Discover Your Journey and Connect our California State Parks
Connect and Discover Your Journey In One of The Beautiful State Parks in Humboldt County
Parks are essential to the well-being of environments, economies and all people. California’s state parks and the recreational programs supported by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and its divisions of Boating and Waterways, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation, and Office of Historic Preservation, are gateways to these benefits and to opportunities to connect with families, friends, and communities.
With 280 state park units, over 340 miles of coastline, 970 miles of lake and river frontage, 15,000 campsites, and 4,500 miles of trails, the department contains the largest and most diverse recreational, natural, and cultural heritage holdings of any state agency in the nation.
Together, state park system lands protect and preserve an unparalleled collection of culturally and environmentally sensitive structures and habitats, threatened plant and animal species, ancient Native American sites, historic structures and artifacts… the best of California’s natural and cultural history.
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Richardson Grove State Park
Established in 1922, Richardson Grove State Park was one of California’s first redwood parks. It began with 120 acres—only 1/4 the size of Muir Woods National Monument today. With the help of Save the Redwoods League and other generous donors, the park has grown to 1,800 acres.
A four-hour drive from San Francisco, the park features stunning coast redwoods more than three hundred feet tall and a national “wild and scenic” river (the South Fork of the Eel). Visitors can swim or wade in the river in summer and try catch-and-release fishing for salmon or steelhead in the winter. Check out the walk-through tree and the bat tree; learn from the tree-ring study conducted in 1933. You can camp, picnic, and hike on nine miles of trails. 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.
Richardson Grove is liveliest in the summer, when the visitor center and nature store are open. Summer brings campfire programs, Junior Ranger activities, and guided nature walks.
Access is easy off Highway 101, which bisects the park seven miles south of Garberville.
Summer 75–95° F. Morning and evening fog is common. Winter 30–50° F. Be prepared for rain.
- No diving or jumping into the river.
- No lifeguards are on duty. Children should be supervised at all times.
- Fires are permitted only in fireplaces provided. No ground fires are allowed.
- All park features are protected by law and must not be disturbed in any way.
- Do not leave crumbs and food scraps or feed wild animals.
- Pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet during the day and kept in your vehicle or tent at night.
- Except for service animals, pets are not allowed on hiking trails.
- Bicycles are allowed only on paved roadways.
1600 US Highway 101 #8
Garberville, CA 95440-3318
Benbow State Recreation Area
To provide power for the new development in the valley , a concrete dam was constructed across the south fork of the Eel River from 1931-1937. The dam not only provided power but also created Benbow Lake.
The Benbow family, interested in preserving the natural scene around the Hotel and along the river, made efforts to place the land under State protection. In 1956 funds were approved for the Benbow Project and it was purchased in 1958, creating Benbow Lake State Recreation Area.
Today the park consists of campsites and a large day-use picnic area. Hiking, picnicking and camping are popular summer time activities, while salmon and steelhead fishing are popular in the winter.
Location – Directions
2 miles south of Garberville on Highway 101.
Large vehicles and RV’s should enter the park from South Benbow Drive. North Benbow drive has a one lane road, on a hill that is difficult to navigate for large vehicles and RV’s
1600 Highway 101
Garberville CA 95542
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
In the early 1900s, loggers came to what is now Humboldt Redwoods State Park to cut down lofty ancient redwoods for grape stakes and shingles. The founders of Save the Redwoods League thought that was akin to “chopping up a grandfather clock for kindling.” From the acquisition of a single grove in 1921, the League has raised millions of dollars to build and expand this park. Today Humboldt Redwoods spans 53,000 acres, an area almost twice the size of San Francisco. About one third, or 17,000 acres, of the park is old-growth redwood forest—the largest expanse of ancient redwoods left on the planet.
This park offers one of the best places to see redwoods by car in the entire North Coast region: the 32-mile-long Avenue of the Giants. Good stops along the way include Founder’s Grove, with its fallen 362-foot Dyerville Giant, and the California Federation of Women’s Clubs Hearthstone, designed by famed architect Julia Morgan.
The South Fork of the Eel River provides excellent opportunities for fishing, boating, picnicking, and swimming. More than 100 miles of trails await hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians, who (along with other visitors) can spend the night in one of more than 250 campsites.
Dave Stockton, former executive director of the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association, knows the park well. “As a member of the community of living things, you owe it to yourself to experience this place,” he says.
A wide variety of activities and facilities are available. More than 250 family campsites in three different campgrounds, plus environmental camps, group camps, trail camps, and a horse camp. A hundred-plus miles of trail await exploration by hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. The South Fork Eel River provides fishing, boating, and swimming opportunities while several-day use areas are ideal for picnicking, family activities, or merely enjoying the pristine environment.
