Best Autumn Hiking Adventures in Humboldt County

Autumn’s peak season is hurriedly approaching with summer in the rearview mirror here on California’s North Coast. Most tourists don’t realize that the temperatures in Northern California remain at ideal levels year-round – our oceanside paradise gleefully avoids sizzling summer afternoons and frigid winter evenings. We’re still blessed with refreshingly crisp air and colorful maples, ash, and alders every autumn. The Humboldt County wilderness is naturally painted a beautiful blend of forest green, amber, marigold, and crimson, which makes hiking in Northern California one of the premier outdoor activities every harvest.

Experienced hikers, backpackers, and nature photographers naturally choose Redwood Vacation Rentals as their autumn getaway headquarters because many of our cozy, private cottages are set deep in the heart of the vast, picturesque North Coast wilderness. Take hiking in Northern California to the next level with half-day adventures at these four Humboldt County trails.

Elk River Trail

hiking in northern californiaWhile we highly encourage everyone to hike for at least two days in Redwood National Park, sometimes it’s best to avoid crowds and backpack on a genuinely peaceful trail far from civilization. The Elk River Trail, located in the Headwater Forest Reserve near the charming cities of Eureka and Fortuna, is a 9.5-mile out-and-back trail that weaves underneath towering redwoods. This serene hike features unharmed plantlife, the rushing South Fork Elk River, and occasional wildlife sightings. Local coho salmon spawn every winter in the stream, beginning in November, and majestic northern spotted owls peer down from the branches above. Some choose to turn around at the river crossing, which cuts approximately three miles from the journey.

Arcata Community Forest Loop

If you’re searching for a convenient yet breathtaking early morning hike, look no further than the Arcata Community Forest Loop. Part of what makes the city of Arcata so sensational is its proximity to premier beach breaks and lush, preserved forestry. Redwood Vacation Rentals has properties steps from the loop’s trailhead! This 3.9-mile forest loop has mammoth redwoods, rare banana slugs, and diverse plant life. Hikers of all skill levels can easily conquer the occasional inclines.

Trillium Falls Trail

The Trillium Falls Trail rests in the heart of the Prairie Creek Redwood State Park, north of Orick. This moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop features some of the tallest and thickest redwoods in the national park. Hikers have spotted families of elk, deer, and occasionally black bears – it’s imperative to remember what to do if you encounter a black bear. The trilliums don’t bloom in autumn, but the waterfall is quite beautiful when the creek is flowing generously after heavy rainfall. If you’re planning on hiking in Northern California, please don’t skip Trillium Falls.

Tall Trees Grove Loop

hiking in northern californiaThe Tall Trees Grove Loop is one of the most popular trails in Redwood National Park, so expect small crowds of hikers during peak hours. In the morning, however, the trail is sublimely quiet. You can walk directly through many fallen redwoods that have been carved to create a path for hikers. The moss-covered maple trees transform into blazing amber spectacles, and the crystal clear Redwood Creek provides the perfect opportunity for an afternoon picnic. The hike is nearly five miles in total with occasional steep inclines.

Northern California Vacation Rentals

Park Avenue Guest House

hiking in northern californiaThe Park Avenue Guest House is the ideal lodging option for those aiming to explore the Arcata Community Forest Loop. This charming, four-person home has high ceilings, warm colors, and a private deck with sweeping views of Humboldt Bay. It’s also a short drive from downtown Arcata and Humboldt State University.

Berry Glen Redwood Park Loft

hiking in northern californiaWhen you stay at the Berry Glen Redwood Park Loft, north of Orick, you’ll be less than a mile from Trillium Falls and steps from the Berry Glen Trail. This stunning two-story barn loft sleeps two and is highlighted by the interior’s brilliant scarlet-clad walls and ceilings. Wild animals often say hello on the vast, lush countryside property.

Henderson Haven

hiking in northern californiaStay in lively Eureka if you’re planning on hiking in Northern California! The Henderson Haven on D Street is only nine miles from the Elk River Trail, and it’s steps from dozens of delicious dining options. This beautiful 1,800-square foot North Coast home sleeps seven comfortably and is loaded with modern amenities, a private backyard, and a lavish walk-in shower.

Visit our extensive website to peruse our catalog of charming North Coast vacation rentals, many of which are conveniently located to the region’s premier hiking trails. Dial 1-707-834-6555 for reservations or more information.

