Coastal Trails and Hikes

With so many spectacular coastal trails to choose from, you might just want to hike them all.

Gold Bluffs Beach
Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
This trail begins at Coastal Trail on Coastal Drive and traverses downhill to Carruthers Cove at the ocean (check for low tide times).  A flat stroll alongside Sitka spruce takes you past Ossagon backpack site. Walk the road to Gold Bluffs Beach campground.   Difficulty Level: Steep down to beach, then easy, level hike.

Due to the volume of visitors, California State Parks / National Park Service will require Day Use Permits to access to Gold Bluffs Beach and Fern Canyon.  Reservations will be required May 15th to September 15th. Reservations are not required September 16th to May 14th. Visitors are still required to pay the day-use fee.  Apply for a Permit:

Sue-Meg State Park located just north of Trinidad, it features hikes and trails on bluffs overlooking the coastline, leading down to beaches and into the forests.  You can spend days camping and hiking in this beautiful state park.  One of the more popular trails is the Rim Trail, a two-mile walk that offers excellent views of the ocean and offshore rocks where you may see harbor seals, sea lions, whales, and the famous Octopus tree looping through a grove of old-growth Sitka spruce.   

From Agate Beach to Palmer’s Point, six rather steep, quarter-mile trails connect the Rim Trail to the shoreline. Fun for the kids and adults too, is a short loop trail that leads to the Sumeg Village which consists of three typical family houses, a sweathouse, a dance pit, three changing houses and a redwood canoe.  

Trinidad Head
This trail leads to one of the most spectacular views on the coast! Great place to watch sunsets or view the gray whales and many other species of marine mammals. It offers a partial view of the active 1871 lighthouse. There are benches and a cross at the summit. The cross bears a date of 1775 and is a historic landmark. The head trail is due south of the Trinidad State Beach parking lot. Give yourself an hour to complete the loop.  Easy - moderate with some uphill. For a great beach hike take the stairway leading to the beach behind the Trinidad Lighthouse Memorial.  


Hammond Coastal Trail
5+ total miles - McKinleyville
Easy. A unique coastal trail linking Arcata and McKinleyville's Clam Beach - perfect for hiking, biking and horseback riding. This component of the California Coastal Trail stretches from the Arcata Bottoms northward to Clam Beach County Park in McKinleyville. The trail has been voted "best place to walk, jog, or bike" in Humboldt County in a poll taken by the Times-Standard newspaper. Dogs on Leash allowed. Easy   Hikshari' Trail in Eureka The Hikshari’ Trail in south Eureka’s Elk River Access Area, stretches and winds 1.5 miles along the Elk River and through the Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary.  With easy access and flat paved trails, this is a great way to stretch your legs and enjoy a side section of Humboldt Bay when you are visiting Eureka.

Lost Coast Trail
4.4 total miles - Shelter Cove
This relatively easy piece of the Lost Coast Trail follows a narrow strip of grassy meadows nestled between driftwood-strewn beaches and densely forested slopes. There are two excellent walk-in campgrounds along the trail for those who want to spend more time here.

Hikes in the King Range 
There are many incredible hikes and backpacking destinations in the rugged King Range National Conservation Area. 

Punta Gorda Lighthouse
6.4 total miles - Petrolia
The hike follows the coastline south from Mattole River to Punta Gorda, a sandy walk that ends at the lighthouse turret. Just south of sheltering Cape Mendocino, the coastline here is reputed to have regular fog-free days during the summer months, a rarity on the North Coast.