Some favorite locations include the Founders Grove Nature Trail, the 32-mile Avenue of the Giants Auto Tour, and the Humboldt Redwoods Visitor Center. The visitor center offers a wide variety of fun and educational exhibits and activities, including a theatre, displays, a bookstore, and the famous Kellogg Travel Log—the world’s first RV, carved out of a fallen log and driven cross-country four times. Bird-caller Charles Kellogg promoted redwoods conservation and the fledgling Save the Redwoods League in his unique motor home.
Auto Tour brochures are available at either end of the Avenue of the Giants and at the visitor center. During the summer season, such interpretive activities as nature walks, Junior Ranger programs, and campfire programs are held daily.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is the site of two marathon races within the first three weekends of May and October every year. These marathons close two of the main roads through the park for up to six hours. For dates and details, contact the Avenue of the Giants Marathon (spring) or the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon (fall).
To help plan your trip, please check out all of the links located on the right side of the screen under Related Pages.
Rules and Notifications
The Visitor Center is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas
Don’t feed wildlife and clean up all food in your camp.
Store food in an animal-proof container.
Put trash in an animal-proof container.
Two marathons are held in the park within the first three weekends of May and October every year. These marathons close two of the main roads through the park for up to six hours. . For details, contact the Avenue of the Giants Marathon (spring) or the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon (fall).
This park is Crumb Clean. Visitors are required to watch this short video about the impact human food has on park wildlife.
Due to a public health and safety concern, the propane lights will no longer be lit in the restrooms at the Williams Grove Group Camp. Please bring a lantern or a flashlight when using the facilities.
Park headquarters and the visitor center are located on the Avenue of the Giants, State Route 254, between the towns of Weott and Myers Flat—45 miles south of Eureka and 20 miles north of Garberville, off Highway 101. Weott is 228 miles north of San Francisco on Highway 101. The 32-mile-long Avenue of the Giants runs roughly parallel to Highway 101 from Phillipsville in the south to Pepperwood in the north.
Summer: Highs in the 70s to 90s, lows in the 50s.
Winter: Highs in the 50s to 60s, lows in the 20s to 30s.
Visitors should come prepared for any type of weather. The park receives between 60 and 80 inches of rain per year; the vast majority falls between October and May. Rain in the summer season is unusual, but does occur. In the summer, frequent morning fog usually burns off by noon. Summer temperatures can vary widely – Expect as much as a 30-degree temperature difference between the extreme north end of the park, closer to the ocean, and the southern end of the park, just 30 miles away. Winter snow is unusual but does occur at the higher elevations in the park, usually above 2,000 feet.
Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area
Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area is the southern gateway to the world-famous redwood belt along California’s North Coast. About 10 miles of trails weave through its steep canyon bluffs, second-growth forests, and clusters of old-growth redwoods. The tallest redwood, the 225-foot Captain Miles Standish Tree, is more than 1,200 years old. A two-mile stretch of the South Fork of the Eel River—with riffles, deep holes, and calm shallow areas—is popular with swimmers, kayakers, and anglers.
The park began as a 40-acre campground donated in 1922. Its name honors a lumberman’s son, Edward Ritter Hickey, who died while caring for victims of the 1918 flu epidemic. In the late 1950s, descendants of Captain Miles Standish, a pilgrim who landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620, added 500 acres. Subsequent donations from Save the Redwoods League have expanded the park to more than 1,000 acres.
A 180-mile drive from San Francisco, Standish-Hickey lies along Highway 101, 1½ miles north of the town of Leggett. The park entrance road is easy to find and paved to accommodate any street-legal vehicle. High water (and removal of seasonal bridges) makes much of the park, including hiking trails, inaccessible in winter, but at least one campground is always open.
This inland river canyon has summer temperatures averaging 70 – 100°F. Winter temperatures vary from 30 – 55°F. Rainfall averages 70 inches each year.
Rules & Advisories
- No diving or jumping into the river. Stay away from steep and dangerous bluffs.
- No lifeguards are on duty; children should be supervised at all times.
- Contact with poison oak (even when dormant) can cause a severe rash.
- Bicycles and motorbikes are allowed on paved roads, but not park trails.
- Hunting and loaded firearms are prohibited.
- Eight people are the maximum allowed at any one (non-group) campsite.
- All fires must be in fire rings. No collection of firewood is allowed.
- Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Dogs must be on a leash no more than six feet long and must be confined to a tent or vehicle at night. Except for service animals, pets are not allowed on trails. Dog owners may not want to let their dogs drink from the river, as a precaution against blue-green algae toxins.
- All the normal rules of the road apply in the park, including speed limits (15 mph in the park), prohibitions on driving while intoxicated, and requirements for seatbelts, helmets, and driver’s licenses.
- All park features are protected by law and must not be disturbed or removed.
1.5 miles north of Leggett, CA on Highway 101.
Inland river canyon.
Summer 70-100 degrees F.
Winter 30-55 degrees F.
Dress for rain in layers.
69350 U.S. Hwy. 101, Box #2
Leggett, CA 95455
Sinkyone Wilderness Park
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park lies on the southern portion of the Lost Coast, a 60-mile stretch of wilderness comprising the park and the King Range National Conservation Area.
For thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived, the Sinkyone Indians lived on this part of the coast. They occupied permanent villages beside streams and rivers, and moved out in family groups to hunt and forage in the hills during the summer. They fished, gathered seaweed and shellfish, hunted seals and sea lions, and harvested the occasional dead whale washed on shore. All kinds of fish were caught, but the seasonal salmon run was especially important.
Today, the Lost Coast Trail follows the whole length of the rugged Sinkyone coastline. Gray whales pass by during the winter and early spring. Roosevelt elk roam the grasslands. Sea lions and harbor seals hang out in rocky coves. It’s an arresting landscape, with canyons, arches, tide pools, sea stacks, seasonal wildflowers, waterfalls, and dark sand beaches. On a sunny day, the sea looks turquoise, giving the park tropical feeling.
Some aspects of the Sinkyone keep crowds away. Its trails are steep and its campgrounds are primitive. There’s no potable water, and you have to haul out your own trash. When wet, the park’s twisting dirt roads are impassable for passenger cars. More than a few visitors have had to stay an extra day or two because a mudslide or fallen tree closed their route home. “The Sinkyone lets you go when it wants to let you go,” a park ranger says. In other words, it’s a real wilderness.
Weather Summer temperatures average 45–75° F. Morning and evening fog is common.
Winter lows range from 35-55° F. Rain falls up to 80 inches per year, mostly between November and May.
Rules & Notices
The Needle Rock to Bear Harbor Road is currently closed to motor vehicles due to unsafe conditions. It is open to day hikers, backpackers, bicyclists, and equestrians.
• Bring your own toilet paper, even at the Usal drive-in campground. Staffing cuts make it difficult to keep supplies adequate.
• Pack it in, pack it out is the rule at Usal and other Sinkyone campgrounds. Visitors must bring their own garbage bags or refuse containers.
• In wet weather, roads may be impassable. RVs and trailers are not recommended in any season.
• Bring your own drinking water or a water treatment device.
• Dogs are not allowed on trails. At Usal Beach and Needle Rock Visitor Center they must be in your vehicle or on a leash no more than six feet long.
• Please do not pick flowers or mushrooms. Eating berries is allowed. Just make sure you know how to tell the difference between the edible and poisonous ones.
• Don’t feed the animals. Hungry animals may beg for food, but once fed they may become aggressive in their demands for more.
• Keep a clean camp. A bear or raccoon uses his nose to read your menu—and if you leave fragrant leftovers, he might pay you a surprise visit.
• Lock food in a hard-topped car or (for backpackers) hang it in a tree or secure it in a bear container. Even in the car, store food in airtight containers, carefully wrapped.
• Be careful around the majestic Roosevelt elk. Stay on trails and do not get close to them. Never get between a cow elk and her young.
• Don’t approach marine mammals. Report a distressed animal by calling the North Coast Marine Mammal Center at 707-465-6265.
• Driving on the beach is not allowed, and citations will be issued. Usal Beach is not an OHV park. Street legal vehicles are allowed on designated and maintained roads.
The rugged wilderness that once characterized the entire Mendocino Coast can still be explored and enjoyed in the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Since there are no main highways near the coast in this vicinity, the area has come to be called the “Lost Coast.”
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park is located within bear country. State Park regulations require that visitors store all food and scented items properly at all times.
Location / Directions
North end of wilderness – (Needle Rock): 36 miles southwest of Garberville/Redway on Briceland Road. Take Briceland Road west from Redway. Briceland Road becomes Mendocino County Road 435. The last 3.5 miles are unpaved, steep, & narrow.
South end of wilderness – (Usal Beach): Approximately one hour north of Ft Bragg on Highway 1 or 15 miles west of Leggett on Highway 1 from Highway 101. Look for mile marker 90.88 on Highway 1. Turn north for approximately 6 miles onto unpaved, steep, narrow road.
