By Frank Galusha
Humboldt County offers some of the finest fishing, hunting and outdoor experiences in Northern California. From the Lost Coast, Shelter Cove and Ferndale on the south to the small town of Orick on the north, Humboldt County is a potpourri of countless outdoor adventures with something for everyone to see and do.
In between are unforgettable memories: a Victorian village, lands teeming with wildlife, Humboldt Bay surging with fish and watchful birds, Trinidad, a quaint delightful coast side getaway, enchanting lagoons with lives all their own, beaches of never-ending discovery, historic cities and towns, bountiful rivers, incredible offshore fishing, and absolutely lush state parks bathed by the shadows of Sitka spruce, old-growth forests and some of the state's tallest redwoods.Shelter Cove, a remote seaside community, is twenty miles west of Highway 101 at Garberville. Visitors take the Briceland Road, which winds through the rugged Coastal Range and ends, after a steep descent, at the harbor.
Shelter Cove also offers an RV park, camping and a number of motels and inns. This is also the southern gateway to the Lost Coast Wilderness. Backpackers relish the remote coastal trail. Deer, elk, and bears can be seen as well as whales spouting just offshore and sea lions basking on the rocks...more Shelter Cove.
Humboldt Bay is the only deep water port between San Francisco and Coos Bay, Oregon. Within this large haven are many commercial docks for tug boats, the commercial fishing fleet, barges and cargo ships of every description.
The bay is a great place to fish for rockfish, lingcod, California halibut, perch, herring, anchovies, sharks and rays. In some years large numbers of salmon come into the harbor in search of bait fish or spawning habitat in the rivers that enter the bay. Anglers also fish from the mile-long jetties or from the banks. During minus tides, clam diggers descend upon the south end of the bay in search of Martha Washington, horseneck, cockle and geoduck clams...more Humboldt Bay.
Eureka with its restored Old Town District is another delight with many shops, eateries and other attractions.
To the west is the Samoa Spit, the Coast Guard Station, Samoa Campground and Samoa Dunes. At the bay's northern edge is the town of Arcata with its plaza surrounded by more shops and many excellent places to eat or have coffee. Many events are held in the plaza, which is also the place where you can rub shoulders with students from HSU -- Humboldt State University.
Trinidad and Trinidad Harbor, a charming town and unique haven are 17 miles to the north beyond the Mad River and Clam Beach. The area north and south of Trinidad is dotted with private homes, campgrounds and many accommodations some of which also overlook the Pacific. There is a tent site, a cabin or luxurious home waiting for you.
Excellent offshore fishing! It's fun to be at the pier to watch boats being launched on the steep cable-operated rail line. Or to be present when boats are being unloaded with anglers carrying home heavy sacks of fish or filets...more Trinidad.
Patrick’s Point State Park, one of California’s most beautiful destinations, is just five miles north of Trinidad. The park is home to many tree species including coastal redwoods, spruce, hemlock, pine, fir and red alder.
Pathways and stairs take you down the sheer cliffs to sandy beaches that are constantly being reformed by the pounding surf. In this park you will also find a re-created Yurok village, a native plant garden, visitor center, three family campgrounds, two group camps, a camp for hikers and bicyclists, and three group picnic areas. The rocky shoreline here is a playground for divers and abalone hunters while just north are more expansive beaches that are very popular with surf anglers and beach combers.
Big Lagoon, Freshwater Lagoon and Stone Lagoon are remarkable habitats filled with life that must adjust to changing water conditions when the sea breaches the berms.
Further north on your journey comes the chance to see much of California's remaining old-growth forests including several redwood groves. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Redwood Creek are other attractions. Drive slowly and carefully here as this area is home to many herds of Roosevelt Elk...more Lagoons.
Gold Bluffs Beach and Fern Canyon The bluffs stand guard above the beach prote are a "must see" for Prairie Creek State Park visitors.cting the old forest against north Pacific storms.
Shell and other sea fossils can be found at the base of the crumbling bluffs. Fern Canyon was carved out by a small coastal stream and its vertical walls are covered with dripping ferns and waterfalls. This is where your waterproof boots will let you explore the canyon in comfort as the stream is full in winter but passable. Large redwood logs have fallen into the canyon and the whole scene looks and is prehistoric. An easy trail climbs out of the canyon and loops back to the beach. Gold Bluffs Beach is also renowned for its redtail perch fishing, one of the only sporting activities allowed in the park.
Willow Creek on the Trinity River...don't blink, you won't want to miss it! It is the town of Willow Creek, four blocks, fitting into a small dot on your GPS, bursting with magnificent waters and fun filled activities for the adventurous traveler.
Easily reached via State Routes 96 and 299, Willow Creek's convenient
location and many amenities make it an ideal destination spot for all.Originally named China Flat, Willow Creek's rich history can be found
from one end to the other.
Come and enjoy this wide range of outdoor activities.The coastline from Humboldt Bay north is not only some of the most scenic in California, it is also easily accessible from Highway 101 by car, bicycle or on foot.
That portion between the mouth of Little River in the south and Big Lagoon in the north has been compared to the rugged coast of New England. Be sure to bring your camera and plenty of memory cards. You'll want a record of this magical place with its huge trees, herds of elk, endless beaches, sand dunes, and bluffs draped with gold by the setting sun.
Welcome to Humboldt County!
Photos by Casey Allen, Tracy McCormack, Marna Powell
Larry Moss and Lorissa Soriano
Be sure to pay a visit to these Humboldt County pages as well:
If you are interested in advertising on this page contact Casey Allen at 707-845-9234.