Note: Bald Hills Road is paved for the first 14 miles only, (remainder of road to Weitchpec is dirt & gravel - not recommended for RV's or trailers). Permits are required to visit the Tall Trees Grove. DAVISON RD TO FERN CANYON North-County Coastal Route: Google Map Time: 2 hours round trip Begin: Orick Route: From Hwy 101, drive approx. 2 miles north of Orick to Davison Road and turn left. Follow through Elk Meadow and off of the paved road. Follow this spectacular scenic drive for 6 miles until you reach Gold Bluffs Beach (motorhomes and trailers are not allowed on this road). Once at the coast, follow the road along the beach for another 3 miles (fording through several small streams) until the parking lot at the end. A day-use fee of $8.00 is required.
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: https://www.redwoodparksconservancy.org/permits/fern-canyon-permits
The Payoff: Leads to the trailhead to Fern Canyon - about 1/4 mile from the actual start of the canyon. Drive from the coastal forest to the ocean with a good chance of spotting wild Roosevelt elk. The Twist: Fern Canyon is one of the sites filmed in the movie Jurassic Park II: The Lost World.
TRINITY RIVER NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAY Mid-County - Willow Creek Route: Google Map Time: 4 hours round trip Begin: Arcata - Hwy 299 Route: Follow through farm and timberlands as the road gains altitude. In about one hour you'll reach the town of Willow Creek. Turn north on Hwy 96, following the Trinity River through the Hoopa Valley to the town of Weitchpec, or further on the Klamath River to Orleans. Retrace your steps to Arcata. The Payoff: Spectacular mountain and river scenery. Stop at the Lord Ellis or Berry summit vista points for panoramic views. Fall Colors September through November. The Twist: The route takes you on parts of two officially designated Scenic Byways, the Trinity and the Bigfoot.
LOST COAST LOOP Mid-County Coastal Route: Google Map Time: 4 hours round trip Begin: Ferndale Route: From Ferndale, take the Mattole Road (the "Wildcat") south toward Petrolia. The road touches the ocean at Cape Mendocino, following the shore for six miles. Continue on through Honeydew, out of the Mattole River Valley and into Humboldt Redwoods State park. When you reach Hwy 101, turn north to return. The Payoff: Incredible ocean vistas, sweeping grasslands, tiny rural towns and coastal forest in this extremely isolated section of California coastline. The Twist: You're driving through some of the most seismically active country in the state, and the site of the state's first oil wells. Note: Portions of this drive west of Honeydew and west of Ferndale are rough.
AVENUE OF THE GIANTS - Drive Thru Tree South Humboldt County Humboldt Redwoods State park Route: Google Map Surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park, this world-famous scenic drive is by far the most outstanding display of giant trees in the California redwood belt. This 31-mile portion of old Hwy 101 runs parallel to Hwy 101 and is accessible by most vehicles. Begin: Heading south, exit Hwy 101 south of the town of Scotia, look for signs to Avenue of Giants, town of Pepperwood. Heading north, look for Avenue of the Giants exit just north of Garberville at the town of Phillipsville. Along the Avenue are a number of sleepy small towns including Pepperwood, Redcrest, Weott, Myers Flat (Shrine Drive-Thru Tree), Miranda and Phillipsville. Stop to browse in gift shops for your redwood Riverbend Cellars in Myers Flat memorabilia or pick up picnic supplies. There are several cafes and restaurants along the route as well. Stop in at the Riverwood Inn, last of the old roadhouses, for food and drink.
As the main artery into the heart of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, the Avenue of the Giants provides access to numerous hiking trails and memorial groves. Look for the posted trail heads and access roads. There are also a number of spots from which you can access the Eel River for fishing, swimming and other water fun.