Kid Friendly Hikes Northern California

If you are anything like me, one of your main goals for the summer is to get the kids outdoors. Pulling children away from their screens and getting them connected to nature is a theme I often hear other parents discussing. From experience I know that exploring the many kid friendly hikes Northern California has to offer is by far one of the best ways to get our children engaged with the great outdoors. The magnificent kid friendly hikes both in and around Redwood National and States Parks have the tendency to instill a sense of awe and wonder for nature and her beauty, not only for the children, but the entire family as well.

We have compiled a list of some of the most kid friendly hikes Northern California offers….

While the Redwood National & State park system boasts some pretty amazing trails, the surrounding area of the entire Redwood Coast has some spots to explore that you and the family really do not want to miss. Starting from the North and working our way South, these hiking trails are some of the local favorites for families with children.

Lady Bird Johnson Grove

kid friendly hikes northern california

Named after the late environmental activist and former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson Grove is easily one of the favorite and most popular kid friendly hikes Northern California provides. You can walk among ancient redwoods on this 1-mile loop that lies near the top of a ridge in Redwood National Park.

One of features of the trails that families seem to like most is the brochure provided at the trailhead which corresponds to marked posts along the trail guiding you along this historically significant trail making it an education experience for all.

Featured Vacation Rental Near Lady Bird Johnson Loop Trail:

kid friendly hikes northern california

Trinidad Head Loop

kid friendly hikes northern california Ocean views, spouting whales, and endless coastline. Trinidad Head Loop is an 1.3 mile trail located just outside of the quaint fishing village of Trinidad, CA. The trailhead parking is found at Trinidad State Beach and Trinidad Pier, which are also great places to explore with little ones. Trinidad head is actually one of the most accessible kid friendly hikes Northern California provides. It also boasts one of the best views along the entire pacific coastline. Grey whales, sea lions, and dolphins are often spotted from the trail’s numerous viewpoints.

Featured Vacation Rentals Near Trinidad Head Loop:

kid friendly hikes northern california

The Hammond Trail

Often referred to as the “best place to walk, jog, or bike” by Humboldt county residents, this popular trail cruises along spectacular bluffs that allow you to gaze out over onto the Pacific ocean. This is a well maintained, smooth trail consisting of a combination of dirt and asphalt. It starts off at Clam Beach State Park and ends at the Mad River Bridge in McKinleyville, CA.  In total the trail is 5.5 miles but can easily be done in smaller sections. If you are wanting to take the family on a bike ride while visiting the Redwood Coast this is the trail for you. There is a great little park located direct on the trail as well. There are also several places along the trail where you can spot whales.

Featured Vacation Rental Near The Hammond Trail:

kid friendly hikes northern california
The NorCal Garden Casita

 

Humboldt Bay Trail

kid friendly hikes northern california While only sections of this trail are complete at this time, you do not want to miss out on one of the most kid friendly hikes Northern California and the Redwood Coast offers. At the moment, the northern 3- mile portion of the Humboldt Bay Trail seems to be the most popular section. It runs through the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary where you can spot a variety of migratory birds and native plant species.

Make sure to stop by the Visitors Center located at the Marsh. There’s lots of great interactive exhibits for kids and educational info about the marsh and its inhabitants.

The southern-most potion of the Humboldt Bay Trail is a 1.5 mile stretch known as the Hikshari’ Trail. This section winds along the Elk River and through the Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary. This is paved trail which makes it great for biking and skating. It is also pet friendly for those of you traveling with fur babies. Eventually the Humboldt Bay Trail will trace the length of the bay, connecting these two section of trail, spanning some 13 miles between Eureka and Arcata, CA. For now the various sections are all worth exploring.

Featured Vacation Rental Near The Humboldt Bay Trail:

kid friendly hikes northern california
Yashi Stay, Arcata CA

Cheatham Grove

kid friendly hikes northern california Heading away from the coastline and a bit deeper into the redwood forest, Cheatham Grove at Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park offers a wonderful kid friendly trail that the whole family will enjoy. This 0.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located just off of Hwy 36 near Carlotta, CA. Chatham Grove features beautiful wild flowers and a particularly beautiful stand of ancient Redwoods. The beauty of Cheatham Grove is famously reflected in the movie Return of the Jedi which was filmed here.

Featured Vacation Rental Near Cheatham Grove & Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park:

kid friendly hikes northern california
Cream City Cottage & Studio, Ferndale CA

 

With trails like these it is easy to get the whole family out this summer to explore the serene splendor of the Redwood Coast. As we all know, kids grow up entirely too fast. Making memories to cherish for a lifetime is what it is all about. And trust us, you and your family will never forget the natural beauty that exists along this most magical stretch of the Northern California coastline.

See More Kid Friendly Activities On Northern California’s Redwood Coast

Northern California’s Best Kayaking Destinations

With 100+ miles of coastline, a sprawling bay, and pristine rivers, Humboldt County is definitely a premier kayaking destination…. Redwood Coast Vacation Rentals offers coastal vacation rentals near some of Northern California’s best kayaking spots. 

When preparing for your redwood forest vacation be sure to scout out these top kayaking destination and the amazing coastal vacation rentals located nearby….  

best redwood coast kayaking spots
Freshwater Lagoon Nature Retreat

Humboldt Lagoons – Comprised of Big Lagoon, Stone Lagoon, and Freshwater Lagoon, these large protected bodies of water are wonderful for kayaking, paddle boarding, wildlife viewing, and fishing. The lagoons provide many points of access and boat ramps for small craft. Visitors to the lagoons have the opportunity to see otters, elk, migratory birds, and much more. For guided tours and equipment rental stop in a Kayaks Zak’s located at the Stone Lagoon Visitor Center. 

All 3 of the Humboldt Lagoons are located just moments from Redwood National Park and the town of Orick. There are several coastal vacation rentals located nearby. The Freshwater Lagoon Nature Retreat is pretty spectacular if you are looking to be near the waterways and the national park. This property boasts sixteen private waterfront acres which sit at the entry way to Redwood National and State Park just minutes from the tallest trees in the world. The giant floor to ceiling windows throughout the house allows you to gaze out at the beautiful natural setting of scenic 200 acre Freshwater Lagoon. Beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean await you here!

kayaking redwood coast, northern california kayaking
Trinidad Pier – Coastal Vacation Rentals

Trinidad Pier – Trinidad sits on one of the most phenomenal stretches of the entire northern California Coastline. You don’t want to miss out in launching out here for some sea kayaking. Located at the pier you will find a small beach launch for kayaks and other small craft. When exploring here you will get the chance to discover ancient kelp beds, lots of interesting rock formations, several types of migratory birds, seal colonies, and loads of other marine life.

Coastal vacation rentals in the town of Trinidad are abundant, but for the absolute best view of the Trinidad Pier and Harbor itself check out the Seascape Home. This 3 bedroom & 1 bath main house and 1 bedroom with 1 bath suite provide stunning views of the Trinidad Harbor and put you just steps from the beach launch.

Mad River Slough – Meander by boat along the channels where the Mad River diverts into the Humboldt Bay. This is hands down one of the best places for birdwatching in the area. Located at the North end of Manila, the Mad River Slough offers a ramp to launch off of and is a great place to set out to explore this local waterway. Pacific Outfitters leads a 2 to 4-mile tour of the Mad River Slough. This is truly a must see for all birders!

kayaking redwood coast, coastal vacation rentals, northern california
Birders Paradise – Mad River Slough Kayak Tour
kayaking redwood coast, coastal vacation rentals, northern california kayaking
Photo Credit: @eelriverestuarypreserve

Eel River Estuary – This is by far one of the richest areas for wildlife in the region. And with a new boat ramp at Pedrazzini Park in Loleta, this is a great place to launch your boat. Offering tidal wetlands, fresh water marshes, sand dunes, grass lands, beach frontage and a half moon bay on the Eel River, this is an excellent spot for viewing river otters, harbor seals, migratory birds, salmon and steel head. During the winter this estuary is also a refuge for tens of thousands of Aleutian Geese.

Located just minutes from the estuary and beaches you can find several coastal vacation rentals. The Eel Valley Guest House in Fortuna offers 2 Month Minimum Stays for explorers looking for an extended vacation in the region. This 3 bedroom home is perched on a hillside overlooking the gorgeous Eel Valley and is the perfect place for an extended play /stay on the Redwood Coast. More short term coastal vacation rentals are also available in Fortuna and the nearby Victorian Village of Ferndale, one of “America’s prettiest towns.”