Humboldt County – a place we all need to see

Stef Zisovska

Humboldt County is 270 miles North of San Francisco, California. It’s a rural area with 110 miles of coastline and densely forested mountains. It has more coastline than any other county in the state. Situated on the Pacific coast, Humboldt County has 1,500,000 acres of Redwood forests that are protected by the National Park System. If you are a nature loving person, then this is a place you need to visit. Whether you prefer a forest hike or a wild coastline, you will enjoy a weekend in Humboldt County. It’s always good to discover a new corner of the country and let it surprise you with its magical scenery.

Aerial view of Humboldt Bay and the city of Eureka in Humboldt County, California, USA. View is to the northeast. – Author: Robert Campbell – CC BY-SA 3.0
Aerial view of Humboldt Bay and the city of Eureka in Humboldt County, California, USA. View is to the northeast. – Author: Robert Campbell – CC BY-SA 3.0

Humboldt County has accrued a rich history over its years of development. The original residents of this area were Wiyot, Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, Chilula, Whilkut, and the Eel River Athapaskan people. Later on, Spanish traders made unintended visits to California when they were returning from their Philippine trips. The first recorded visit by Europeans was in 1775 and it was officially founded in 1853 from parts of Trinity County.

The area around Humboldt Bay was once inhabited by the Wiyot Indian tribe who were living in a village called Tolowot. Tolowot is the site of the biggest massacre of Wiyot people in their history. Between 100 and 200 men, women and children were killed on the night of February 26, 1860. Today, Tolowot is a National Historical Landmark.

The climate on the coast in Humboldt County has very wet, cool winters and dry, mild and foggy summers. The highest temperatures in summer occur a few miles inland around Eureka and Arcata. The county and whole northern coast are famous for frequent tectonic movements and experience earthquakes up to 6.0 magnitude.

Humboldt Bay, Eureka – Author: Tony – CC BY 2.0
Humboldt Bay, Eureka – Author: Tony – CC BY 2.0

Humboldt Bay is a multi-basin coastal lagoon. It is the largest protected water body on the West Coast between San Francisco Bay and Puget Sound. The Port of Humboldt Bay, also known as the Port of Eureka, is a deep-water port that includes a harbor with industrial docks. The bay was anonymous for a long time because it’s not visible from the ocean. So, when the European traders were in the area they just couldn’t see it hiding there. The harbor opens to the ocean through a very narrow passage.

The bay has over 100 species of fish, including green sturgeon, coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead, and coastal cutthroat trout. Also, here you can also find tide water goby along with more common three-spined stickleback, shiner perch, and Pacific staghorn sculpin. Birds found in the bay include gull species, Caspian tern, brown pelican, cormorant, surf scoter, and common murre.

Chinook salmon
Chinook salmon

Marine mammals are represented by the harbor seal, California sea lion, and river otter, with Steller sea lion and gray whale found immediately offshore. Leopard sharks are also residents of the Bay, together with the Bat rays feeding on crabs, shrimps, sea cucumbers, and worms.

Another landmark of Humboldt County is, of course, Redwood National Park which includes temperate rainforests and coastline. The amazing landscapes of this area will make you feel like a part of a surreal story where the foggy forests are looking pretty much alive and you’re expecting the trees to start moving at any point.

Humboldt County is a perfect place for your next road trip. If you weren’t sure of your next destination, now you do. Invite your best friends and jump into a new adventure. It’s always good to explore a new corner of the country with people you love. Get ready for your Humboldt County experience and bring a good camera with you. Good luck and safe travels!

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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it. Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors.


stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival