep weeds under control. Their hours vary so call ahead.
WHERE: 11544 Dyerville Loop Rd., Myers Flat (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-943-3498 | ElkPrairieVineyard.com
- Moonstone Crossing Winery has a tasting room in the beautiful coastal town of Trinidad. Enjoy its award winning wines while taking in the local art and historic photographs that adorn the walls. Wines are also available local stores and restaurants. Open in the Winter: Fri, Sat, Sun (noon-6 p.m.), in the Summer: Wed-Sun (noon-6 p.m.), or by appointment.
WHERE: 529 Trinity St., Trinidad (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-845-5492 | MoonstoneCrossing.com
- Riverbend Cellars — Myers Flat on the Avenue of the Giants is not only known for the majestic redwood trees in the area, but also for the outstanding wines of Riverbend Cellars. This extraordinary winery provides an exceptional opportunity for wine sampling at its tasting room, which is open seven days a week from
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Riverbend Cellars also offers a selection of specialty foods, picnic items, local art and much more.
WHERE: 12990 Ave. of the Giants, Myers Flat (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-943-9907 | RiverbendCellars.com
- Riverbend Cellars & More — Riverbend Cellars along with Monument Mountain Vineyards and Rocky’s Ridge Vineyard, has opened up the only winery tasting room in Old Town Eureka. Come in and join us to taste some of our best locally made wines in Humboldt County. Take home a bottle or a case. We are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, except on Mondays.
WHERE: 434 Second St., Eureka (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-441-9141
- Robert Goodman Winery and Tasting Room is open daily in downtown Arcata. The winery’s magnificent location delivers the perfect climate to create and age its handcrafted wines. The grapes come from different growing regions around California and are produced by some of the most highly regarded growers in the world. The wines are available at restaurants, retail outlets and at the tasting room.
WHERE: 937 10th St., Arcata (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-826-9463 | RobertGoodmanWines.com
- The Wine Spot, located in the heart of Old Town Eureka, is a place “where old friends go to meet new ones.” It offer local and international wines as well as microbrews. Enjoy its art gallery as you taste wine, or jump on the internet with free Wi-Fi.
WHERE: 234 F St., Eureka (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-497-6236
2 Humboldt County Breweries
Humboldt County is known for its excellent craft beers and small breweries. Tours and are not just for wine lovers anymore; beer aficionados are embraced in Humboldt County. Learn how local craft brewers create their libations as you explore the process behind your favorite bottled brew. Lucky visitors may be able to take a taste at the end of their tour, depending on what stage of brewing the beer is in; call ahead for reservations and recommendations on when to tour. These local breweries welcome visitors:
- Eel River Brewing Co. (restaurant)
1777 Alamar Way, Fortuna (google map)
707-725-2739 | EelRiverBrewing.com
- Mad River Brewing Co. (tasting room)
101 Taylor Way, Blue Lake (google map)
707-668-4151 Ext. 106 | MadRiverBrewing.com
- Six Rivers Brewing Co. (restaurant)
1300 Central Ave, McKinleyville (google map)
707-839-7580 | SixRiversBrewery.com
After your tour, enjoy a meal at Eel River Brewing Company’s Taproom & Grill, serving an array of fine organic and local fare. Six Rivers Brewing Company’s restaurant serves up a great selection of dishes, as well as live music almost every night. Mad River Brewing Company does not serve food, but has a tasting room with live music weekly and a sampler tray of its beers. Visit local breweries for a true taste of Humboldt County.
3 Casinos in Humboldt
Going to a casino can be lots of fun and incredibly rewarding. There are several places to try your luck in Humboldt County.
- At Bear River Casino in Loleta, check out the generous slot machines, or great table games such as Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Blackjack, Spanish 21 and live action Craps and Roulette. Or visit their new Poker Den. There are two places to grab a bite or a drink, plus an elegant restaurant.
MORE INFO: 707-733-9644 | BearRiverCasino.com
- At Blue Lake Casino and Hotel, on Casino Way in Blue Lake, you can play exciting casino games including Blackjack, Spanish 21 and live Poker games, or try your hand at some of the 800+ slot machines. Take in a live show or dance, dine at the 24-hour restaurant buffet or in the elegant banquet hall, then return to your hotel room for the night.
MORE INFO: 707-668-9770 | BlueLakeCasino.com
- At Cher-Ae Heights Casino in Trinidad enjoy their more than 300 slot machines or play Single Deck 21, Texas Hold’em, or other exciting table games. This is also a great place for bingo fanatics. When you get hungry, there are three restaurants on site to serve you.
MORE INFO: 707-677-3611 | CherAeHeightsCasino.com
4 Getting Creative with Beads
Whether wearing it, admiring it or making it, most people simply love jewelry. If you like to create jewelry, you’ll discover many delightful bead shops in Humboldt County, where you can find what you need to craft your own pieces. Choose from wooden, glass, gem, stone, bone, metal, plastic or crystal beads — the variety will get your creativity flowing. If you need help picking out just the right beads or can’t find what you’re looking for, knowledgeable employees in the stores are available to assist you. In Humboldt County, all your “bead needs” can be met with these retailers:
- Chapman’s Gem and Mineral
Hwy 101, 4 mi. south of Fortuna (google map)
- Garden of Beadin’
752 Redwood Dr., Garberville (google map)
800-232-3588 | GardenOfBeadin.com
830 G St., Arcata Plaza (google map)
707-826-9577 | Heartbead.com
- Talisman Beads
214 F St., Old Town Eureka (google map)
5 Farmers’ Markets
A coastal climate and long growing season help Humboldt County farmers produce a bountiful crop each year. At local farmers’ markets, you’ll find everything from fruits and vegetables to fresh flowers and artwork. The larger markets often have live music, artists and other vendors. At all of the local markets, you’ll find a selection of local and organic produce, honey and jams, live plants and cut flowers. Stop by a seasonal farmers’ market and fill a bag with nature’s bounty.
6 Guided Nature Adventures
It can be rewarding to head out on your own to one of the many hiking trails that crisscross the rugged wilderness of Humboldt County, soaking in the amazing diversity of plant and animal life. But it can be difficult to get a scientific understanding of all the things you’re seeing along the way. If you’re interested in learning about the things around you, reserve a guided nature tour. A number of guides offer their expert service and experience to curious visitors of Humboldt County.
The Friends of the Arcata Marsh offers free nature walks which focus on the birds, animals and plants that live and grow in the region. Regularly scheduled tours take place on Saturdays, rain or shine.
MORE INFO: 707-826-2359 | ArcataMarshFriends.org
The Redwood Region Audubon Society offers birding and other natural history trips to virtually every corner of northwestern California. The chapter also leads regularly scheduled walks at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary.
MORE INFO: 707-826-7031 | RRAS.org
7 Disc Golf
Disc golf is a wildly popular and fun pastime in Humboldt County. It’s so easy to play that just about anyone of any age can enjoy it, including many specially-abled and disabled participants, yet at the same time it is very challenging to master.
In principal, the game is structured almost identically to golf. Players try to get from the throwing pad to the target, generally an elevated metal basket, using the fewest attempts. As in golf, throws are referred to as drives, shots and putts, and there are tees, fairways and greens. The obvious difference is the equipment: special throwing discs made of heavy plastic are used in order to maximize distance and control. You just need one for basic play, and they only cost about $15 — compare that to the cost of a set of golf clubs! Throw in another disc or two and a carrying bag, and you still won’t break the bank. As an added bonus there are no greens fees or country club dues, either.
Humboldt County is home to 10 disc golf courses. Arcata features two of them, Mad River Pump Station #4 on Warren Creek Road, just off West End Road, and Redwood Curtain in the Community Forest. There is Area 74, an idyllic 27-hole redwoods course located in Fieldbrook just outside McKinleyville. The Manila Bay 9-hole course is located on the peninsula with vistas encompassing the bay from Arcata to Eureka. In Eureka you can find courses at the Cooper Gulch Sports Complex and College of the Redwoods. Willow Creek is home to the Ammon Ranch Course and the Steelhead Course at Creekside Park. And in Southern Humboldt, enjoy playing The Canopy and Birds of Paradise courses.
8 Redwood Adventures
Want to get away from it all and enjoy some quality time in the great outdoors? Redwood Parks Lodge Company offers full-service hospitality to all visitors to Redwood National and State Parks. It is conveniently located in the heart of Redwood National Park, Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek State Park, beaches, and just a few minutes from world famous Lady Bird Johnson Grove. Hike, bike, fish, kayak or ride a horse in the home of the world’s tallest trees. They have packages for individuals and groups, including couples, families, hiking groups, school field trips, weddings, photographers and artists, small businesses looking for a retreat, or anyone else looking to make their vacation a Redwood Adventure.
9 Six Rivers National Forest
Six Rivers National Forest is enormous, offering a wide variety of activities for people of every age. It encompasses nearly one million acres and stretches southward from the Oregon border for more than 140 miles.
Portions of the forest lie in four different counties, with a big chunk of it in Humboldt County. Visiting Six Rivers is awe-inspiring. You’ll have the opportunity to hike or ride horseback along trails through the rugged mountains, stands of redwoods and grasslands. Enjoy great fishing, whitewater rafting, and kayaking in the area’s many rivers and streams. Wildlife lovers may spot rare animals and plants, and the area is also known as the home of the legendary Bigfoot. There are many places where you can enter the park. Highways 199, 96, 36 and 299 all run through Six Rivers National Forest, and Hwy 101 runs parallel to it.
MORE INFO: 707-442-1721 | FS.USDA.gov/srnf
10 Humboldt’s Motorcycle Scene
Humboldt County is a favorite of motorcycle aficionados from all over the country. Highway 101, the Avenue of the Giants and Hwy 36 are all picturesque, beautifully maintained roads for those looking for the ultimate fresh air and scenic road trip. The area also hosts a number of organized rides and gatherings, with live music, poker runs, vendors, and the camaraderie of fellow bikers.
The Humboldt Chapter of United Bikers of Northern California hosts Samoa All Bikes By The Bay in July. There is no need to own a bike to attend, this is just a good time for a good cause. Proceeds will benefit the Senior Rescue Center and Eureka Rescue Mission.
MORE INFO: 707-834-4826 | UBNCHumboldt.com
The Redwood Run is held in Piercy in June. One of the most well-known, exclusive Harley-Davidson events in the West, this nationally known weekend biker party features three days of camping, live music, biker games and shows.
MORE INFO: KiwanisRwR.com
The Riverwood Inn is a great place to stay for those attending the Redwood Run and is a favorite of motorcycle and car clubs. It is open year-round, with a winter fire to greet guests in the not-so-off season.
WHERE: 2828 Avenue of the Giants, Phillipsville (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-943-1766 | RiverwoodInn.info
11 Bicycling and Running
Take in the natural beauty of Humboldt County and let “people power” carry you to the finish line with cycling and running races. Local running clubs host a number of marathons and community runs throughout the year, and local cyclists gather for mountain bike and road races. No matter your sport of choice, these races will lead you on paths through gorgeous countryside, dramatic coastlines, and majestic redwoods. A number of running and cycling events for different experience levels and athletic abilities take place throughout the year. And if you’re not in any rush to race, set your own pace down any of the excellent trails available to mountain bikers, walkers and runners.
12 Campbell Bros. World Famous Confusion Hill
One of the many roadside attractions just south of Garberville, in northern Mendocino County, is Campbell Bros. World Famous Confusion Hill. Listed as a California Point of Historical Interest, and featured on Ripley’s Believe It or Not, this is definitely a one-of-a-kind attraction. It has been the home of mystery and fun since 1949. There are several adventures here including the Gravity House and the Redwood Shoe House. When you step into the Gravity House, your body will seem to defy the laws of nature. You will experience contradictory optical and physical sensations that will make you ask yourself, IS SEEING BELIEVING? There are no right or wrong answers at Confusion Hill.
There is also the unique, miniature Mountain Train Ride that will take you on a 30-minute ride up the hill and back down. Along the way you will learn about the Redwood Forest and see historical logging equipment on the side of the track. Confusion Hill is also the home of the World’s Tallest Freestanding Redwood Chain Saw Carving, listed in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. While there, take a few minutes to pay your respects at the Twin Towers Memorial Trees. There is a gift shop, snack bar and playground for the kids.
WHERE: Along Hwy 101, 15 mi S. of Garberville (exit left) and 8 mi N. of Leggett (exit right)
MORE INFO: 707-925-6456 | ConfusionHill.com
13 One-Log House
Domicile, habitat, home — it’s where your heart is or isn’t. In the case of the One-Log House, the heartwood of a 2,100 year old redwood was hewn out by hand to make a complete home with all the amenities. Although the time line for this tree starts around the same time as the birth of Christ, its modern time line starts with its cutting in 1946. The log for the One-Log House was cut down by Art Schmock and his son. At that time, the tree was on property owned by Georgia Pacific Co. of Eureka. This particular log was cut, rolled onto a trailer, and metal straps were welded around it for support. It was then transported to Eureka where it was hollowed out by hand, using tools such as drills, chisels, wedges and foot adzes. The log itself is 32 feet long, 10-11 feet in diameter and has an interior height slightly over 6 feet. The inside is divided into kitchen, bathroom, living and bedroom areas. In the 8-month process of hollowing the log, enough wood chips were produced to build a traditional five-bedroom home.
The One-Log House has traveled the western United States and stayed at various places in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties for the past 53 years. For more than 11 years now, One-Log House Espresso & Gifts has sat near Richardson Grove State Park on Hwy 101, serving food and organic, locally roasted espresso. Visitors can go inside the house itself, and also enjoy the gift shop with espresso bar, which includes shakes, smoothies, frappes and other refreshments. In addition to great espresso, a clean and polished environment and a helpful staff, there is also an on-site burl factory where many beautiful, unique redwood gifts are created and then sold in the gift shop. Outdoor picnicking areas are available as well as air conditioned seating inside, fun antique logging photos to look at, a souvenir penny-smashing machine, and clean handicap accessibility for all customers. Open daily year-round.
14 Richardson Grove State Park
Heading north on Hwy 101 from Mendocino into Humboldt County, you will encounter significant old-growth redwood forests at Richardson Grove State Park. Established in 1922 and named after California’s 25th governor, Friend W. Richardson, this beautiful park is not only a popular family camping spot, but also a wonderful place to learn about the coastal redwood forests.
