A wonderland for nature lovers, Humboldt County is renowned as the home of the coast redwoods. Half of the remaining old growth survivors of this ancient species reside in Humboldt County, including the world’s tallest tree in Redwood National Park and the amazing champions along the Avenue of the Giants. The 2,000 year old big trees are only the beginning of our Humboldt County bucket list. Camping, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and magical trails are waiting to be discovered. We’ve come up with a Humboldt County bucket list to help you discover the tallest trees in the world and some of the most epic natural wonders you will ever lay your eyes on.
Humboldt County Bucket List
Number One: Redwood National and State Parks
Ancient and mystical, Redwood National and State Parks protect nearly half of the world’s coast redwoods, the world’s tallest living things. Wind down a breathtaking road featuring some of the most massive redwoods ever seen. The Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center is a must-stop, as well as the Shrine Drive Thru Tree, and the Rockefeller Forest where you will find the largest stand of old growth trees. Surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Avenue of the Giants is a 31-mile scenic drive through an outstanding display of giant redwood trees. Avenue of the Giants runs along historic Highway 101 and runs parallel to modern highway 101.
Number Two: The Lost Coast
With no major roads to access this coastal region, it is rightly called the Lost Coast, but with the nearly 25-mile-long Lost Coast Trail, it is on the Humboldt County bucket list of many avid hikers. This scenic coastal playground provides an endless expanse of memorable beaches, including Black Sands Beach, scattered forests, and sweeping views.
Number Three: Fern Canyon
Perhaps the real Lost World, a secret adventure awaits at Fern Canyon, the primeval location used in the filming of Jurassic Park 2. Down a long and winding road, travelers will find well-marked paths crossing over seasonal bridges beneath towering redwoods. When you come upon a hidden canyon cut deep into the mountain side, you know your adventure continues. Narrow 50-foot walls shoot high above on either side, carpeted by ferns.
Number Four: Ferndale
Known worldwide as the Victorian Village, Ferndale is a living postcard. Barely changed for the last 150 years, see beautifully preserved homes and shops that bring you back in time. Continue the journey to a bygone era with a stroll down Main Street, complete with a general store, ice cream parlor, blacksmith, saloons, and museums. Ferndale is a hidden oasis of small town charm.
Number Five: Elk Prairie Campground
Many of the biggest, tallest and most awe-inspiring redwoods are within minutes of Elk Prairie Campground. All trails radiating from the campground are winners, but an especially good one with children is the Revelation Trail loop. Some other giants are across the Drury Parkway along the Cathedral Trail, including the iconic Big Tree.
The Roosevelt elk are North America’s largest and there are plenty to be seen in the meadows and prairies adjacent to the campground.
Number Six: Humboldt Lagoons
Fishing, kayaking, beachcombing, and bird watching are all favorites in the Humboldt County lagoons. Big Lagoon offers plenty of exploring and rock collecting, and for those who desire to move off the beaten trail, a fantastic hiking path stretches from Dry Lagoon to Stone Lagoon. At Kayak Zak’s, in Stone lagoon, you might see a herd of elk in the water, a giant flock of cormorants in the overhanging trees, a family of otters swimming around, or some still-in-use ceremonial huts by a local Native American tribe.
Number Seven: Richardson Grove State Park
Rays of sunlight burst through the generous collection of old growth redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park. Although it’s not the largest state park in the county, it made the Humboldt County bucket list because there is a massive redwood that you can walk through the middle of it. You can camp, picnic, and hike on nine miles of trails, and don’t miss the gentle “racetrack” path, which passes many unusual redwoods, including a chandelier tree with multiple trunks branching several feet above the ground.
Number Eight: Trinity River
Adding more adventure to the Humboldt County bucket list, Trinity River winds deep into the mountains for 165 miles and features endless swimming holes, fishing, rafting, camping, and backpacking. Explore Trinity River while rafting through thrilling waves with the Upper Trinity Whitewater Trip with 6 Rivers Rafting.
Number Nine: Christmas Convoy in Eureka
On the second Saturday evening of every December, thousands of people line the streets of Eureka and delight at the spectacle of huge trucks adorned in holiday lights. A Eureka tradition for about 20 years, the Christmas convoys range in size from 50 to 100. 18-wheel trucks stretch as long as 60 feet, including some with special parade additions. Some trucks have been covered in more than 40,000 lights.
Humboldt County is a world unlike any other. Filled with giants, black beaches, sheltered coves, Victorian villages, and huge walls blanketed with ferns, it’s a place where magic happens and dreams comes true. For Humboldt County itinerary ideas that encompass the Humboldt County bucket list, check out Visit Redwoods.
Humboldt County Bucket List at a Glance