If you love gardens you’ll be absolutely delighted by Azalea State Natural 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 and 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 these 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. (google maps)
More Info: Parks.gov