Hit the Road: an outdoor adventure to Humboldt County

A female hiker is seen walking on a wide expanse of beach.
From coastal wilderness to the world's largest expanse of ancient redwoods, Humboldt County is packed with summery to-dos. | Photo by Carlos R Pineda

We’re kicking off our summer road trip series — Hit the Road — with an outdoor adventure-themed trip to Humboldt County. With its Redwood National + State Parks and coastal campsites, this region is a great destination for experienced adventurers + novice nature seekers alike. 

Before you start packing your bags, here’s everything you need to know about the area + our insider recommendations.

Drive time: ~5.5 hours

Est. population: ~136,500

Avg. high in June: 69º

A child wearing a hoodie walks between a grove of redwood trees.
Walking amongst some of the most ancient trees in the world never gets old. | Photo by @justjerstin

 

🥾Things to do

Humboldt Redwoods State Park 

Famous for its car-friendly views of coastal giants across 53,000 acres of forested parkland, this park also features the largest expanse of ancient redwoods left on Earth. It’s also home to 100+ miles of trails, a river for fishing, swimming and boating, and even a horse camp.

Fern Canyon

There’s nothing else quite like this one-mile trail that courses alongside 50-ft-tall canyon walls absolutely bedecked in giant, prehistoric-like ferns. Heads up: You will need a day-use permit to access the trailhead by car, however no pass is needed if you hike into the canyon from the James Irvine Trail near the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Visitor’s Center.

Humboldt Lagoons State Park

Part of the country’s largest system of lagoons, this park’s access to dunes, forests, and coastal scrublands offers one of the best places to take in the area’s wildlife, like whales, elks, pelicans + more. It’s also a family-friendly spot for paddleboarding and kayaking. 

Fried eggs shine in a cast iron pot on top of a wood table.
There’s nothing like food after a good long hike in the woods. | Photo by @campgroundarcata

🍽️ Fuel up after hiking

Campground | 865 9th St., Arcata

This American restaurant serves steaks + slings whiskey with a by-the-fire ambiance, complete with cast iron skillets that are used as plates.

The Larrupin’ Café | 1658 Patricks Point Dr., Trinidad

Gourmet American cuisine + a local favorite for a dinner out, this lambent-lit eatery serves dishes like filet mignon, mesquite grilled portobello, and spanakopita.

Mad River Brewing | 101 Taylor Wy.

This award-winning brewery, which serves suds like Redwood Stout + the Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, is owned and operated by California’s largest Native American Tribe — the Yurok. Its taproom also offers eats, such as its fried chicken sandwhich or organic house salad with sweet chiles.

Exposed wood and dark metal accents stand out in this loft space.
This second-floor space is located in a historical residence that dates back to 1905. | Photo via VRBO

🏕️ Cozy campsites + cabins

Vrbo Historic Home with Prime Downtown Location | Arcata

Just blocks away from the small coastal town’s city center, this 3-BD, 2-BA space is a wonderful basecamp for redwood rambles, wild coast wanderings, or a quiet staycation. Expect a fully-equipped kitchen on the home’s second story, along with a workspace nook, and wood + brick accents.

Vrbo Vacation House in the Redwoods | Avenue of the Giants

Enjoy forest bathing — or just jump into the hot tub in the backyard — at this 1-BD, 1-BA cottage located just off of Hwy 101 near Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The hosts also invite guests to enjoy the organic veggie + flower garden on the property.

Hidden Springs Campground | Humboldt Redwoods State Park

This large hillside campsite is primarily for tent campers. While it may not offer views of the park’s historic redwoods, this is one of its more quiet + private sites.

Looking for more recommendations? Head to the link below. Plus, stay tuned for the July installment of our Hit the Road series. We’ll be highlighting a 30-mile road trip.