There is a walk-through tree, as well as the ninth tallest redwood and a fallen tree ring study which was conducted in 1933. The park, which is bisected by the Eel River, also contains 9 miles of hiking trails that will take you past towering trees, thriving wildlife, and along the South Fork of the Eel River. Along the banks of the river are excellent sites for fishing for salmon and steelhead in the winter or swimming in the summer. There is a delightful picnic grove with ample parking. If you’d like to spend more than one day in the park, you’ll find 159 campsites in which to pitch a tent or park your motor home. Several cabins are available for rent. The Visitor Center and Nature Store are located in the historic 1930s-era Richardson Grove Lodge. See exhibits and get more information on summer nature programs such as evening campfires, Junior Rangers and guided nature walks.
WHERE: On Hwy 101, 7 miles north of Garberville and only 2 miles south of Benbow Lake. There is a day use fee per car, and reservations are recommended for camping during the summer season.
MORE INFO: 707-247-3318 | Parks.CA.gov
15 Thunderbird Mountain Trading Company
The World-Famous Thunderbird Mountain Trading Company is nestled in the Heart of the Redwood Forest on Scenic Hwy 101, just before Richardson Grove Redwoods State Park. Captain Shon has worked with Native American Indians since the 1970s. His original store, Happy Hunting Ground, was built in 1972 in the old western town of Pinnacle Pass in Scotts Valley, California, in the Santa Cruz mountains.
Thunderbird Mountain Trading has the largest collection of American Indian jewelry in Northern California. In addition, it has a large selection of handmade Navajo kachina dolls or dancers, sand paintings, dream catchers, carved Navajo fetishes and peace pipes, and handmade textiles from Peru such as Alpaca rugs, hats, ponchos, teddy bears, scarves and shoulder bags. They carry handcrafted moccasins and boots made by the Huron-Wendat Indians of Eastern Canada, and a large variety of furs, fur rugs, blankets and pillow cases from around the world.
And if that is not enough, don’t pass up their homemade jams, jellies, marmalades, fruit butters and smoked Salmon. Yes, smoked Salmon. Captain Shon has been in the Smoked Salmon business since the early 1980s. His former location, the Klamath Trading Post, was where he mastered the Cold Smoking Method, where the Salmon is cured by the smoke, not cooked by heat. He uses both Wild Alaskan King or Chinook Salmon as well as Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, ocean-caught off the Kenai River in Alaska — the coldest, cleanest waters in the world.
16 Benbow Valley Golf Course
With meticulously tended greens and glorious Humboldt County views, the Benbow Valley Golf Course near Garberville is not only the lone public golf course in southern Humboldt County, but also one of Northern California’s most challenging. This nine-hole, par-35 course boasts two sets of tees, allowing golfers to play 18 holes. Described by many as “unforgiving,” players are often surprised to discover just how challenging it is. There is an additional set of tees for the junior or beginning golfer, making this a perfect family activity. Guests of the Benbow Inn historic hotel or RV resort have a special green fee that allows for unlimited play for the entire day.
In addition to its golf course and well-stocked pro shop, the Benbow Valley Golf Course offers a putting green and driving cage. The manicured putting green, flanked with sand bunkers, allows players to practice their putting and improve their chipping skills. They can warm up their swing and narrow their aim by hitting a bucket of balls in the golf course’s driving cage. It’s fun for serious golfers and beginners alike.
17 Southern Humboldt Community Park
Let nature be your playground at the Southern Humboldt Community Park. You can explore 431 acres of grasslands, farmland, upland forests, and native redwoods. This park offers attractions for visitors of all ages and interests. Walkers, bikers and horseback riders will enjoy 3.5 miles of trails which wind around meadows and through forests. All park trails are multi-use and can be used by hikers, dog walkers, joggers, bike riders and horses. Visitors can pick up a self-guided plant walk brochure, bring along binoculars for bird-watching, or take a stroll through the meditation labyrinth to get away from it all. Beach access to the Eel River is perfect for swimmers and kayakers, while picnic tables, a riverside playground, a 23-hole disc golf course and skateboard ramp promise to keep the whole family entertained.
The park is also a model of sustainable food production, forest management, watershed restoration and education, and is host to a number of events throughout the year. These include educational and interpretive programs, weddings, receptions, retreats and club meetings. Southern Humboldt Community Park is located on Sprowl Creek Rd., one mile from the Hwy 101 Garberville exit. The park is open from sunup to sundown year-round.
18 Shelter Cove’s Abundant Wildlife
The King Range National Conservation Area, established in 1970 as the nation’s first National Conservation Area, is an extremely special place for nature- and wildlife-lovers. One of the largest natural habitats in America, the area encompasses 68,000 acres, with many different habitats in the area surrounding Shelter Cove. Roosevelt elk, deer, whales, skunks, raccoons, egrets, marbled murrelets and bald eagles are among the 300 species inhabiting the area. Mountain lions, black bears, coyotes and rattlesnakes also make their home here.
- Harbor Seals & Sea Lions – Pinnipeds are large carnivorous marine mammals. Two species are common sights at Shelter Cove: harbor seals and California sea lions. These playful creatures love to sun themselves on the rocks below the bluffs at Shelter Cove during low tide. The largest congregation is usually found at Point Delgado, but seals can also easily be spotted up the coast to Seal Rock.
- Whale-Watching – Each year the Humboldt County coast witnesses gray whales making a mammoth 12,400 mile round-trip migration between their southern breeding ground off Baja California, Mexico and the northern feeding grounds off Alaska and the Beaufort Sea. In early April through May the return migration north to Alaska is in full swing, with females and their calves swimming close to shore, the calves nearest to the coast, sometimes just beyond the surf line, as they seek to evade predators. While gray whales are the main attraction at Shelter Cove, occasionally humped-back or blue whales are spotted as well.
- Bird-Watching – Visitors wishing to record birds while visiting the King Range National Conservation Area are encouraged to participate in gathering information to help refine knowledge of bird life in this beautiful area. The area boasts about 300 different species of birds. Please send information to Bureau of Land Management, King Range Project Office, 768 Shelter Cove Rd., Whitethorn CA 95589.
MORE INFO: 707-986-5400 | BLM.gov
19 Pacific Ocean Fishing
Shelter Cove is one of California’s premiere ocean fishing destinations. Fishermen come for the salmon, which are found close to the shore here May through August. Anglers can also catch an abundance of ling cod, rock cod, halibut, albacore and surf perch, and can fish from shore for perch or rock fish. Fishermen can also launch a boat from the cove, which Point Delgada protects from the northwesterly winds. Visitors can buy fishing licenses at Shelter Cove stores or charter a boat from a sport fishing business for a guided angling adventure. On calm days, abalone diving is also an option.
A great way to make sure that you have the perfect fishing experience is to let one of Humboldt County’s expert fishing guide services outfit and plan your excursion. These professional captains and guides will lead you to the best spots during the right season and help you catch the monsters you’re after.
MORE INFO: The Tides Inn and the Shelter Cove Oceanfront Inn can provide information and help arrange charter fishing trips for guests.
The Tides Inn, 707-986,7900 | ShelterCoveTidesInn.com
The Shelter Cove Oceanfront Inn, 800-824-1614 | ShelterCoveOceanfrontInn.com
20 Cape Mendocino Lighthouse
In 1999, a large helicopter lifted the lantern off the historic, but badly deteriorated, Cape Mendocino Lighthouse and flew it 35 miles to the resort village of Shelter Cove. The rest of the lighthouse, disassembled at the site, soon followed by truck. Within a year the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse Preservation Society had restored, painted and fitted new glass into this 139-year-old sailor’s beacon. It now sits at Mal Coombs Park at the tip of Point Delgada. The Cape Mendocino Lighthouse has a rich history as a signal of warning in some of the Pacific Coast’s most treacherous waters.
Cape Mendocino is California’s westernmost point. The first ship carrying supplies to build the lighthouse struck a rock on its journey and ran aground in 1867. When a steamer finally landed safely at the cape’s headland, the parts of the lighthouse were hauled up steep cliffs to a base 422 feet above the ocean. When the 43-foot tall tower was completed in 1868, it became one of the highest lighthouses in the nation. The last piece, the delicate Fresnel lens, was steamed to Eureka then transported by horse and wagon to the point. The lighthouse began flashing its white signal once every 30 seconds on Dec. 1, 1868. The lighthouse was so remote it had to be serviced by sea in the early years. One lighthouse inspector drowned in 1881 trying to reach it. During more than 80 years of service, violent storms and frequent earthquakes took their toll on the lighthouse. The Coast Guard decommissioned it in 1951, and by the late 1990s the lighthouse was ready to crumble into the sea. Today, the restored lighthouse is open for tours, when docents are available, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day.
MORE INFO: LighthouseFriends.com/light.asp?ID=25
21 King Range and Lost Coast Trail
The King Range National Conservation Area is unlike any other place in the continental United States. Here, in this 35-mile long, 68,000-acre stretch of coastal wilderness, the mountains rise directly out of the sea. King Peak tops out at 4,088 ft., and is only 3 miles from the ocean. The Conservation Area extends between the Mattole River in Humboldt County to the northern border of the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park in Mendocino County.
Because of its remoteness and relative inaccessibility—only a few back roads lead into the range—this Douglas-fir-clad wilderness attracts hikers, backpackers, campers, equestrians, mushroom collectors, surfers, anglers, beachcombers and abalone divers. Seals, sea lions and a multitude of sea birds inhabit the rocky shoreline; tide pools and kelp beds are their homes. California gray whales pass close to shore during the spring northern migration. Streams that pour down from the mountains are spawning waters for salmon and trout. A small herd of Roosevelt elk roams the area, and some 300 species of migratory birds have been found in the King Range, including the northern spotted owl, bald eagle and Cooper’s hawk. Black bear and mountain lions also prowl these mountains and the shoreline. Campers are required to carry and use approved hard-sided bear canisters to store all food and scented items, or face being fined.
The BLM maintains miles of trails in the King Range National Conservation Area, most of which intersect the legendary Lost Coast Trail. The trail runs 25 miles along the shore at the base of the mountains from the mouth of the Mattole to Shelter Cove. There is a wide selection of automobile and backcountry campgrounds in and around the Conservation Area.
Accessing the King Range can be an adventure in itself. Hikers can take the Lost Coast Trail north out of the village of Shelter Cove. Unpaved back roads, most suitable for 4-wheel drive vehicles with high ground clearance, intersect Shelter Cove Rd. on the south, and Wilder Ridge Rd. on the east. On the north end of the range, access is near the mouth of the Mattole River on Lighthouse Rd., off Mattole Rd. Most of the Coastal Trail is well-marked, but it is recommended that any hikers who are not familiar with the trail to bring a map of the area and a tide table along.
WHERE: To get to Shelter Cove, take the Hwy 101 exit to Redway/Garberville and follow the signs to Redway. In Redway, turn west on Briceland Rd. and go 14 miles to Shelter Cove Rd. Turn right on Shelter Cove Rd. and follow the signs to Black Sands Beach.
MORE INFO: Maps and bear canisters are available at BLM’s King Range project office in Whitethorn, 707-986-5400, or in Arcata, 707-825-2300 | BLM.gov
22 Punta Gorda Lighthouse
If there had been an Alcatraz of lighthouses in the early 1900s, the Punta Gorda light station would have been it. It was as isolated and lonely as a frontier settlement. The lighthouse keeper spent the winter months there virtually in solitary confinement, when flooded streams and harsh, windy conditions kept the site cut off from civilization. Even during the pleasant summer months, he had to travel 11 miles on horseback to shop for fresh supplies in the small town of Petrolia.
Originally sanctioned as a fog station in 1888, it was not until 1912 that the Punta Gorda (Spanish for “fat point”) Lighthouse was approved by Congress, and then only after 10 ships and countless seamen had met their fate near the point. The flashing light in the small 27-foot-tall tower was in service until 1951, when the Coast Guard decided the remote site was too expensive to maintain, and replaced it with a flashing buoy. Now controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, the only structures remaining are the concrete lighthouse and the oil house, both of which were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The lighthouse site is a 3-mile, strenuous hike along the Lost Coast Trail, which begins at the Mattole Beach campground. The trail offers beautiful black-sand beaches, dunes and tide pools. A large portion of the hike is through fine, loose sand, and hiking beneath the cliffs can be dangerous at high tide. Tide information is usually posted at the trailhead. To reach the site from Hwy 101, take the Honeydew/Dyerville exit in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Travel west to Mattole Rd. in Honeydew to Lighthouse Rd., almost an hour and a half trip. Travel five miles to Mattole Campground.
MORE INFO: BLM, 707-986-5400 | LighthouseFriends.com/light.asp?ID=63
Avenue of the Giants
23 The Riverwood Inn
Although it may have died out elsewhere, the all-American roadhouse still survives in northern California. Roadhouses are small, old inns, usually with a dance hall, a tavern with extremely cold beer and some form of fresh, pub-style food, and usually found on an old highway or rural route, far beyond any city limits or bright lights. When the Eel River flooded out most of the little towns along the Avenue of the Giants in 1964, the water only rose to the back door of the Riverwood Inn in Phillipsville, sparing it to become a cult classic. The original structure, believed to have been built in the 1930s, has rocked as a roadhouse ever since. The Riverwood Inn is the last remaining roadhouse among scores that populated old Hwy 101. It is certainly the most famous. The Inn’s entertainment is legendary: John Lee Hooker, Norton Buffalo and Guitar Shorty have all played here to the delight of the road-weary.
The Riverwood Inn is open year-round, with a winter fire to greet travelers in the not-so-off season. It offers snug rooms, a full bar complete with vintage red velvet wallpaper, fresh authentic Mexican food and some of the best live music north of San Francisco.
24 Humboldt Redwoods State Park
The natural crown jewel of the county is Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This is the definitive spot to see the magnificence of California’s famous coastal redwoods. In the early part of the last century there was a nationwide effort to save what remained of the old-growth redwoods on California’s North Coast. Philanthropists and civic clubs began buying groves of trees for the purpose of preserving them. Humboldt Redwoods State Park was founded in 1921 with one of those purchases, the Bolling Memorial Grove, in honor of a fallen World War I soldier. Today, Humboldt Redwoods is California’s third largest state park, occupying 53,000 acres, including 17,000 acres of pristine old-growth redwoods. Humboldt Redwoods’ star attraction is the Avenue of the Giants. The park is rarely crowded, and offers more than 250 campsites in three large drive-in campgrounds. There are environmental, group, backcountry and horse camps. Hikers can enjoy more than 100 miles of trails, some of which are also open to equestrians and mountain bikers. The South Fork of the Eel River provides fishing, boating and great swimming holes. The park also features a number of day use areas. The Humboldt Redwoods Visitor Center, on the Avenue of the Giants between Myers Flat and Redcrest, is the heart of the park. It is large and comprehensive, staffed by knowledgeable volunteers.
25 The Myers Country Inn
The peaceful village of Myers Flat is nestled in the heart of the redwood forest, a centerpiece of the Avenue of the Giants. The Myers Country Inn, a delightful B&B, anchors the village which formed around it over 130 years ago when it was a stagecoach stop on the way to the Northern California gold fields. Jack London, the famous San Francisco author, was said to have stayed there often as he traveled up and down the old Pacific Highway on his many adventures. The inn still basks in period furnishings and revels in its history with old news clippings and photos hanging throughout the building. The ambience is as warm and friendly as the fireplace in the lobby, and the breakfasts are home cooked and country-hearty. The Myers Country Inn is surrounded by great amenities for the Redwood visitor. A winery and tasting room (Riverbend Cellars) are just across the Avenue. Directly across from the inn is a coffee shop and a market for your traveling convenience. Within walking distance of the inn are antique and collectibles shops, a coin-operated laundry and Myers Flat’s own Drive-Through Tree. Stay for an extended visit in perhaps the world’s most sublime forest, plan an eight-day eco-tour and experience life as it was when the stage line ran through this charming riverside village.
26 Shrine Drive Thru Tree
During the early 1920s, promoters of California’s tourism industry devised a clever way to entice visitors to see the captivating beauty of the redwood forests — cut a tunnel through a redwood and charge people a fee to drive their cars through to the other side. It was a great photo opportunity that quickly caught on. In time there were drive-thru trees, drive-on trees, walk-through trees and even step-thru stumps. Three trees with open trunks remain, one of them near Humboldt Redwoods State Park on Hwy 101. All are privately owned, charge a nominal entrance fee and are open daily year-round.
The Original Drive-Thru Tree in Myers Flat is one of California’s oldest tourist attractions. Known worldwide as the Shrine of the Redwoods, the natural opening in the tree was created by fire centuries ago. It is large enough for full sized autos and pickups to drive through. This Old Giant is 21 ft. across and 64 ft. around. The Shrine Tree along with the Drive-On Log, Tree House Village, Cathedral Trees, Rings of History and The Balance Tree are all part of the Shrine Drive Thru Tree Auto Park. Visit the gift shop for locally made items.
WHERE: off Hwy 101, Exit #656 on the
Avenue of the Giants, Myers Flat
MORE INFO: 707-925-6464 | DriveThruTree.com
27 Redwood Hiking Trails
Humboldt Redwoods State Park has hundreds of miles of trails. There are so many it’s hard to decide where to hike. View our map on pages 28 and 29 to see the location of different trailheads along the Avenue of the Giants. Listed here are the five best hikes chosen by the volunteers of the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association, who staff the Visitor Center. There is also a map available at the Visitor Center for a small fee clearly marking the location of the trails in the park.
- Founder’s Grove Nature Loop Trail. An easy hike, just over two-thirds of a mile in total. The trailhead is easy to find off the Avenue of the Giants about four miles north of the Visitor Center.
- Rockefeller Loop Trail in Rockefeller Forest. The trailhead is off Mattole Rd., about a mile west of where Mattole Rd. joins the Avenue of the Giants, four miles north of the Visitor Center. In this short hike which is just two-thirds of a mile long, hikers will find 17 of the world’s 100 tallest trees.
- Bull Creek Trail South. This is a seven-mile round-trip hike through the Bull Creek State Wilderness. At 10,000 acres, it is the largest section of old-growth redwood forest left. This trail is accessed off the Rockefeller Loop Trail.
- Johnson Camp Trail. This 10-mile round-trip trail has some steep sections as it climbs to a backcountry camp. Hikers will find deserted cabins the loggers once slept in, along with other artifacts from the heyday of logging. This is also an equestrian trail, so hikers may encounter horseback travelers along the way. The trailhead is about six miles west on Mattole Rd., across from the Albee Creek Campground.
- Grasshopper Multiuse Trail. This is a 14-mile round-trip that takes hikers to the fire lookout atop Grasshopper Peak, which tops out at 3,379 feet. It is an 8-hour round trip for average hikers who will enjoy stunning views of the entire park from the lookout. There is a backcountry campground just below the peak. This trail is also open to horses and bicycles. Access the trail from the Johnson Camp trailhead.
28 Eel River Swimming Holes
One of the most striking features of Humboldt County is the magnificent Eel River. The North and Middle Forks of the Eel have been designated as part of the National Wild and Scenic River system, and the Eel River’s watershed is the third largest in California. The river flows through five counties with winding lazy curves to churning whitewater. It runs parallel to the coast and Hwy 101. A large part of its run is through the Avenue of the Giants, making Hwy 101 and the Avenue two of the most scenic roads in Southern Humboldt.
The South Fork of the river skirts the eastern edge of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. During the summer months, the river’s tributaries are slow-moving streams that provide a number of natural pools and safe swimming holes. There are many river access sites within the park. Dyerville Flats, located where the South Fork joins the main branch of the Eel River, features restrooms, picnic tables, an overlook and ample parking. Dyerville is located four miles north of the Visitor Center and a short distance beyond the turnout for Founders Grove and the intersection of Mattole Rd.
The easiest river access to find from the Visitor Center is Gould Bar. A sign marks where the gravel road intersects Avenue of the Giants on the west, just tenths of a mile north of the center. A short drive takes you to two large swimming holes. You can also hike there from the Visitor Center’s parking lot or Burlington campground. High Rock is another access point that is easy to get to. Watch for the High Rock bar sign as you drive north on Avenue the Giants about six miles from the Visitor Center. A short drive down a gravel road takes you to a parking area. From there, it’s a short walk to the expansive bar that offers several ideal and placid sites.
MORE INFO: Humboldt Redwoods Visitor Center, 707-946-2263 | HumboldtRedwoods.org
29 The Immortal Tree
Along the Avenue of the Giants off Hwy 101 stands one of the most durable trees in history. The Immortal Tree is over 950 years old, and has experienced more trials and tribulations than any single tree should. It has been a victim of lightning strikes, fires, floods and the logger’s ax. Yet it still stands and continues to grow heartily. Look up and you’ll see a wooden fish attached to the trunk where the color of the bark changes. This indicates the high water mark when the area flooded in 1964. There’s also part of an ax left stuck in the tree where loggers tried to cut it down, but eventually gave up when the tree would not give way. Several times the Immortal Tree has been hit by lightning. The evidence of these strikes is on its scarred trunk. During its lifetime, through many forest fires, somehow this magical tree never burned down. This landmark makes for a wonderful photo opportunity and is a perfect spot for a picnic. From Memorial Day through Labor Day the site is also home to the “Hollow Log Truck.” Visitors can climb inside and photograph a hollowed-out section from a 1000-year-old redwood tree mounted on the bed of a 1945 White open-cab fire engine. You’ll find it parked by the spacious Burl n’ Drift Redwood Souvenir gift shop. Family owned and operated since 1967, it offers high quality, locally produced redwood items. They also added a new 49-space, state-of-the-art RV Park in 2007.
WHERE: 1 mile north of Redcrest on the Avenue of the Giants
MORE INFO: 707-722-4396 | AncientRedwoods.net
30 Redwood Visitor Center’s Travel Log
Inside the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Visitor Center resides a curious behemoth of a vehicle. It just may be the original RV. In 1917, Charles Kellogg, an American naturalist and lecturer, hoisted a six-ton hollowed-out giant redwood log onto the chassis of a Nash Quad, a large truck the Nash Company built for the military in World War I, one of the very first 4×4 vehicles. Kellogg used an axe and an adze to hollow out the log and fashion it into a cabin on wheels. Inside the log he built a complete home with a kitchenette, lockers, beds, dining table, dresser, electric lights, running water and a guest room. This was more than 90 years ago! The log is completely solid; the walls, ceiling, and floors are all one piece. To help preserve it, Kellogg hand rubbed 12 pounds of beeswax into the wood. Kellogg first toured the United States in his Travel Log to sell liberty bonds for the war effort. After the war, Kellogg, also known for his surreal ability to imitate bird calls, traveled the states to promote preserving California’s giant trees. He crossed the country four times in his lumbering motor home. Today, the Travel Log is in beautifully restored condition. Guests at the Visitor Center may get close to the log, but are not allowed inside it. The exhibit also features information about Kellogg’s life and teachings. This ancient truck is very delicate, and consequently is roped off to keep it preserved. However, if you want to have a similar experience, you can visit the Immortal Tree in Redcrest on the Avenue of the Giants, and climb aboard their lovingly restored log truck.
WHERE: on the Avenue of the Giants, State Rte. 254, between Weott and Myers Flat.
MORE INFO: 707-946-2263 | HumboldtRedwoods.org
31 Cuneo Creek Horse Camp
Cuneo Creek Horse Camp is a complete campground designed specifically for equestrians and their animals. The camp features five family campsites, accommodating up to eight campers each, with two corrals on each site. Two group campsites accommodate up to 90 campers and their horses, with a total of 28 corrals. The different sites also accommodate large trailers and RVs. The camp includes amenities for people and equines including showers, fire rings, picnic tables, water troughs, corrals, manure bins and hitching posts. The camp also includes day use areas with tie rails. Perhaps the best the camp has to offer is access to more than 50 miles of trails through the redwoods. Many of the trails are multiuse, open to hikers and mountain bikers, so caution is urged. The park is also home to black bears and mountain lions. The camp is located near Albee Campground, about three miles away, which features evening campfire programs, guided nature walks and Junior Ranger programs for children.
WHERE: Cuneo Creek Horse Camp is on Mattole Rd., about 8 miles east of its junction with the Avenue of the Giants.
MORE INFO: 800-444-7275
32 California Federation of Women’s Clubs Hearthstone
Early in the 20th century, women’s civic groups around California organized a statewide campaign to protect the redwoods in Humboldt County. In response, the California Federation of Women’s Clubs purchased a grove of giant redwoods next to the South Fork of the Eel River. In 1931, renowned San Francisco architect Julia Morgan, designer of the Hearst Castle, fashioned a monument to celebrate saving the grove from the loggers’ saw. Morgan’s monument stands today in the Federation’s grove, a peculiar four-sided hearth that features fireplaces facing each direction. Officially called the California Federation of Women’s Clubs Hearthstone, it was built of native stone and redwood timber. Morgan’s biographer wrote that the Hearthstone is a symbol for “the untouched nature of the forest and the Federation’s scrupulous protection of this heritage.” The California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove is easy to reach by car, and is a popular picnic place that includes two solid redwood picnic tables big enough to accommodate a family reunion. There is also a popular swimming hole by the grove.
WHERE: Take Avenue of the Giants about 3 miles north from the Visitor Center. A sign marks a narrow road that runs to the west several hundred yards into the forest, to a parking lot. The hearthstone sits under several tall trees, a few feet back from a bank that overlooks the Eel River.
33 The Eternal Tree House
The Eternal Tree House is a fascinating stop on the Avenue of the Giants, a one-time natural colossus that stood for more than 2,500 years before being reduced to a surviving stump. The still-living stump contains a huge cavern caused by fire centuries ago. It had been used first by Indians and later trappers, hunters, travelers and their livestock for shelter. In the early 1900s, Harry McLeod, an expert wood splitter, hewed out the interior with an ax and adz. The 20-foot room was refined in 1950 and a gift shop was established inside the stump. The walls still bear the marks of the work and are mementos of an all but lost art. The tree itself is said to have parented many surrounding trees from its burl. A burl is a hard conglomerate of many dormant buds; an original single bud grew, but failed to develop into a branch. The irregular growth then divided and redivided until a lump (burl) formed. Sometimes the overgrowth is actually a form of scar tissue, resulting from a past injury to the tree.
The Eternal Tree House offers free admission, a cafe and a gift shop with a large selection of locally crafted redwood products. There is parking for RVs and buses.
WHERE: 26510 Avenue of the Giants, Redcrest (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-722-4262
Hwy 36 & Ruth Lake
34 Scenic Highway 36 and Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park
One of the most beautiful stretches of road in Humboldt County, Hwy 36 winds its way up, down, around, along, over and through some of the prettiest meadows, forests, rivers, rolling hills and rugged mountains in northern California. Starting just south of Fortuna and running roughly 140 miles to Red Bluff on Hwy I-5, this is a superbly scenic route. Rather than level the road, the original crew followed the lay of the land when they built it, producing swinging twists and turns that make this route particularly fun on two wheels. There is even a section that winds around a mountain with jagged cliffs and steep drop-offs. The pavement is nearly perfect; motorcyclists give this ride rave reviews, but it’s also a gorgeous, fun drive if you’re in a car. Be sure to bring a camera.
Less than half an hour out from your starting point on US Hwy 101 you’ll find Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park. Located on the tranquil Van Duzen River, this 400 acre stand of redwoods with 28 campsites is a gem. Reservations are recommended if you plan on spending the night.
WHERE: 3 miles south of Fortuna on Hwy 101 take Hwy 36 east at Alton. It is 17 miles to Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park and another 120 miles or so to Red Bluff.
MORE INFO: 707-777-3683 | Parks.CA.gov
35 Historic Victorian Village of Ferndale
Ferndale was settled in 1852, and by the 1880s it had become a bustling agricultural, dairy and transportation center. Immigrants from Scandinavia, Italy and Portugal gravitated to this thriving community. Today, the entire one-square-mile village is a California Historical Landmark, with its Main Street listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is considered the best-preserved Victorian village in California.
This idyllic town of 1,400 people has in many ways remained unchanged since the 1890s. By taking a tour down Main Street you will encounter the photogenic beauty of delightful shops and ornate buildings. Stroll past charming churches dating back to the 1800s, and carefully restored Victorian homes with stunning gardens. While on Main Street, enjoy the fine restaurants, art galleries, antique stores and specialty shops. You may also recognize parts of the town from the motion pictures “The Majestic” and “Outbreak.”
