North Humboldt Coast - California

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From Arcata north to Orick, a distance of 34 miles, the north Humboldt coast is a vastly underrated part of the Pacific shoreline and worth spending some time to explore. Most of the coast in this area is accessible from the highway in several state and county parks, which provide access to the beaches, campgrounds, hiking and bicycle paths and picnic facilities. Several small towns provide tourist accommodations, including McKinleyville, Trinidad, and Orick.

North of Eureka

McKinleyville, just north of Arcata, is a fast-growing residential community. Although a rural village has been here since the 1860s, it is only within the past twenty years that the population has boomed to 10,000. Goat cheese with an international reputation is made at the Cypress Grove Chevre Cheese Factory. There's golfing at the 18-hole Beau Pre course on Norton Road. Azalea State Reserve is close to the highway, east via North Bank Road at McKinleyville. This park is wooded and on the edge of the forest grows an extensive range of wild azalea. Two loop trails lead through the reserve to several scenic overlooks. Two picnic areas are located beside the parking lot.

Clam Beach, north of McKinleyville, is a popular place for locals and for passing visitors. This county park offers camping, hiking and riding trails, fishing and beachcombing. The beach affords long views of the Humboldt coastline. Hammond Trail starts at the Mad River, following an old railway roadbed to arrive at Clam Beach.


Within two miles of Clam Beach is Little River Beach, and you're close to the town of Trinidad, a small seaside community with much to offer the traveler. Discovered by Portugese explorers in 1595 and re-explored by the Spanish in 1775, this is a salmon fishing town with a long fishing pier, lighthouse and several beaches within a short drive. Trinidad State Beach is right in town with a trail that starts at Mill Creek and ends at Elk Head, at the state beach. The Marine Laboratory

Five miles north of Trinidad, Patrick's Point State Park includes a large campground with 123 family sites. Twenty walk-in and bike-in sites are also located in the park. Sitka spruce, fir, pine and hemlock dominate the landscape. Rim Trail runs from the parking area at Agate Beach along the coast, through woods and meadows to Palmer's Point where several short trails lead to the shore. For park information, call (707) 677-3570.

As Highway 101 leads north from St. Patrick's Point, the road runs through Humboldt Lagoons State Park, beside fifteen miles of sand beaches, rocky headlands, old-growth forest and freshwater lagoons and marshes. The lagoons are popular during summer months as beach fans and campers congregate along the shoreline.

In Big Lagoon County Park, 7 miles north of Trinidad, the marshes attract many birds on their migrations -- more than 200 species. Redwood National Park's visitor center is located beside the highway. The large park, surrounding three state parks, is to the north.

Orick is situated in a beautiful valley -- a magnet for anglers who come to fish in the salmon rivers and the ocean and lagoons just to the south. Redwood Creek flows through the center of the valley.

For more on this area,
go to: Redwood National Park.

Where to Stay -- Hotel Guide

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Trinidad Bed and Breakfast (707-677-0840) is a Cape Cod&endash;style home on Edwards Street. The house has four rooms with views of the bay and expanded continental breakfas.

Turtle Rocks Oceanfront Inn, at 3392 Patrick's Point Drive, is located four miles north of Trinidad, on a three-acre oceanfront property. The inn is 15 miles from Redwood National Park, and is less than a mile from the entry to Patrick's Point State Park. This bed and breakfast inn offers a choice of large, airy rooms or suites, all with private baths (oversize tubs with showers). Full breakfast is served.

Bella Vista Motel, in McKinleyville (707-839-1073), offers 16 standard and housekeeping units overlooking the ocean on Central Ave..

Redwood Inn (707-677-3349) is on St. Patrick's Pt. Drive in a redwood grove, with moderate to deluxe accommodations.

Also on St. Patrick's Pt. Drive, Bishop Pine Lodge is a collection of cottages, including new units with their own hot tubs.

Orick has several standard motels, all with some kitchen units. These include the Park Woods Motel on Hwy. 101, the Prairie Creek Motel, with a cafe, and Rolf's Prairie Creek Motel and Park Cafe (where German specialties are served along with game (elk, buffalo, boar) and barbecue.


Private campgrounds and RV parks in Trindad include Deer Lodge RV Park & Motel on St. Patrick's Pt. Drive.

Sylvan Harbor, also on St. Patrick's Pt. Drive, has cabins in addition to an RV park with full hookups.

Trinidad Bay Trailer Court is one block west of the freeway off-ramp.

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