As trails begin to reopen and the days grow longer, many of us may be eager to get out into nature and explore. This week, I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite walking/hiking trails around the county.
Spending time in nature is my go-to self care tactic, and this has become increasingly important with the current state of the nation. I have found myself coming home from protests and immediately adventuring out, putting my phone on airplane mode and not viewing social media.
Writing this as a cis white woman, I want to take a momement to recognize the privilege I have. I do have white privilege even when venturing into nature, and this is unjust. There are a variety of programs such as Latinx outdoors that create safe spaces for outdoor exploration, and I encourage everyone to check them out! We also need to acknowledge that we are on Wiyot land and educate one another on the history of this area.
I am asking my fellow white people to recognize their privilege and educate themselves in how to be an actively anti-racist.
Before adventuring out, remember to tell someone where you’re going, have a plan, bring a fully charged phone, snacks, water, and a friend is always recommended! Also, make sure to check the intensity of the trail beforehand. I will make sure to distinguish which areas are wheelchair accessible, but some trails are quite long and can be intense.
My absolute favorite spot is the Arcata Marsh. The wildlife is incredible and each time I visit there I see something new. There are portions of the trail that are gravel, but the main walking/biking/running trails are paved and wheelchair accessible. Within the past year or two they extended the trail so it goes alongside the highway. This trail is really beautiful at sunset and there are many benches along the way where one can hang out for a while. The marsh is famous around the nation for being an excellent bird watching area. Make sure to bring some binoculars and a good attitude!
The Arcata Community Forest is an excellent park to spend a few hours in. The forest is very peaceful and if you have a hammock, an excellent space to wind down a bit. If you get lucky, you might see a salamander or two if you decide to flip over some logs. Make sure to flip the logs back! While this is a great spot, it is not wheelchair accessible and I do not advise you going alone. There have been numerous accounts of people wandering and harassing younger people, specifically women. If you choose to go into the woods, make sure to bring a buddy, a charged cell phone, and a copy of the map.
Trinidad is a gift that keeps giving. There are so many hiking trails, lookout spots, tide pools, incredible beach!! Here is a list of some great spots:
- Hammond Trail
- The viewpoint off the 101 is a great spot to watch the sunset
- Luffenholtz view point (sketchy trail that leads to a beautiful viewpoint)
- Baker Beach viewpoint (Instead of taking the trail to the beach, go into the forest!)
- Trinidad Head (1.3 mile loop)
- Trinidad Pier: wheelchair accessible view point
- College cove
- Elk’s Head
- Strawberry Rock
If you decide to go even farther north for a day trip, there are plenty of spots such as Patrick’s Point State Park, Ladybird Johnson Grove, Fern Canyon, and more. The Redwoods National Forest is filled with a variety of trails with varying levels of intensity and accessibility. Make sure to stop by Orick and look for elk!
If you find yourself in Eureka, Headwaters Forest Reserve is a paved trail for about a mile, then splits off into a gravel 10 mile loop. It is a really beautiful forest! Freshwater Park is a super cute park to spend the day as well. The Freshwater/Kneeland area has some trails and viewpoints among the hills, but be cautious of private property.
I hope you enjoy and get the chance to explore somewhere new! Be safe and have fun!