MORE INFO: 707-786-4477 | VictorianFerndale.org
36 Centerville County Park and Beach
Just outside Ferndale, discover a pristine beach on the Pacific Ocean that stretches for nine miles with dairy farms to the north and steep cliffs to the south. At Centerville County Park and Beach, have an exciting afternoon filled with hiking, picnicking, beachcombing and wildlife viewing. Sandpipers dance on the water’s edge and cormorants, pelicans and gulls soar over the water in search of a meal. Between the middle of November and the beginning of March, Eel River Bottoms, visible from the beach, has one of the largest coastal congregations of tundra swans. You can spot harbor seals sunbathing on the breakers a short way from the shore. Gray whales can be seen from the beach, migrating south during the winter months and heading north from January through May. You may even see mother whales and their babies coming close to shore in April and May. One of the best lookouts is just south of the beach on Centerville Rd. ATVs, 4-wheel drive vehicles and even horses are welcome to travel the sand. You can even acquire a special permit and go fishing for night smelt. There is no camping on the beach, but it can be enjoyed from 5 a.m. to midnight.
WHERE: 5 miles west of Ferndale on Centerville Rd.
MORE INFO: 707-445-7651
37 Historic Ferndale Cemetery
A stroll through Ferndale’s Cemetery is a trip through the history of the town and the people who founded it. Some of the headstones date back to the 1800s, and many of the town’s first pioneers and most venerable citizens have been laid to rest here. The graves are carefully tended and you’ll often find fresh flowers on even the oldest of gravestones. Take a walk among the tombstones and mausoleums, and experience the lofty vantage point; the cemetery sits on a hill overlooking the town, which affords visitors panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, the town of Ferndale, and the Eel River Valley.
WHERE: on Bluff St., just a block away from downtown Ferndale.
38 Korobi Stables
A great way to enjoy the North Coast from a different perspective is to ride on horseback. While horseback riding anywhere can be an adventure, taking a ride in Humboldt County is the opportunity to enjoy a uniquely special experience. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the beaches, the rivers, the forest and the plains while riding atop these wonderful animals gives you a connection to nature you can rarely find.
Korobi Stables of Fortuna specializes in giving you a chance to appreciate the wonders of this paradise on horseback. Take a guided trail ride with one of their professional, experienced cowgirls and savor beautiful views of the Eel River in sunny Fortuna. Riding a horse allows you access to trails you cannot take by vehicle, so chances are you will get to see places you have never seen. Korobi Stables also offers riding lessons for both children and adults of all experience levels. Lessons are aimed at building balance, body alignment and communication skills between the rider and the horse. Proper horsemanship and safety is their top priority. Other services they offer include pony parties, horse training and boarding.
MORE INFO: 707-496-6004
39 Rohner Park
Treat yourself and your family to a day in the park. Fortuna’s Rohner Park has a long history of memory-making for local folks and visitors alike. Nestled in a sunny spot, bounded by natural creeks and surrounded by old growth redwoods, it’s perfect for short hikes, picnics and hours of play. The park features a playground, tot lot, horseshoe pits, basketball court and immaculate baseball fields — even free Wi-Fi. There are many beautiful trails on the hillside where you can get lost in the ferns and see some of the oldest redwoods in the area, all within blocks of a small town main street.
The park is a favorite celebration spot and offers an updated cook shack, deep pit barbecue pits and a large picnic area with an outdoor fireplace. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, community breakfasts and hundreds of family reunions have taken place at the long tables in this wonderful outdoor party room.
Rohner Park’s famous rodeo grounds have been the training grounds for most of the area’s cowgirls and cowboys, and each summer hosts the Fortuna Rodeo. Fortuna’s beloved Depot Museum, which holds many of the city’s historical records, artifacts and treasures, is located at the park’s entrance. The Firemen’s Pavilion has hosted weekend roller-skating for several generations and is also a favorite dance and party venue.
40 Fortuna Depot Museum
In 1889 the Eel River and Eureka Railroad constructed a depot at the foot of 7th Street. It remained in service through 1965, and in 1974 the City of Fortuna purchased it and moved it to Rohner Park. The depot building opened as a museum on July 4, 1976 amid Bicentennial celebrations.
Featured displays include railroad and logging artifacts, a collection of local Native American basketry, a general store display, a fishing collection, a Rohner family history exhibit in the old ticket office, and the Fortuna and Scotia Volunteer Fire Department exhibit. In the museum’s Reference Room visitors can research genealogy and local history. Reference Room resources include 35 Fortuna Union High School scrapbooks of newspaper clippings dating from the 1920s through the present, compiled by the FUHS librarians and students. There is also a complete collection of the high school’s Megaphone yearbook, from 1906 to the present.
A favorite display with younger visitors is Caboose #11, built for the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in 1909 and parked next to the museum building. After its railroad days ended, the caboose spent 30 years as the shipping office for the Eel River Sawmills. In 2006 it was donated to the Depot Museum. Visitors can also try out the museum’s train whistle, and learn the meanings of different whistle signals (such as two long blasts, one short, and one long, meaning “Train is coming to a crossing”). Admission is free. Open June through August daily, noon to 4:30 p.m.; September through May, Thursday through Sunday, noon to 4:30 p.m.
41 Chapman’s Gem & Mineral Shop and Museum
Man has been awed for thousands of years by the beauty created in nature, such as the stunning gems and minerals found deep below the earth’s surface. A wonderful collection of these rocks can be seen at Chapman’s Gem & Mineral Shop and Museum just outside of Fortuna.
The shop and museum feature strikingly lovely stones from around the world for you to view at your leisure. Not only will you see gems in a huge range of color, shape and size in this impressively large collection, but also a petrified palm display, precious stones, Native American and pre-Columbian artifacts, fossilized animal and plant life and a display of meteorite samples. An ultraviolet room offers the chance to view fluorescent mineral specimens in vivid splendor.
To get a full understanding of the collection, take the museum’s informal tour. This is a great experience for the geologist at heart. In the shop, purchase everything from stones, minerals, crystals and fossils to jewelry, books, carvings and shells. To purchase or just view some of the most beautiful stones in the world, Chapman’s Gem & Mineral Shop and Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
WHERE: 4 miles south of Fortuna off Hwy 101 (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-725-2714
42 Salmon Pass Trail
Here is your chance to explore Headwaters Forest Reserve with a knowledgeable guide, a Park Ranger who will introduce you to the wonders of this magical old-growth forestland.
The first half mile of the trail passes through a young to mid-aged forest with views of restored watershed areas. The next 2 miles ascend through the old-growth redwood forest with a stunning view across the Salmon Creek watershed before looping back as it descends through the old growth. This hike is considered moderately strenuous, and is difficult for children under 10. The round trip is about 2.7 miles long and takes 3 to 4 hours. Guided hikes are offered May through November, and are available by reservation only.
MORE INFO: 707-825-2300 | BLM.gov
43 Loleta Cheese Factory
The processes used to make some of the most delectable dairy foods in the world involve the finest ingredients, lots of labor and, most importantly, love. In Loleta you can learn about the process involved in producing award-winning cheeses and sample a mouth-watering variety of these savory treats. Every step of the cheese-making process takes place before your eyes behind large windows. The family-run Loleta Cheese Factory has been open since 1982.
This quaint factory produces an amazing two million pounds of cheese each year. Several organic varieties are produced, with 34 cheeses in all, including Monterey Jack, Havarti, Fontina, Colby Jack, Humboldt Garden Cheddar and Real Humboldt Gold. Cheese and food lovers will enjoy a trip to this delightful factory and its extensive gift shop. The Loleta Cheese Factory is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: 252 Loleta Dr., Loleta (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-733-5470 | LoletaCheese.com
44 Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Perhaps the most delightful way to experience the Victorian seaport of Old Town Eureka is by horse-drawn carriage. Fortunately, that’s easily enough done. Brendan Fearon, who hails from the Victorian seaport of Liverpool, England, will happily take you on a tour of Old Town in his gloriously restored vis-à-vis (French for the “face-to-face” seats) carriage, pulled by either Barney or Buster, his Percheron draft horses.
Brendan has been driving carriages for three decades, and is as much a part of the experience as the horse, the carriage and Old Town itself. Witty and articulate, he is a veritable living guidebook. As you travel in and around the waterfront and past delightful old Victorians with ornate fronts at speeds of up to three miles per hour, Brendan will point out landmarks and relate tales of the history and culture of the area. This is sightseeing at its best, and an experience you won’t want to miss.
Carriage rides are also available outside of Eureka. Thanks to his trailer, Brendan can transport horse and carriage to special events from Trinidad to Garberville.
WHERE: 2nd and F Streets at Old Town Square, Old Town Eureka
MORE INFO: 646-591-2058
45 Eureka’s Historic Buildings
In the Victorian style of architecture, more is better: more decorative flourishes; more ornate carvings, turrets and gables; more craftsmen and more embellishment. Take a walk through time with a self-guided tour of Eureka’s grand old Victorian “Queens.”
Eureka is well-known for its Victorian architecture, and the city’s streets are a treasure trove of elaborate and lovingly restored buildings. The Carson Mansion — perhaps the most-photographed Victorian in America — is said to have employed more than 100 craftsmen at one time for the carving, finishing and installing of its intricate decorative flourishes. There are over 1600 historically-designated and noteworthy examples of Victorian homes all over Eureka proper. If you are a Victorian buff, take a meander through the easy-to-navigate streets of Eureka and see a town whose history is still proudly standing. Almost every street in Eureka’s Old Town boasts at least one Victorian.
In addition to its famous Victorians, Eureka also boasts an impressive collection of historic buildings in other architectural styles, including French Second Empire, Greek Revival, Italianate, Eastlake and Queen Anne. Many are on the National Register of Historic Places.
MORE INFO: Eureka Main Street, 707-442-9054 | EurekaMainStreet.org
46 M.V. Madaket Humboldt Bay Harbor Cruise
Climb aboard the Madaket to enjoy a relaxing 75-minute voyage along the shores of Humboldt Bay. The M.V. Madaket was built in 1910 and is the last survivor of seven original ferries which transported families and mill workers around Humboldt Bay for decades. Today it sits as the oldest passenger motor vessels in continuous service in the entire United States. Between May and October, you can hop on board for a tour and learn about local history, industries, activities, points of interest and wildlife.
There are a number of trips to choose from. The 75-minute narrated cruise takes you along the shores of the bay and Eureka’s waterfront while you learn a bit about the area you’re visiting. A one-hour cocktail cruise will show you the sights and sounds of the bay while you enjoy a drink from the smallest licensed bar in California. You can privately charter the boat for up to 44 of your friends for a birthday, anniversary or other special event. The M.V. Madaket is run by the friendly people at Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum, which is located in Samoa. The museum focuses on the boating history of the bay.
WHERE: departs from the foot of C St. in Old Town Eureka.
MORE INFO: 707-445-1910 | HumboldtBayMaritimeMuseum.com
47 Humboldt Coastal Nature Center
The growing, green-roofed Humboldt Coastal Nature Center in Manila, founded by Friends of the Dunes, is unique in our region. It is the public gateway to over 1000 acres of coastal lands including the dunes near Arcata and Eureka, possibly Humboldt’s best-kept secret. From the Nature Center you can explore on your own or enjoy guided hikes highlighting bird-watching, mushrooms, dune movement, even observation of hive-less solitary bees that live in the sand. On one ten-minute trail alone, you can start at a marsh, walk through a pigmy forest, pick huckleberries, count birds, run (or roll) down massive sand dunes, and dip your toes in the ocean!
Thanks to decades of restoration work by Friends of the Dunes, these coastal dunes may be the most biologically diverse habitat in Humboldt County, and are among the most pristine dunes of their kind on the planet. The wind and sand dance with the Pacific, creating both turbulence and serenity. Saltwater marshes give way to lichen-draped forests, with foxes, tree frogs, wildflowers and the endangered Humboldt Bay wallflower found along the trail.
The Nature Center’s facilities and programming make it the only center on California’s North Coast where people of all ages and abilities experience and learn about all the diverse habitats of the Humboldt Bay area. The Humboldt Coastal Nature Center’s exhibits, trails and programs combine experiential education, conservation-minded recreational access, and hands-on restoration activities to increase public understanding of local coastal environments and to inspire community-driven stewardship of these fragile resources. Trails and restrooms are free and open during daylight hours. The interpretive center, also free, is open to the public 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and during weekdays when staff is present (generally Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.).
WHERE: Take Hwy 255 north from Eureka or south from Arcata to Manila. Turn west on Stamps Lane and follow the signs to 220 Stamps Lane. You’ll find self-guided tour brochures in the sign-in box next to the trailhead.
MORE INFO: 707-444-1397 | FriendsOfTheDunes.org
48 Kayaking or Paddleboarding on Humboldt Bay
Humboldt Bay offers excellent paddling adventures for everyone from the novice to the expert. Several companies offer kayaking and paddleboarding on the bay, with guided tours available and equipment for rent. They will also provide you with information on tides, safety, touring without leaving a trace, and other related topics.
- Humboldt State University’s Center Activities program offers guided tours around the Bay, with wildlife-watching in the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, tours of Eureka’s waterfront and Woodley Island, and an Arcata to Eureka tour in the northern end of the Bay. From late May through mid-October they also hold Family Fun Day on Sunday afternoons, with a remarkably affordable family package that includes kayak rental.
MORE INFO: 707 826-3357, 443-4222 | Humboldt.edu
- Pacific Outfitters rents kayaks and canoes, and has everything needed to get out on the water or in the wilderness.
MORE INFO: Arcata 707-822-0321, Eureka 443-6328 | PacificOutfitters.com
- All Out SUP is a standup paddleboard eco-tour business offering a basic flatwater standup paddleboarding lesson, followed by a tour around Humboldt Bay including Woodley Island and the marina, the Samoa bridges area and the boardwalk in Old Town Eureka.
MORE INFO: 707-616-0532 | AllOutSUP.com
49 Woodley Island
One of three natural islands in Humboldt Bay, Woodley Island offers sightseeing with a nautical flavor. Its marina is the largest in Humboldt Bay, with 217 slips for commercial and recreational vessels as well as guest docking facilities. It offers sailors a laundry, restrooms and showers, hoists, and other support services.
You can watch fishing boats come and go, and buy fresh fish and crab right off the boats. For a real treat, relax and enjoy the Café Marina and Woodley Bar. The island also has its own National Weather Service station, and is the headquarters for the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District.
Woodley Island is home to “The Fisherman,” a memorial statue created by artist Dick Crane. It commemorates the mariners who have lost their lives at sea, and can be easily spotted from Old Town Eureka. Woodley Island is also the relocated home of the old Table Bluff Lighthouse tower, which was moved there in 1987.
Roughly half the island’s area is a protected wildlife sanctuary. There are two freshwater ponds. Bird-watchers come to catch glimpses of godwits, pelicans, grebes, loons and egrets. The egrets, which are frequently spotted, come from a rookery on nearby Indian Island.
WHERE: Besides being accessible by water, Woodley Island can also be reached by car. Take Hwy 255 west for .6 mile from its intersection with Hwy 101 at the northern end of Eureka.
MORE INFO: 707-443-0801 | HumboldtBay.org/woodley-island-marina
50 Samoa Cookhouse and Logging Museum
For the experience of friends and family sitting down for a casual dinner, talking over the day’s events and catching up on life, head to the Samoa Cookhouse, which has been serving “family-style” breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1894. This dining experience is unique. For instance, there are no menus. Delicious meals are prepared every day by skillful chefs and when you sit down in the old style dining rooms, you are served the food they have made for the day.
The food comes piping hot to the table in large bowls and platters for your family to share and pass around. Some would call this “family style,” but at the Cookhouse they refer to it as “lumber camp style.” This is because the Samoa Cookhouse was founded for mill and dockworkers in the 1890s, and it is the last logging camp-type cookhouse in the western United States.
When you’re done with your meal, visit the on-site museum. It is full of relics, photos, as well as historic logging and lumber camp cookhouse artifacts. The Samoa Cookhouse is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner year-round.
51 Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum
Humboldt Bay was settled in the early 19th century and has had a rich seafaring history filled with adventure, passion, and especially, disaster. From 1850 to 1914, the best way to carry passengers and goods to and from this area was by sea. Between the 1850s and 1940s, more than 40 ships, and more if you count fishing boats, met their demise in and around the treacherous harbor entrance.
Many aspects of maritime life of the North Coast and Humboldt Bay come alive as soon as you step through the door of the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum. It is filled with artifacts that will show you about the shipwrecks, shipbuilding, lumber schooners, fishing boats, ferries, tugs and the lighthouses that lit the way for all boats to pass safely into the harbor. They even have a lighthouse lens from the middle of the 19th century. The M.V. Madaket, a 1910 passenger ferry located at the foot of F St., offers cruises around Humboldt Bay and is also operated by the museum.
52 Humboldt Botanical Gardens
In the Humboldt Botanical Garden family members of all ages can relax and experience the wonders of nature. This 44.5 acre garden features five major gardens and many hiking trails, all beckoning the visitor to come and explore them. The Humboldt Botanical Garden is a place where plants, nature and the environment truly come alive.
Whether you just need a break from a hectic day, want to picnic with your family or need a place to hike, the Humboldt Botanical Garden is a must-see destination. The garden is also a great place to get information on plants that grow in the local climate and to inspire you with new ideas to take home to your own garden.
Humboldt Botanical Gardens is a member of the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal Admissions Program. The Garden is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $5 for nonmembers over the age of 12. Members and children are free.
WHERE: next to College of the Redwoods just south of Eureka. From Hwy 101 take exit 698 to the north College of the Redwoods entrance where you will see signs leading you to the garden.
MORE INFO: 707-442-5139 | HBGF.org
53 Blue Ox Millworks and Historic Park
Blue Ox Millworks is a manufacturer of authentic Victorian-style architectural millwork. Antique equipment ranging from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s is used for making custom doors, windows, turnings and Victorian gingerbread that is shipped nationwide. Tooling also includes the world’s largest collection of operating Barnes Brothers Equipment Company human-powered tools. Over the past 38 years the craftsmen at Blue Ox have produced woodwork for the renovation of many historic buildings including governors’ mansions, national park visitor centers, saloons, historic cathedrals and hundreds of private historic homes as well as new homes.
The Millworks offers guided tours, but you can also tour at your own pace and observe the woodworkers in action, as well as enjoy learning about America’s frontier past by visiting the historic logging camp, the blacksmith shop, ceramics studio, letterpress print shop, apothecary and boatworks. Learn how to use local clays, how to create experimental glazes utilizing formulas from as far back as the 1400s and how to make stains and varnishes from natural elements. A gift store is available featuring items made by the high school students of Blue Ox Community School, an alternative school that operates on the premises.
Self-guided tours can be taken Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, and Saturdays from 9 am until 4 pm, or until 1 pm on Saturdays in winter. Workshops and guided group tours are also available.
54 Parasol Arts Pottery Painting
Paint your own pottery: choose from over 100 different ceramic items, from dinnerware, cookie jars and pitchers to holiday ornaments, tiles, toy banks and treasure boxes. Leave your mark with a handprint or footprint, or paint your masterpiece on a kitchen backsplash. Mosaic supplies are also now available. Create your mosaic in the store or take supplies home. No scheduled classes; walk-ins are welcome. Parasol staff members give each visitor individual attention, instruction and inspiration.
The paints are lead-free and nontoxic, and your finished piece will be food-safe. This is a great activity for the entire family. Everyone can get involved and create something of their very own.
The price of the pottery includes paints, firing, and all the studio time you need. For larger groups, Parasol Arts also does birthday parties, private parties and fundraisers. Discounts are available for nonprofit organizations and schools, including Humboldt County’s homeschool network. Call the store for group discounts.
WHERE: 211 G St., Eureka (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-268-8888
55 Morris Graves Museum of Art
The Morris Graves Museum of Art in downtown Eureka is dedicated to the arts and artists of the Pacific Northwest, including the works of its patron artist, Morris Graves. It is housed in the refurbished old Eureka Carnegie Library building, a grand structure originally completed in 1904.
The museum is home to the Humboldt Arts Council, whose Permanent Art Collection was created with the purpose of publicly displaying original works of art in Humboldt County schools to give children the opportunity to “live with art.” The artists’ visions and styles and the media they employed vary across a remarkable range, and the quality of the work is consistently top-notch. The exhibits will in turn surprise, delight, awe, and inspire you, and fire your imagination.
The Morris Graves Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
56 Clarke Historical Museum
The rich and diverse history of Humboldt County and California’s northern coast come alive at the Clarke Historical Museum in Eureka. Housed in a 1912 bank building, the museum is devoted to the preservation and presentation of many facets of the area’s past. You will be taken on a historical journey, beginning with the culture of the land’s original Native American inhabitants, and continuing to the present day. The museum has a strong focus on Native American basketry and ceremonial regalia. There is also an extensive collection of antique weapons and photographs. View ceramics, costumes, ethnic and tribal art, Victorian decorative art, furniture, paintings and prints. The museum has a fascinating display of items from the Victorian period. The museum also offers hands-on workshops for more in-depth studies of the lives of the people who made Humboldt County what it is today. Admission is free, and it is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and during First Saturday Night Arts Alive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Docent-led tours can be provided by special request. Don’t forget to ask about the resident “ghost”!
57 Sculptures in Old Town and Downtown
The City of Eureka has installed an array of abstract sculptures in the Old Town and Downtown areas, which form an art walk between the Morris Graves Museum and Old Town, linking up with art that is already present in public areas.
The sculptures were donated by Janis Milstead of the San Francisco Bay Area, and are the work of several of the founding members of the Pacific Rim Sculpture Group, an organization intended to bring Bay Area sculptors together to share their love of art and show their work.
Also recently, sculptures have been added to the newly opened C Street Market Square. The market is a project of the Eureka Redevelopment Agency and is located at the foot of C St. along Eureka’s waterfront.
Humboldt County is known for its commitment to the arts and its large population of artists. Public arts installations like these help further cement that reputation. There are plans to add more sculpture installations throughout the downtown area in the coming years.
MORE INFO: Eureka Main Street at 707-442-9054 | EurekaMainStreet.org
58 Eureka’s Murals
One of the great things about Eureka is the amazing support the town gives to local artists. A particularly enjoyable result of that is the public outdoor art that appears in the form of murals on the walls of buildings all over Eureka, especially in Old Town and Downtown. One of the best ways to appreciate this amazing outdoor art is to take the self-guided walking tour, which will lead you to many of the murals. You will get a short explanation of the significance of each mural, and learn who painted the work of art in front of you. You will see amazing pieces like “Indian Island,” “Alley Cats” and “Busy Dogs,” among many others. Artist Duane Flatmo, who painted many of these murals, has garnered significant attention for his whimsical, neo-cubist style.
The tremendous colors and inspiring scenes depicted in its murals add so much to Eureka. This fabulous little tour gives you a chance to breathe the fresh coastal air and feel the sunshine on your face while you enjoy the brilliant artwork sprawled across the cityscape. After the walking tour you can take a short drive, shown on your map, to see more of Eureka’s murals.
To get the self-guided map of the town, stop by the Chamber of Commerce at 2112 Broadway and ask for the Eureka Murals Walking Tour Guide.
MORE INFO: 707-442-3738 | EurekaChamber.com
59 Humboldt Roller Derby
Combine athletic women, hot pants, a great announcer, food, beer, a live band, a family-filled crowd and what do you get? Humboldt Roller Derby, of course.
Roller derby is one of the fastest growing sports in America according to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). When you attend a Humboldt Roller Derby event it is easy to understand why — this is a lot of fun. There are fans of all ages with signs, custom T-shirts and painted faces filling the Francheschi Hall at Redwood Acres. A live band, “The Blow Hards,” plays during each intermission and a DJ keeps the groove going playing songs during each match. This is all on top of a wonderful halftime performance by the Derby Darlings.
The match itself, or bout as it’s called, is also very entertaining. The action is fast-paced and something is constantly happening. Unlike what you might expect, there is very little aggressive play on the floor. Mostly there is just a lot of solid competition in a fun-minded manner. All the players work very hard to fulfill their set roles on each team. For newcomers to the sport, the announcer also offers a clear explanation of rules and strategy throughout each bout.
If you are looking for a fun sporting event to enjoy with the family, it doesn’t get much more entertaining than Humboldt Roller Derby. Visit their website for specific bout dates or to get more information on the team in general.
WHERE: home matches are held at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds
MORE INFO: HumboldtRollerDerby.com
60 Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park, located just outside of Eureka, is a must-see for history buffs. Situated on a bluff overlooking Humboldt Bay, Fort Humboldt was established in 1853 when the Gold Rush resulted in hostilities between Native Americans and gold seekers. At its operational peak, the fort had 14 buildings. A young Ulysses S. Grant was a captain here for five months after the Mexican-American War. Later, it became the headquarters for the Humboldt Military District, which included Fort Bragg and Wright in Mendocino County, Fort Ter-Wer in Klamath and Camp Lincoln near Crescent City.
The fort was auctioned to farmers in 1870 and soon fell into decay. In 1955, Fort Humboldt State Historic Park was established and repairs began on the fort. So far, only the hospital and surgeon’s quarters have been restored. They are used as museums with exhibits showing the history of the area and how the fort operated. A historic garden has been planted with herbs and vegetables that were available in the 1850s. You can also see 19th and mid-20th century logging equipment, such as “Lucy,” a Dolbeer-type steam donkey, and two locomotives. Guided tours can be arranged. The park is open from 8 am until 5 p.m. daily, and there is no entrance fee.
61 Sequoia Park Zoo
Sequoia Park Zoo is five acres of fun, adventure, and education for children and adults alike. The AZA-accredited zoo and adjacent Sequoia Park, crisscrossed by trails through the magnificent old-growth redwoods, together make an ideal countryside-in-town day out for the whole family. Take a trip to South America with the Chilean flamingos, Orinoco geese, southern screamers, Patagonian cavies, rheas, and Chacoan peccaries. Then it’s off to the Himalayas to visit with the enchanting family of red pandas and shaggy yaks. Stroll over to the Barnyard to meet the llamas, alpacas, rabbits, and donkeys, and interact directly with sheep, goats and chickens in the Contact Corral. Take a break for lunch at the Zoo’s popular Funky Monkey Café, and then visit with the primates — white-handed gibbons and some of the longest-lived spider monkeys in the country.
Take a walk on the wild side with the new African bush dog brothers, then duck into the walk-through aviary with stunning scarlet ibises, chattering Guira cuckoos, dazzling golden pheasants, stunning Nicobar pigeons, and a dozen other feathered friends. Finish up your visit in The Secrets of the Forest indoor exhibit, where you’ll discover there’s a lot more going on in the redwood forests than just the trees. In fact, there’s a whole ecosystem in the canopy of those old-growth redwoods 300 feet above your head — something to think about when you take a stroll through Sequoia Park after leaving the zoo.
Before you leave, be sure to visit the Zoo Gift Shop and browse the diverse selection of local and sustainably made items that will keep the memories of your visit alive for many years to come.
A perfect family day on the Redwood Coast begins with Sequoia Park Zoo. The Zoo is open seven days
62 Headwaters Forest Reserve
Imagine standing under a towering forest canopy, streams of light coming through the leaves and the gentle twitter of birds echoing from the woods surrounding you. This is a beautifully tranquil experience, which everyone should have at least once in their life. The Headwaters Forest Reserve, just south of Eureka, offers an ideal setting for this experience. The reserve serves as a habitat for threatened animals, such as the marbled murrelet and the coho salmon. There are two different sections to this 7,500-acre forest. The northern section is open from dawn to dusk for anyone wanting a pleasurable hike through the redwoods. The Elk River Trail is an 11-mile hike past streams, the south fork of the Elk River and several magnificent old-growth stands. The Elk River Trail is a wilderness area, and wild animals such as bear and mountain lion do inhabit the region.
One mile into the Elk River Trail hike you will find the remains of what was once a mill town called Falk, named after its founder Noah Falk, who migrated here in the late 1800s during the Gold Rush. Upon arrival Falk was enamored with the redwoods and came to see them as his own form of gold. He built a sawmill on the site, and a town with a population of nearly 400 sprung up around it. The mill and the town operated for nearly 30 years until the Great Depression in 1937, when the mill shut down and the town followed shortly after. Through the mid 1900s Falk was a ghost town, and in 1979 the buildings were finally taken down due to liability factors. Today, hikers along the Elk River Trail can see traces of the town. Interpretative signs along the trail point out the sites where the mill and the town’s buildings once stood. Now all that remain are haunting foundations, ghostly relics of metal machinery left behind, and the giant stumps of age-old trees.
