Exploring the Natural Wonders abound
isitors can discover a myriad of pastimes and activities in Humboldt County. This county is home to the Redwood National Park and more than 40 other parks, forests, wildlife reserves and recreation areas. These areas of land combined create half the world’s preserved old growth redwood giants. Hiking, scenic drives, camping, biking, wildlife watching await among the forest, along with more outdoor adventures like beachcombing, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking and canopy tours.
Many well-known wonders of nature exist near The Gingerbread Mansion. Most renowned as the world’s largest remaining old-growth coast redwood forest is “The Avenue of the Giants”. It is possible to either drive through the avenue, or park and hike among the giants. Also, located minutes away from The Gingerbread Mansion, lies “The Lost Coast” of Cape Mendocino. “The Lost Coast” is the most beautiful westerly point in the Contintental United States. This area offers spectacular trails to run on, explore, or photograph. Similarly nearby are the Eel and Van Duzen Rivers which are excellent for fishing salmon and trout. These clean and beautiful rivers are also suitable for swimming. To the north, is Eureka’s Old Town and the ruggedly beautiful coast near Trinidad. Though a little farther than a few minutes from The Gingerbread Mansion, they are also exciting to explore.
Scroll down page to see the variety of places to explore
Bird watching in Russ Park includes 110 acres of closed-canopy forest bird sanctuary with more than 3 miles of hiking trails. Russ Park was donated to Ferndale by Zipporah Patrick Russ in 1920 “as a park…and refuge and breeding place for birds.” Despite its location in Ferndale, between California’s Humboldt Redwoods State Park and the Redwood National Forest, Russ Park is a Sitka Spruce forest which is more rare than Redwoods.
Left on Ocean from Main St. — Ferndale
Documented native and exotic plants adapted to the local climate in a planned landscape provide an educational, aesthetic, and tranquil experience for visitors. A work in progress, the 44.5-acre site includes a completed native plant garden, greenhouse, earth sculpture, and natural riparian area. Upcoming garden plantings include temperate woodland garden and ornamental terrace garden. From Highway 101 take the College of the Redwoods exit #698, south of Eureka, and turn at the north entrance to campus, 7351 Tompkins Hill Road. Open to the public for special events as well as Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. 707-442-5139
Enjoy the spectacular Centerville Beach (see link for map) located 5 miles west of the VictorianVillage of Ferndale. This unique 9 mile stretch of ocean beach is surrounded by picturesque dairy country and near historic Victorian Ferndale.
On this secluded beach you can marvel at the impressive sandstone cliffs, view wildlife and birds, and even see mother whales migrating with their young in April and May when they swim closer to land.
Some of the birds and wildlife you may see include:
Cormorants, Gulls. Pelicans, Sandpipers, Tundra Swans (Migrating from November to March), Harbor seals, and Gray Whales migrate south along the coast from December through February, returning January through May. Mother whales and their young travel through the area very close to land in April and May. The bluffs just south of Centerville Beach may allow observation from land (another excellent site is Table Bluff).
This is an ideal spot for a family picnic, to bring your dog, ride horses along the beach, beachcomb, have a beach bonfire, or simply take in the magnificent beauty of the windswept Northern California coastline.
The Avenue of the Giants – a world-famous scenic drive, is by far the most outstanding display of giant trees in the California redwood belt.
Surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which has the largest remaining stand of virgin redwoods in the world, this 31-mile portion of old Highway 101 runs parallel to Hwy 101 and is accessible by most vehicles.
Ferndale is the northern gateway to the King Range National Conservation Area, known as the Lost Coast. The spectacular meeting of land and sea is a dominant feature, but it is also an area of mountain streams, trails and forests ideal for camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and sightseeing. There are five developed recreation sites in addition to several primitive camps. The King Crest and Chemise Mountain trails have been designated as National Recreation Trails. For a scenic drive of 3-6 hours, loop from the Wildcat Road to Cape Mendocino (the westernmost point in the continental U.S.), Petrolia (home of the first oil well in California), Honeydew, and then to Rockefeller Forest and Highway 101.
For Fishing see the:
Fishing Spots and Access on the Eel River
Ranger-guided tours (at no charge) of the sloughs, wetlands, dunes and beach located just north ofCenterville Beach, and stretching to the south spit of the Eel River, this magnificent property is owned and managed by the state’s largest non-profit land steward, The Wildlands Conservancy. Register for a prescheduled date (see calendar events list), or arrange a hike for your group by calling Rangers Jerome or Zach, 707-762-4724.
Eel River Delta:
Camp Weott Guide Services offers a narrated, 2-hour boat tour which explores the history and wildlife of the Eel River Estuary. Naturalist Bruce Slocum has lived in the area most of his life. Bruce will tell you the history of the Delta and point out the local animal populations as you travel down the river toward the Pacific. Trips are by appointment, beginning one hour before high tide.
Call 707-786-4187 or 707-786-4904.
Let Lost Coast Adventure Tours take you and your group (up to 10 people) hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, ropes course adventure, horseback riding, surfing, diving, a scenic drive, or any other activity our diverse area has to offer.
They offer small day trips with hopes of growing tours into multiple day adventures as soon as possible.
Canoe or kayak the Eel river through the redwoods
Office (707) 986-9895
Cell (707) 502-7514
More than 200 bird species, including 80 kinds of waterbirds and four endangered species regularly visit the bay. The refuge is 2,200 acres of seasonal wetlands, salt marshes, grassland, open bay and mud flats. Peak viewing season is September through March when the Bay is the winter home for thousands of migratory ducks, geese, swans, and shorebirds. Summer visitors will see many gulls, terns, cormorants, pelicans, egrets and herons. There are two interpreted trails of less than 2 miles in length; access is through Loleta.
While you’re at the fairgrounds take note of the Cape Mendocino lighthouse replica, dedicated in 1948. It houses the original fresnel lens which was ground in France and shipped around the horn in 1868. This lens emits 135,000 candle power in each of 16 beams and is lit each evening of the Humboldt County Fair. Call 707-786-9511 for fairgrounds information.
This handy Humboldt County map has details and directions for some of the best attractions the Redwood Coast. Find out where the parks are and what town you want to stay in. View this map in a larger version.
Locally know as the South Spit – A narrow, four-and-a-half-mile-long strip of sand dunes and marshes, separates Humboldt Bay from the Pacific Ocean.
Although just a stone’s throw from the city of Eureka, this 4.5-mile expanse of wave sculpted beaches, windswept dunes and marshy bayshore seems a world away. Beachcombers strolling the coastal sands can watch hang gliders soar on the updrafts above Table Bluff, while surfers ride the offshore swells. It has long been a recreation destination for hunters, anglers, surfers and picnickers.
At the end of Main and Berding Streets, Firemen’s Park offers parking for RVs, picnic areas, an old-fashioned playground, ball field, basketball court, bocce courts and barbecue pits.
The Village Green
A triangle of green surrounded by blossoming trees beside Ferndale City Hall (834 Main Street), the Village Green gazebo houses the State Historical Landmark No. 883 plaque. The green is the traditional site of the annual Ice Cream Social and other community events.
101 THINGS TO DO IN HUMBOLDT
Victorian Village Self-Guided Tours:
Pick up a free souvenir newspaper from The Ferndale Enterprise office or Ferndale shops for walking and driving tour maps to historic homes, churches, and Main Street shops. (Call 707-786-4477 well in advance is you would like your group tour conducted by a local volunteer.)101 THINGS TO DO IN HUMBOLDT