ROADS MAY BE IMPASSABLE IN WET WEATHER. RVs & TRAILERS NOT RECOMMENDED.
Azalea State Natural Reserve
A reserve for western azalea (Rhododendron occidentale). Each spring, a profusion of pink and white blossoms scents the air. There is a picnic area available. Plan to visit in April and May when azaleas are in bloom.
Location – Directions
5 miles north of Arcata, take the McKinleyville exit off of Highway 101. Drive 2 miles east on North Bank Road and turn left into the reserve.
- No dog is allowed outside the parking lot.
- Dogs must remain on 6 foot or less leash while in the parking lot.
Coastal/temperate. Summer 50-60. Morning and evening fog is common. Winter 40-50 with 35″ of annual rainfall occurring mostly November – May.
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
Fort Humboldt is situated on a bluff overlooking Humboldt Bay. This remote military post was established in 1853 to assist in conflict resolution between Native Americans and gold-seekers and settlers who had begun flooding into the area after the discovery of gold in the northern mines.
Later, Fort Humboldt would become the headquarters for the Humboldt Military District, which included Forts Bragg and Wright in northern Mendocino County, extending north through Humboldt County to Fort Ter-Waw in Klamath and Camp Lincoln near present-day Crescent City.
It was during its first few years that Fort Humboldt was home to one of its most famous residents, the young Captain Ulysses S. Grant. After being decorated for bravery in the Mexican-American war, he was posted to several locations including Fort Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest. The isolation of Fort Humboldt did not appeal to Grant, and after serving as commanding officer of Company F for six months, resigned his commission.
Fort Humboldt was formally abandoned in 1870 and rapidly fell into decay. Today, only the hospital building remains of the original fourteen structures. It is now an historical museum dedicated to telling the story of the Fort and the Native American groups, including the Wiyot, Hoopa and Yurok of this region. In the 1980’s the Surgeon’s Quarters was reconstructed and there are plans for its establishment as a period house museum. In 2001 an historic herb and vegetable garden was recreated adjacent to the Hospital.
The park also includes a Logging Museum and open air displays of historic 19th-mid 20th century logging equipment including the Dolbeer Steam Donkey; “Lucy,” the Bear Harbor Lumber Company’s Gypsy Locomotive #1; and the Elk River Mill and Lumber Company’s #1 “Falk” locomotive.
3431 Fort Avenue
Eureka, CA 95503
A Walk Through History: Fort Humboldt’s New Historic Signage
- The Commanders Quarters
- The Commissary
- The Company Barracks
- The Fort Garden
- The Fort Hospital
- The Surgeons Quarters
- Ulysses S. Grants Quarters
More than 67 million people annually visit California’s state park system.
The system includes:
- Coastal Beaches
- Conference Centers
- Ghost Towns
- Historic Homes
- Historic Monuments
- Historic Parks
- Lakes and Reservoirs
- Marine parks
- Natural and Cultural Preserves
- Natural Reserves
- Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Areas
- Recreation Areas
- Spanish-era Adobe Buildings
- Visitor Centers
California State Parks Information
CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS 2019 ANNUAL PASS PROGRAM
Are you a frequent visitor to a favorite state park, or love to sample the beauty of the state from north to south? A California State Parks Annual Pass may be for you. Our Annual Passes offer something for everyone, and make great gifts throughout the year!
For questions or more information, please contact the Park Pass Sales Office at (800) 777-0369 ext. 2 or (916) 653-8280.
California State Park Maps
This interactive web map is provided by the Enterprise GIS Program of California State Parks, and is intended for planning and general reference. It displays 2018 park boundaries and entry points, along with links to each Park’s web page, local maps, downloadable visitor brochures and other park-specific information.
State Parks YouTube
Kids In The Parks
Get outside and have fun exploring nature, whether it’s in a state park, your community park, or even your own backyard or neighborhood. There’s lots to see and do out there, so check out these fun ideas. Bet you’ll be surprised by what you find!
Find out how you can become a junior ranger! There are special prizes to reward you for discovering the fun in many of California’s state parks! We now offer a Junior Ranger Adventure Guide that you can print out.
Download activity pages and have fun! California State Parks Online Adventures teach you about state parks while doing things you enjoy. Click on the link below to start your journey.
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Redwood National and State Parks are home to almost half of the world’s remaining protected ancient old-growth redwood forests. These parks also safeguard the tallest redwoods trees known to exist, imperiled salmon and trout, and rare creatures such marbled murrelets and the endangered western lily. Additionally, these ancient redwoods store more carbon per acre than any other forests on Earth..more
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