The other portion of the reserve, the southern end, can only be accessed on a BLM-led guided hike, beginning at Newburg Park in Fortuna. See Salmon Pass Trail 101 Thing To Do (#40) on page 46 to learn more.
WHERE: six miles southeast of Eureka along Elk River County Rd.
MORE INFO: Bureau of Land Management at 707 825-2300 | BLM.gov
63 Samoa Dunes Recreation Area
If you love to ride your ATV or have been itching to try the sport, head to the Samoa Dunes Recreation Area. This is a great place to go for an afternoon of launching up and over sand dunes, making sharp turns and triggering sand to shoot into the air. With more than 140 acres of trails and beach, there is plenty of space to play. There is also a 75-acre riding area known as Eureka Dunes, which is now open to off-highway vehicles. It extends about one mile north of the park. Take a break from all the fun to cook some food on one of the grills. If you are not an ATV enthusiast, you’ll still enjoy the many other activities the park provides, such as strolling down the jetty, hiking, surfing, fishing, seeing the starfish clinging to the jetty rocks, beachcombing or bird-watching.
A variety of sea- and shore-birds can be seen nesting and resting in the cypress tree groves throughout the 300-acre park. The northeast 40 acres are dedicated to the protection of the Humboldt Bay wallflower, which is now an endangered plant. While walking around, you may even encounter heaps of shells, which were discarded by the Wiyot Indians who used this land long ago as a seasonal gathering site for shellfish.
The Samoa Dunes Recreation Area provides fun opportunities for every member of the family, but ATVs are not available to rent.
WHERE: take Hwy 255 off Hwy 101 in Eureka. Go across the Samoa Bridge and turn left (south) onto New Navy Base Rd. Drive about four miles down the road to the end.
MORE INFO: 707-825-2300 | BLM.gov
64 Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Pristine and unique, the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge just south of Eureka is a world-class destination for bird-watchers and other nature enthusiasts. It was established in 1971 primarily because of its importance as wintering and stopover habitat for tens of thousands of migratory birds, but it is home to a great diversity of mammals, fish, amphibians, invertebrates and plants as well.
Another important function of the wildlife refuge is to provide the public with high-quality opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife. A universally accessible deck and short boardwalk attached to the Richard J. Guadagno Visitor Center provide a wildlife observation area for all visitors, including those with severe mobility challenges. The Shorebird Loop Trail (1.7 miles round trip) adjacent to the visitor center is level, and made up of gravel and packed dirt. It features an observation kiosk and interpretive panels, and is open daily during visitor center hours. It is one of many hiking trails. Those who would rather explore the refuge by water can launch canoes and kayaks at Hookton Slough.
Peak wildlife-viewing season at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge is November through April. The climax is from mid-March through mid-April when upwards of 60,000 Aleutian cackling geese (also known as “Canadian honkers” and formerly called Aleutian Canada geese) stage their annual “fly-off.” The population of these birds has made one of the most astounding recoveries in the history of wildlife management, soaring from fewer than 800 individual birds in 1974 to more than 120,000 today.
The Richard J. Guadagno Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except federal holidays) and has dioramas and an observation room equipped with telescopes. Binoculars and a “Discover Pack” that includes identification guides and magnifying glasses are available for checkout. Enjoy a solitary stroll over the various trails, or take one of the guided walks offered on the first Wednesday and second Sunday of every month. These walks leave the visitor center at 9 am. Sorry, no dogs allowed in HBNWR.
WHERE: Begin at the Richard Guadagno Visitor Center, 1020 Ranch Rd., off the Hwy 101 Hookton Rd. Exit in Loleta.
MORE INFO: 707-733-5406 | FWS.gov/refuge/humboldt_bay
65 Auto Races and Motorcycle Races
Redwood Acres Raceway at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka is a semi-banked oval, 3/8-mile, asphalt racetrack. It has a vintage covered grandstand with a snack bar for refreshments. The track is lighted for nighttime racing and has ample parking adjacent to the facility. Spectators can see exciting racing consisting of a wide variety of events, ranging from Sportsman’s, Real Stocks, Limited Street and Mini Stocks. Special events may include the All Star Race Truck Series, BCRA Midgets and the North State Challenge Series, as well as BCRA Vintage Midgets. Monster Truck events feature some of the top-name performers in the country.
MORE INFO: 707-445-3037 | RedwoodAcres.com
Samoa Drag Strip, located south of the Samoa Cookhouse near the end of the Samoa Peninsula, is a 1/4-mile NHRA Sanctioned Drag strip. From Eureka, go across the Samoa Bridge, turn left and head south to access the drag strip. Witness awesome power and explosive acceleration from 0 to unbelievable speeds in the quarter mile. Race cars in these events range from ordinary family cars out to see what they can do, to fire-breathing dragsters. Motorcycle races are also a regular at the racetrack. Most racing events occur on weekends with some races on Thursday nights.
MORE INFO: SamoaDragStrip.com
66 Public Activities at HSU
Performing Arts — Humboldt State brings big acts to campus and everyone from the HSU Symphonic Band to Willie Nelson has performed in the campus’s three main performance halls: The Kate Buchanan Room, the Fulkerson Recital Hall and the Van Duzer Theatre. Catch a show or concert from the Department of Music, the Department of Theatre, Film & Dance, Center Arts and Associated Students Presents.
MORE INFO: Performing Arts Ticket Office: 707-826-3928
Visual Arts — The Campus is home to the Reese Bullen Gallery. Located within the Art Building, the gallery houses the University’s permanent collection of art and sponsors exhibitions of works by professional artists. The gallery is located in the Humboldt State University Art Building at the intersection of B Street and Laurel in Arcata. Admission is free.
MORE INFO: 707-826-5814
Sports — Redwood Bowl hosts the Lumberjacks football squad, which plays home games September through November. Lumberjack Arena is home to men’s and women’s Basketball from October through March.
MORE INFO: HSU Lumberjacks Tickets 707-826-3666 | HSUJacks.com
Environmental Sustainability at HSU — The Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, known as CCAT on campus, is one of America’s oldest student-run sustainability-demonstration houses. Volunteers are welcome to participate in volunteer Fridays and the center’s directors give community tours on a regular basis.
MORE INFO: 707-826-3551
Get Outdoors — HSU offers everything you need for outdoor adventure through the campus’s Center Activities program. Offerings range from wilderness first responder training to kayak instruction. Don’t have your own gear? Center Activities rents everything you’ll need to get ready for your next outdoor adventure.
MORE INFO: Humboldt.edu/centeractivities
67 Arcata Community Forest
If you’re looking for attractions in the rugged outdoors close to all the comforts of town, the Arcata Community Forest is perfect. This incredible redwood forest covers more than 600 acres, all of them inside Arcata’s city limits. Head out into the lush, green forest, and within a few seconds you’ll forget that you are still inside a bustling little town.
Take a leisurely walk to clear your mind, or go on a more rigorous hike. Hop on your mountain bike and hit the trails. An added bonus is the fact that the forest is managed in order to preserve it along with the many other great parks that dot Arcata. You’ll love the time away from life’s stresses, exploring the Arcata Community Forest.
WHERE: access the forest through Redwood Park at the east end of 11th St., 14th St. and California Ave.
MORE INFO: Arcata Department of Environmental Services at 707-822-8184 | CityOfArcata.com
68 Humboldt Crabs Baseball
Known as America’s national pastime, going to a baseball game is hands-down one of the best ways to spend a summer afternoon. And just because there aren’t any big league teams in Humboldt County doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy baseball here. The Humboldt Crabs provide an ideal opportunity to watch summer semi-pro baseball. They provide all the fun of a major league game but without the expense, and it comes with a big scoop of of small-town charm on top. The Crabs play three or four games a week, and tickets for adults and kids are very reasonably priced. The low cost and the fun can’t be beat — an exciting baseball game could be just what your family needs. The Humboldt Crabs are a very kid-friendly team. They also offer two different baseball camps for youngsters. The locals enjoy cheering the Crabs on, and you will love the opportunity to join in the fun. You won’t forget this rare bit of living, vintage Americana.
WHERE: corner of 9th and F St., Arcata
MORE INFO: 707-826-2333 | HumboldtCrabs.com
69 Arcata’s Historic Landmarks
The visual beauty of Humboldt County is apparent everywhere you look, and Arcata is a great spot to experience it in the form of some remarkable historic architecture. The town was settled around 1850 under the name of Union, and underwent several different periods as it developed. After what was known as the settlement era, Arcata went through a period of heavy Victorian influence. Many Victorian houses and structures stand to this day, and are popular sites for tourists and photographers. The William Nixon House is a great example of one from this period. Located on 10th St., this amazing home was originally bought for 500 sacks of potatoes. On 14th St. are mirror-image mansions, which sit across the street from one another. Designated historic landmarks include the Hotel Arcata, 9th and G Sts., built in 1915; Jacoby’s Storehouse, 8th and H Sts., built in 1857, now used for numerous restaurants, shops and offices; and one of the oldest continuously operated theaters in the country, the Minor Theatre at 10th and H Sts., which was built in 1914. All of these structures have undergone restoration in recent years and feature quality workmanship in the exterior and interior of the buildings. Along with the historical landmarks, visit The Railroad Museum on the ground floor of the Jacoby Storehouse Building on the Plaza at 8th and H Sts. The Arcata Main Street office is also located in the Jacoby Storehouse.
MORE INFO: Historical Sites Society of Arcata, 707-822-4722. For a self-guided Victorian homes walking tour map call the Arcata Chamber of Commerce, 707-822-3619 | ArcataChamber.com
70 Holly Yashi Handcrafted Jewelry
In 1981 two young and talented entrepreneurs began a jewelry business in their single car garage. Thirty years later, in 2011, co-founders Holly Hosterman and Paul Lubitz opened a Holly Yashi retail store which is located inside their current Humboldt County jewelry design factory. In addition to showcasing Holly Yashi’s award winning jewelry and offering other gift items, the store allows visitors the rare experience to see Holly Yashi jewelry being made. While the studio currently spans more than 15,000 sq. ft., Holly Yashi continues to honor and preserve the art of jewelry making by crafting each item by hand in small batches. Customers are served free cappuccinos while they shop. It is the perfect place to bring out-of-town guests on a fun filled field trip.
71 Laurel Skye’s House of Mosaics
Take a trip into a magical realm at Laurel Skye’s house of mosaics in Arcata. Within your first steps onto the small bridge that leads to the house you see a mosaic heron to your left, poised majestically as it stands sentry over the koi pond. In front of you sitting next to the front door is a mannequin with her left leg colorfully tiled, sitting on a beautifully tiled porch bench. This is all before entering the house.
SkyeHouse is a mosaic art showcase as well as a visual feast and a unique destination. Laurel Skye and her house of mosaics have been featured on HGTV’s Offbeat America, as well as several TV News spotlights, youtube videos, magazines and newspapers. The house is home to over 200 mosaics including tiled floors, dishwasher, bathtub, walls, skulls, bottles, fruit, musical instruments and more.
Classes and workshops for those interested in exploring this very tactile medium are taught by Laurel and held at the house. They range from beginner to advanced and are adapted for all ages. The Skyehouse has supplies and a huge collection of mosaic tiles for sale and is open to the public for shopping. Or just drop by and explore the unusual mosaic environment.
72 The Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary
Go hiking and birding in the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, a remarkable natural habitat and recreation area built around a cost-effective and environmentally sound wastewater treatment facility.
This well-known 154-acre wildlife refuge is along the Pacific Flyway, making it a popular destination for birders from all over the world. It is home or rest stop to over 300 species of birds or mammals, as well as over 100 species of plants and six species of fish. The Sanctuary offers 4.66 miles of trails for recreational use for jogging, bicycling, hiking, bird-watching and leashed dog walking.
The marsh received the Innovations in Government Award from the Ford Foundation/Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. Despite being a wastewater disposal system, the open-air lakes do not produce any smell and are a popular destination for visitors. It is an incredibly beautiful natural recreation area and is popular with local wildlife and landscape artists.
Friends of the Arcata Marsh (FOAM) provide educational tours of the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary free of charge. Guided tours are given every Saturday at 2 p.m. starting at the Interpretive Center. The Redwood Regional Audubon Society offers bird-watching tours every Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. from the Klopp Lake parking lot at the end of South I St.
WHERE: located on South G St. in Arcata
MORE INFO: 707-826-2359 | CityofArcata.com
73 Godwit Days Bird Migration Festival
Humboldt County is a bird-watcher’s dream. Many different species of birds either permanently reside here or migrate through the area on their way to warmer or colder climates. Discover a great way to view natural bird habitats at the Godwit Days Bird Migration Festival held at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Area in April. Join kindred spirits as you observe these graceful waterfowl on their northbound journey. This area is perfect for birding because of the amazing amount of natural diversity. Within minutes, move from towering redwood forests to lush river valleys, over sticky mud flats to rugged ocean coastlines. All these different areas support a tremendously diverse bird population.
The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Area is world-renowned for excellent bird-watching opportunities. At the peak of migration season, during the April festival, go out on the “Humboldt Big Day” and see as many as 110 species on a single outing. This is only one of almost a hundred field trips, lectures, workshops and boating excursions that take place throughout the festival. Experienced bird-watchers or anyone interested in learning about birds will find few events better suited for this activity than the Godwit Days Bird Migration Festival.
MORE INFO: 707-826-7050 | GodwitDays.org
74 Mad River County Park
For a magnificent, memorable beach and riverside experience, head straight to Mad River County Park. See wildlife in its natural habitat along the shores of the Mad River, which spills into the Pacific Ocean.
Spanning many miles, the Mad River starts in Trinity County and winds through Six Rivers National Forest. Matthews Dam, approximately one-third of the way along the river, forms Ruth Lake. The Mad River finally empties into the Pacific Ocean along the mile-long shore of a picturesque beach at the mouth, just north of Arcata. Harbor seals and sea lions can be seen sunbathing near the mouth of the river. Numerous birds scurry along the water’s edge or in the sky in search of a meal.
A boat launch is available to fish or explore the waters of the beautiful Humboldt coast. You can build a fire at night on the sand, roast hot dogs and marshmallows or just keep warm at the beach while hanging out with good friends.
