northern CA coastline
The Humboldt County coast is chock full of wild and remote beaches that beg for exploration. Just north of the Mendocino County line is the city of Shelter Cove, located at the end of a twisty 25-mile drive from Highway 101. It’s worth the drive to get there to walk on Black Sand Beach and to check out the many tidepooling coves right in town. The coast between Shelter Cove and the Mattole River is part of King Range National Conservation Area. The Lost Coast Trail backpacking route follows the coastline in this area with access to very remote beaches and the Punta Gorda Lighthouse. North of the Mattole River are many unnamed beaches next to wind-swept dunes and cattle grazing lands that end at Cape Mendocino, the westernmost point in California. The coast near Humboldt Bay is one continuous sandy beach from the small farming town of Ferndale south of Eureka all the way to Trinidad Bay north of Arcata. Along this stretch are many county parks, wildlife areas, and recreation areas. The town of Trinidad has picturesque beaches including Trinidad State Beach and some smaller beaches on the bay. North of Trinidad most of the beaches are in state parks such as Patrick’s Point SP, Humboldt Lagoons SP, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Del Norte County begins near the Klamath River and continues the rest of the way up the California Coast to the border with Oregon.