MORE INFO: 707-445-7651 | Co.Humboldt.ca.us
75 The Arcata Skatepark
Skateboarders will find that the Arcata Skatepark a great spot to ride. If you’re not a skater, you’ll still love watching experienced riders hit the concrete and bust some big moves. The park boasts a nice eight-foot bowl, which is perfect for working on vertical moves. Two smaller bowls are connected to a snake run that lets you hit smaller air. Less experienced skaters will find that these little bowls and the surrounding ledges offer a chance to work up to the bigger one.
A small street course and a fun box beg you to try to connect some of your tricks and work up a little run of your own. At about 10,000 square ft. this park is neither too big nor too small, and is usually not terribly crowded. Better yet, there is no fee to use this public skatepark. If you get that urge to hit the park with your board, head to the Arcata Skatepark. You will definitely enjoy the ride!
WHERE: 900 Sunset Ave., Arcata (google map)
MORE INFO: 707-822-7091
76 Arcata Community Pool
During certain times of the year, the weather in Humboldt County won’t cooperate when you want to experience the wonderful outdoor activities the area has to offer. If the weather has put a damper on your plans but you still want to be active, head to the Arcata Community Pool and enjoy a day of swimming and sliding. The Arcata Community Pool is completely indoors, so the weather won’t interfere with your enjoyment. No matter what type of swimming activities you enjoy, you’ll have fun at the Arcata Community Pool. There are dedicated lap lanes in the 25-yard-long pool. The pool’s deep end is perfect for jumping and diving. The pool also boasts a one-meter diving board, as well as a poolside basketball hoop. You can enjoy all the great pool sports and activities you love. The shallow end is only between two to four feet deep, so little ones can always have their feet firmly planted on the pool’s bottom. The Arcata Swimming Pool even has a water slide, more than 120 feet long, with two full 360-degree turns. Once you’ve worked out in the pool, hit the sauna or hot tub to relax. It’s a perfect finish to a great day of fun. Have a blast enjoying vacation-time thrills.
77 Freshwater Park
Freshwater Park is only a couple of miles east of the beautiful little community of Freshwater but steps decades back in time — back to the days of old-fashioned picnics and family gatherings, when a cool, clear freshwater swimming hole was the epitome of summer indulgence. Humboldt County Parks dams Freshwater Creek each year from mid-June to the weekend after Labor Day for the kind of summer swim experience that harkens back generations. In addition, the park offers day-use picnic tables, fire rings, public facilities and a 400-person group event area with Gazebo for country weddings or other outdoor celebrations.
The park is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Memorial through Labor Day and during the rest of the year when the park host is in attendance. Dogs are not permitted, and there is a $5 day use fee.
WHERE: Take Hwy 101 to Indianola Rd.; turn right toward Eureka; take a left at Three Corners to Freshwater/Kneeland and head right through Freshwater. The park is about 1/8 mile past Steele Ln.
MORE INFO: 707-445-7651 | Co.Humboldt.ca.us
78 Hammond Coastal Trail
The Hammond Coastal Trail is one of the best places to bike, hike, jog, or ride a horse in Humboldt County. Part of the California Coastal Trail, it is more than five miles long, stretching north from Arcata to Clam Beach County Park in McKinleyville.
The trail lies along what was originally a railroad track built in the early 1900s for transporting redwood logs from the Little River area to the Hammond Lumber Mill on Samoa Spit. As a result of the railroad, the asphalt and crushed stone trail is quite level, which makes it an excellent place for several exercise options.
There are two distinct sections of the trail. The southern part is a 3-mile-long paved path stretching from the Mad River Bridge, through Hiller Park to Widow White Creek in McKinleyville, featuring amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and the Mad River. The northern section of the trail is mostly paved and leads from North Letz Ave. to Clam Beach County Park. See spectacular vistas of the ocean and Trinidad Head from sea level or the high bluffs. There are also plenty of places to access the beach.
WHERE: take the Hwy 101 Giuntoli Ln. exit two miles north of Arcata, then head west on Janes Rd. to Mad River Beach. Or, from the McKinleyville end, take the Murray or School Rd. exit.
MORE INFO: 707-445-7651
79 Moonstone Beach and Clam Beach
Moonstone Beach is one of the most popular surfing spots in Humboldt County, and for good reason. In the summer, the ocean produces three- to five-foot swells, often going to 20 feet in the winter. A wide beach break provides ample room for surfers to ride, and this stretch of ocean is great for beginners and seasoned surfers alike.
But Moonstone Beach is not just for surfers. A wide, pristine beach, towering redwoods, sheer 100-foot cliffs and waves crashing against dozens of sea stacks make this a beautiful scenic spot for all visitors. You may see whales, dolphins, seals, cormorants, pelicans and ospreys. Comb the beach for treasures, go fishing, climb the rocks, explore caves, ride a horse along the surf or play in the Little River where it enters the ocean. The view at this beach is considered one of the county’s most scenic.
WHERE: north of McKinleyville off Hwy 101 at the Westhaven exit.
Clam Beach offers something for everyone. Keep your eyes open for a spectacular array of wildlife, or comb the shoreline for lovely stones, shells and driftwood strewn along the fine gray-sand beach. There are excellent clamming opportunities, and the on-shore fishing is exceptional too; come out and cast a line to see for yourself. When the wind picks up, the broad, flat beach is perfect for kite flying.
WHERE: 7.5 miles north of Arcata off Hwy 101 at the Clam Beach Park off-ramp
80 Hiller Park and Sports Complex / Mad River Bluffs
Whether you’re a parent with kids, a nature-loving dog owner or just someone who enjoys a scenic walk, 48-acre McKinleyville’s Hiller Park and Sports Complex, next to the 75-acre McKinleyville Land Trust’s Mad River Bluffs, is well worth a visit. The regional park and sports complex has two nicely maintained Little League fields, one Babe Ruth field and a softball field, so grab your mitt and toss a few with the kids. Or recruit a team and join the Coed Wood Bat Softball League. The league is held from early August through September. The park also has two youth soccer fields, and two collegiate-size soccer fields for match play at all levels. Then head over to the playground area, which consists of two separate age-specific areas. The tot lot is great for the littlest of park-goers, and older kids love to climb and slide on the bigger equipment. Adjacent to the park are plenty of tables for picnicking.
Dogs are not permitted in the play area, but are welcome on the network of loop trails that crisscross the recreation area. Connect to the Hammond Trail, or take a walk through Mad River Bluffs natural area where there are four overlooks above the Mad River and a staircase down to the river bank. Signs along the trails help the nature walker choose a course.
81 Azalea State Nature Reserve
If gardens are your interest, you’ll love Azalea State Nature Reserve, particularly in the spring when this park is in full bloom. The beauty and scent of these multi-colored trumpet-shaped blossoms is intoxicating. Azaleas, a type of rhododendron, are often referred to as “the royalty of the garden.” The western azalea, Rhododendron occidentale, thrives in Northern California. Azalea State Reserve offers hiking trails, as well as a picnic area. A short self-guided nature trail will teach you about azaleas and other plants of the North Coast area. To fully enjoy the beautiful western azaleas, plan to visit in April or May when the blooms are at their peak. There is no entrance fee, and the reserve is open from sunrise to sunset daily, year-round.
WHERE: 5 miles north of Arcata off Hwy 101. Take the McKinleyville Central Ave. exit and drive two miles east on North Bank Rd. (Hwy 200) to a left turn into the reserve.
MORE INFO: Parks.Ca.gov
82 Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse
Many people love to see the historical lighthouses that dot the coast of Northern California. The Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse is a shining example of these. This lighthouse is a replica of the actual Trinidad Head Lighthouse, which is still in use today. In fact, many visitors believe it to be the original Trinidad Head Lighthouse. Both the original big fog bell and Fresnel lens are part of the memorial. They make a perfect addition to the little park overlooking the rocky coast below the town of Trinidad. The lighthouse memorial now stands as an everlasting monument to those lost at sea. After the memorial was established, the list of names of all the people lost at sea soon outgrew the small plaques. More plaques have since been affixed to the retaining walls.
Perhaps the best part of this lovely park and monument is the view. Rocks crop out of the foamy ocean, and many small fishing boats float among them. Standing atop the beautiful cliffs with the salty sea breeze in your hair, you’re sure to remember this spectacular scene. If you’re there at noon, you’ll be privileged to hear the fog bell toll in memory of the lost sailors.
WHERE: off of Main St. on Trinity Ave., Trinidad
The best time for tide-pooling is during spring tides (“spring” in the sense of “jump,” not the season), those that happen every two weeks when there is a full moon or a new moon and the gravitational effects of the moon and the sun complement each other. These have the highest high tides and the lowest low tides. Plan your trip to the tide pools for half an hour to an hour before the lowest tides. The best tide pools are found near the water during “minus” tides, those that are lower than the yearly average low tide. Tide tables can be purchased at local stores that stock fishing supplies, or checked online (a quick search will turn up dozens of online charts for any location).
The intertidal zone, where tide pools occur, is often divided into the splash, high, mid and low zones. The best tide pools, by far, with the richest diversity of sea life, are found in the last of these. In the low zones, which are uncovered only during the lowest tides of the month, you may find any of hundreds or even thousands of different species including sea stars, small crabs, urchins and occasionally an octopus.
Cautions: Wear long pants and shoes with soles that grip on wet rocks. Don’t let the incoming tide flood your return route to shore. Don’t turn your back to the ocean. Watch the waves, and don’t let a big one sneak up and sweep you off the rocks. Collect only memories — leave everything where you find it. Even the smallest shells will be used by young hermit crabs. Don’t collect tide-pool organisms. Respect their habitat and don’t carelessly flip over rocks in the pools. Tide pool flora and fauna are protected by strictly enforced laws to conserve them. Many are becoming rare.
WHERE: In northern Humboldt excellent tide pools can be found on Trinidad State Beach just below College Cove, at Luffenholz Beach two miles south of Trinidad, and at Patrick’s Point State Park.
84 Kayaking Trinidad Bay
Trinidad’s coastline is impressive from the beach, but it’s even more beautiful from the water as you paddle among seastacks and out into Trinidad Bay. The Trinidad Headland shelters the bay from incoming swells and waves, creating safe harbor for kayakers and recreational boaters.
There are miles of gorgeous coastline to investigate in Trinidad Bay, along with plenty of wildlife. Gray whales, orcas and the occasional blue whale all migrate through this area, and a resident pod of humpback whales calls the Bay home; you may also see sea lions, seals, otters and an abundance of shorebirds.
Kayak Zak’s is a local outfitter that offers tours of Trinidad Bay and Big Lagoon with expert guides. They host whale and bird migration trips, and provide kayak and equipment rentals, instruction and clinics. First-timers and seasoned veterans alike will enjoy their expeditions into these waters in search of wildlife and adventure.
MORE INFO: 707-498-1130 | KayakZak.com
85 Trinidad State Beach
One of the most popular and spectacularly beautiful beaches in Humboldt County is Trinidad State Beach, a rock-strewn, mile long expanse of sandy beach that stretches from Trinidad Head north to Elk Head. The southern portion of the beach is easily accessible from the parking lot located at the beach’s edge by Bay St. and Lighthouse Rd., just off Edwards St. Kid-friendly and dog-friendly, this section is perfect for building sand castles and splashing in the surf, or just plain relaxing.
More adventurous visitors, meanwhile, will find the hike down from Elk Head Trail to College Cove at the beach’s northern end particularly rewarding, with dramatic views of the cove and Pewetole Island. The northern end of Trinidad State Beach is also home to small caves, a natural arch, and fantastic tide pools during low tide. At negative tides, visitors can walk out to Pewetole Island for a unique and rewarding experience.
A third trail leads down to the middle of the beach from State Park Rd., off Stagecoach Rd. At the trailhead to that access point, visitors will find restrooms, parking, and a small picnic area with tables and stoves.
WHERE: Trinidad State Beach is a no-fee day use area and located 19 miles north of Eureka off Hwy 101.
MORE INFO: 707-677-3570 | Parks.Ca.gov
86 Luffenholz Beach
One of Humboldt County’s most spectacular secret spots, Luffenholz Beach is a rocky cove with some of the best tide pools anywhere. It also offers a sandy beach, huge boulders, a year-round creek and stunning views of Trinidad Bay. Glorious on sunny days, dramatic when it storms, and hauntingly mysterious the rest of the time, it provides a unique experience each time you visit.
Located on Scenic Drive between Trinidad and Westhaven-Moonstone, look for the small pull-off area where visitors can park. Nearby is a picnic table. About 200 feet to the north is a steep staircase that goes down to the beach near Luffenholz Creek. Have fun exploring the shore, but keep an eye on the tide to avoid getting stranded if you venture too far out at low tide.
West of the parking area is another set of stairs and a narrow footpath with strategically-placed handrails. They will take you to a wonderful vantage point above the beach with panoramic views that sweep from Trinidad Head in the north to Houda Point and Camel Rock in the south.
WHERE: 2 miles south of Trinidad, just off Scenic Drive
MORE INFO: Humboldt County Parks, 707-445-7651
87 Big Lagoon County Park
Big Lagoon is formed by a long sand spit that separates it from the Pacific Ocean. The spit is really a continuation of Agate Beach, and is a premier beachcombing location. Here the determined walker can find a profound solitude amid the elements, not to mention agates, jades, jaspers, agate “moonstones” and occasionally, though rarely, a real moonstone.
Big Lagoon County Park is located at the south end of Big Lagoon. It offers 25 campsites, picnic tables, fire rings and flush toilets. Several of the campsites are right on the lagoon, offering increased privacy and great views. Camping is $20 a night, first come, first served, and dogs are permitted for an extra two dollars each. Firewood is usually available to be purchased from the camp host, and campers are permitted to gather driftwood to burn. For the daytime visitor there is a day use fee of two dollars.
Big Lagoon is popular with kayakers and wind-surfers, and is a favorite fishing spot for cutthroat trout. The shore is easily accessible for small boat launching.
WHERE: 7 miles north of Trinidad. Take Hwy. 101 to Big Lagoon Park Road and follow the signs.
MORE INFO: Humboldt County Parks, 707-445-7651
88 Patrick’s Point State Park
Patrick’s Point State Park is located in the heart of Redwood Country. If experiencing spectacular panoramas, rocky cliffs, hiking trails and sandy beaches are always on your list of things to, do not pass up this wonderful opportunity.
Six miles of hiking trails thread through the park with acres of dense forest stretching over an ocean headland. Stroll under a canopy of spruce, hemlock, pine, fir and red alder trees. Wildflower meadows offer spectacular vistas. The Rim Trail, which follows an old Indian path over the park’s rocky promontories, provides views of the coast and serves as a great lookout for whale-watching.
Hike along the broad beaches and explore tide pools, cast a fishing rod, search for driftwood, spot sea lions and gaze at magnificent sunsets. Short, steep hikes will take you to the tops of Ceremonial Rock and Lookout Rock, while coastal hikes take you to Wedding Rock and Patrick’s Point offering breathtaking ocean vistas. History buffs will enjoy the re-created Yurok Village with its traditional Native American family houses, sweat house, changing houses, redwood canoe and dance house. There is also a native plant garden with species of local flora including seasonal flowers and berries to explore.
If you can’t bear to leave the park and want to spend one more day, pitch a tent at one of the many campsites. There are also three group picnic areas.
WHERE: 25 miles north of Eureka off Hwy 101. Reservations are recommended for camping.
MORE INFO: 707-677-3570 | Parks.Ca.gov
89 Agate Beach at Patrick’s Point State Park
At Patrick’s Point State Park there are great trails, great views and Agate Beach, a wonderfully pebbly beach made for agate hunting. This beach is covered with the wave-polished semi-precious stones.
While not as valuable as precious stones, agates can still be used to make jewelry as well as projectile points, carvings, and various other items.
If new to the hunt, the first characteristic to look for is translucence. The quartz nature of agate allows light to penetrate a short distance into the surface, producing a soft glow. Along with shades of red, brown and orange, the translucent optical quality gives the agate its distinctive appearance. What most people particularly look for in agates are their patterns, such as the parallel or concentric lines called banding. Fortunately most beach agates have become wave-tumbled enough to expose their patterns.
While agate hunting draws many beachcombers to the North Coast, chasing surf and skipping rocks seem to be irresistible pleasures for kids playing at this beach. Always be cautious when near the surf, for those beautiful waves can be dangerous, with sudden wave surges or “sneaker waves.”
An alternative to the long walk down to Agate Beach from the Patrick’s Point bluffs is to get there by going to Big Lagoon, from which one can access the lower end of Agate Beach by walking along the water’s edge from the parking lot.
For best results in hunting agates, look for them where the waves have washed away much of the fine sand, exposing mostly pebbles. In a few hours, one can usually find a handful of beautiful agates in many varieties. Again, be conscious of the waves, and for best results, time your activity to low tide.
90 Sumeg Village
Today, members of the Yurok Tribe live in modern houses and have modern-day lifestyles. Many of the nearly 5,000 enrolled members of California’s largest Indian Tribe also work to preserve the traditions of their heritage. Sumeg Village is one place where local Yuroks share their culture with the public.
“Sumeg” is the place name of an old Yurok seasonal fishing camp, which was located at Abalone Point on the ocean within what is now Patrick’s Point State Park. The Yurok came here during the summer to fish and harvest mussels, as well as catch sea lions and other game. The reconstructed Sumeg Village is a living example of a centuries-old Yurok village. Built by Yurok people using traditional materials, the village consists of traditional family-style plank houses made of split redwood, an underground sweat house — much like a modern-day sauna — two redwood dugout canoes and a brush dance pit where ceremonial dances are performed. Adjacent to the village is a native plant garden, which has plants used by the Yuroks for medicinal and ceremonial purposes, as well as for weaving baskets and for food.
You can tour the village for free daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Stop at the park’s Visitor Center for a schedule of special Yurok events, such as day-long dance ceremonies and the annual Sumeg Village Day, which celebrates the Yurok culture through traditional arts, crafts and storytelling.
WHERE: At Patrick’s Point State Park, six miles north of Trinidad
MORE INFO: 707-677-3570 | Parks.Ca.gov
91 Redwood National and State Parks
Modern life can be stressful, with deadlines to meet, meals to prepare and dozens of things to do with no time to do them. Visit Redwood National and State Parks and all that worry will be washed away. Take your time and enjoy all that these lovely parks have to offer, with so much to do for every member of the family. Enjoy more than 50 miles of paved and unpaved biking trails of varying difficulty. If you have a horse, ride along the 41 miles of equestrian paths. There are also more than 160 miles of excellent hiking trails for adventurous backpackers. These paths will take you among colorful wildflowers, grassy hills, wild oak woodlands and soaring redwoods that grow to 350 feet tall and live for more than 2,000 years.
Along the stretches of rugged coastline, see pounding surf, sea stacks and thrilling cliffs. World-class rivers can be found right outside the parks, and are perfect for rafting, kayaking and even fishing. Ranger-guided programs are also available.
Learn about the animals that call this place home. Some of these include the red-tailed hawk, kestrel, great horned owl, gopher, meadow mouse, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, fox, elk, black-tailed deer, goldfinch junco, quail and raven.
WHERE: off Hwy 101, stretching from Trinidad in the south to Klamath Glen in the north. Several Visitor Centers are located throughout the parks near Crescent City, Hiouchi, Orick and along Newton B. Drury Scenic Pkwy.
MORE INFO: 707-464-6101 | NPS.gov/redw
92 Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Prairie Creek, an unassuming waterway that enters the Pacific Ocean near Orick, is also the namesake of the 23-square-mile Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, a sanctuary of old-growth redwoods set aside in the early 1920s by the State of California and the Save-the-Redwoods League. The park has been designated a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.
The busy Visitor Center, located at the southern end of the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and built next to Elk Prairie, is the starting point for several hiking trails suitable for all-day hikes or short, leisurely strolls. During your visit you’ll come across many different kinds of trees. You will almost certainly also spot some of the abundant wildlife, especially Roosevelt elk. Other resident species include deer, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats and foxes. More than 260 species of birds have been sighted within the park, making this one of the most popular bird-watching areas in the region. There are also nearly 10 miles of beach to stroll along, as well as the amazing Fern Canyon to explore. The park hosts campgrounds and numerous picnic areas among the redwoods and on the beach.
WHERE: 50 miles north of Eureka off Hwy 101 on Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
MORE INFO: 707-464-6101 | Parks.ca.gov
93 Amazing Fern Canyon
Fern Canyon lets you take a leisurely stroll, leave everything else behind and enter a magical world. This beautiful natural wonder is a 1-mile-long box canyon, complete with the creek that carved it. Its walls, completely covered in five different varieties of ferns, tower up to 80 feet above. Huge overhanging trees grow at the top of the ridge, allowing streams of light to peek through the branches. When the filtered light combines with the iridescently green vegetation, the canyon glows, creating an otherworldly atmosphere.
WHERE: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is 50 miles north of Eureka off Hwy 101 on Davison Road. Drive through Elk Meadow and onto a scenic 6-mile dirt road to Gold Bluffs Beach. Follow the beach for 3 miles to a parking lot.
MORE INFO: 707 464-6101 | Parks.ca.gov
94 Humboldt Lagoons State Park
Agate hunting, bird-watching, beach-combing, boating and whale-watching are all popular outdoor activities for families along the North Coast. One of the best places to do all of these and more is at the Humboldt Lagoons State Park.
In the early 1900s, Dry Lagoon was drained to make way for crops and dairy ranches. The effort proved uneconomical, and eventually Mother Nature reclaimed this natural marshland habitat, which supports a huge variety of bird and animal life.
Today, both Dry Lagoon and Stone Lagoon make up the state park, which includes six miles of beach, hiking trails, a boat ramp and picnic areas. Many people come to the park to wander the beach, combing for agates and other treasures, as well as to watch migrating whales. You can bring your own boat to explore the lagoons or go fishing. Enjoy the picnic areas and many trails for the hiker, including three miles of Coastal Trail. Day use hours are sunrise to sunset year-round. There is no fee.
WHERE: 40 miles north of Eureka on Hwy 101, 55 miles south of Crescent City.
MORE INFO: 707-677-3570 | Parks.Ca.gov
95 Kayak Trips
Located 50 minutes north of Eureka and 45 minutes south of Crescent City, Orick serves as a gateway to Humboldt Lagoons State Park and the rivers of Redwood National and State Parks. When conditions are right, it is hard to decide which body of water to paddle. With a driving time of five minutes to one hour, you can reach three picturesque lagoons, several great surf beaches, the open ocean, protected harbors, mellow river runs and unbelievable whitewater.
For those interested in kayaking, Kayak Zak’s, based in Orick, offers affordable and exciting rentals, tours and instruction. Kayaking is a wonderful sport because it allows anyone the chance to have fun on water. In a kayak paddlers can use all muscle groups without the threat of high-impact activity. Paddlers can take it easy or make it as aerobic and adrenaline-filled as they want. Kayak Zak’s staff is specially trained and experienced to take anyone kayaking. They also offer Adaptive Paddling, which involves adapting kayaks, paddles, gear and techniques for persons with disabilities, sports injuries, pre-existing conditions, or joint pain.
MORE INFO: 707-498-1130 | KayakZak.com
96 Klamath River Jet Boat Tours
The Klamath River is known around the world. It is a beautiful, pristine river that runs from Altamont in Klamath County of Southern Oregon, dips down into Humboldt County, and continues all the way to the Pacific Ocean near the town of Klamath in southern Del Norte County. You can enjoy this picturesque river from the comfortable seat of a jet boat. Set out on a two-hour trip from Klamath’s estuary called “Rekwoi” and travel up the river, powered by twin jets. The round-trip tour is more than 45 miles. The captain and narrator will tell you all about the Klamath River’s history, Native American culture and the area’s wildlife. From the boat, you may even get the chance to see some of these creatures, such as bears feasting on berries and fish from the shore, ospreys, hawks and eagles nesting, or black-tail deer and elk wandering through the trees. People of all ages will enjoy the sights. You will have the opportunity to take incredible pictures. Tours are given between May and September, three times daily. Reservations are recommended, but drop-ins are welcome. Personalized and special group tours can be accommodated.
WHERE: The Jet Boat Tour office is located on Hwy 101, five miles south of Trees of Mystery, just over the border into Del Norte County.
MORE INFO: 800-887-5387 | JetBoatTours.com
97 Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area
Fishing from shore with the wind in your hair, sand under your feet and the sound of crashing waves in the background just might be as good as it gets. Set up a folding chair, a cooler with cold drinks and bait, and cast your line out into the beautiful Pacific Ocean for a truly enjoyable time. Reel in silver salmon, kelp bass, snapper, ling cod, perch, halibut and much more. At Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area, enjoy strolling through the 830 acres of striking natural surroundings and viewing wildlife as well as experiencing great fishing. The waters are also great for windsurfing. The park is adjacent to Humboldt Lagoons State Park, 32 miles north of Eureka on Hwy 101.
MORE INFO: 707-488-2169 | Parks.Ca.gov
98 River Rafting and Fishing
Rushing rapids, calm and peaceful waters, and fantastic sights are just a few of the things that await you on the Trinity River. You can enjoy exciting whitewater rafting adventures that will satisfy even the most experienced thrill seekers. Portions of the river are rated a 4 and 5 based on the International Rating Scale of 1-6. Class 1 rapids are very relaxing and easy-going and class 6 is sometimes considered impossible to raft. Boulders strewn through the water make the trip seem like an obstacle course at times. Along the way, you might be able to spot a deer or bear feeding from the shoreline, or a bald eagle soaring effortlessly overhead.
If you would rather take it easy, you can enjoy the peace and quiet the river has to offer by having a picnic or just soaking up the natural beauty from shore. Fishing is also the name of the game on the Trinity River. Along with its feeder streams, the Trinity River provides more than 1,500 miles of fishable waters that start high in the mountains of the Trinity Alps. Fly-fishing is at its best on the banks and in the streams of the Trinity River. Trout, salmon, steelhead and bass are all there for the catching. Plenty of fun can be had by every member of the family.
MORE INFO: WillowCreekChamber.com/fishing-report/
99 Mad River Fish Hatchery
Steelhead are raised at the Mad River Fish Hatchery for about a year, and released in March or April into the Mad River. For adults coming back to spawn, there is a fish ladder that provides a series of pools for them to jump up on their way back to the hatchery during spawning season (generally January to March). Free 30-minute hatchery tours are offered during this time, rain or shine. There is no fishing for 250 feet upstream or downstream of the fish ladder. The hatchery property also offers opportunities for bird-watching, fishing, picnicking and river viewing. Restrooms are available and the property is handicapped-accessible.
WHERE: 1660 Hatchery Road, Blue Lake (google map)
MORE INFO: 707 822-0592
100 Whitewater Rafting on the Klamath River
Whitewater rafting down the Klamath River is an exhilarating, heart-pounding adventure. Climb into an inflatable raft guided by an experienced whitewater rafter and head down the river for the ride of your life. This huge river stretches from Klamath Falls in Oregon to the Pacific Ocean near the town of Klamath in southern Del Norte County. It runs through three counties in Oregon and five in California along the way, including Humboldt.
Rafting trips can take place on the upper and lower portions of the river for a wider range of difficulty. The upper portion, known for its long rapids, is classified 3 and 4, based on the International Rating Scale of 1-6, class 1 being easygoing and 6 considered nearly impossible to raft. This section is one of the nationally protected Wild and Scenic rivers, and generally the only “big water” river that can be found in the area from late June through October. The lower Klamath is more relaxing, providing mild to moderate trips. There are many businesses in the area that can take you down either section of the river. Trips vary from an afternoon to several days, where you will camp along the shore under the stars.
101 Hoopa Tribal Museum
Thousands of years before the Europeans ever reached the coast of California, Native Americans lived a rich and cultured life in the area now known as Humboldt County. Today their fascinating history is preserved and exhibited at the Hoopa Tribal Museum. This tremendous collection displays the heritage of the Yurok, Hoopa and Karuk tribes that once dominated the area. You will be amazed at the master craftsmanship that these people displayed in their basketry. These wonderful artifacts are so well crafted that they have lasted hundreds of years. Check out the redwood dugout canoes that are half sides of redwood trees, which have been hollowed out to create naturally constructed canoes. Also, be sure to see all the hand tools that were used by the tribesmen to create the many artifacts on exhibit.
What is even more special about this museum is the fact that the Tribal Museum is a “living museum.” Nearly all the artifacts that are housed in the museum are on loan from Native Americans who use them for many unique rituals and ceremonies that are still a part of their lives.
WHERE: on Hwy 96 in the Hoopa shopping center
MORE INFO: 530-625-4211 | Hoopa-nsn.gov