My wife, Louisa Rogers, and I offer what has become a popular class through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), Cal Poly Humboldt's continuing education program for learners aged 50 and better. It's so popular that our recommendations for "destinations that lie easily within a day's drive" have made it into print, right here. (Note: You don't have to be 50+ to participate in this article.) Visit northcoastjournal.com to find links and read more about some of these destinations.
Pepperwood Trails. Distance from Eureka: 37 miles
The Grieg-French-Bell Grove Trail and the Drury-Chaney Loop both have lush layers of redwood sorrel beneath old growth redwoods, creating the impression of a green carpet on the forest floor. The area is often used for movies and TV commercials ("Dawn Redwoods: Alive and Kicking," Feb. 2, 2017).
Dyerville Distance from Eureka: 50 miles
This settlement once had its own post office (1890-1933), stagecoach stop, service center and crossroads town. It was built on the Sinkyone village of Ltcuntdun and, in 1870, was one terminus of a ferry across the Eel River. The town was virtually wiped out by the flood of 1955, while Caltrans completed the job of building U.S. Highway 101. Just upstream is the Northwestern Pacific Railroad bridge, erected in 1910 and rebuilt following the December of 1964 flood ("The Rise of Dyerville," Jan. 16, 2014).
Usal Beach + Candelabra Trees. Distance from Eureka: 110 miles
Usal, the southern access to the Lost Coast, is a remote, sandy beach in Northern Mendocino County within the Sinkyone Wilderness, with a resident herd of Roosevelt elk. A recently opened trail from the beach features "candelabra" redwood trees: multiple twisted trunks that formed when coastal winds blew the tops off, bending new growth ("Candelabra Trees," Oct. 13, 2016)
Sinkyone Wilderness. Distance from Eureka to Visitor Center: 91 miles (4WD recommended to Needle Rock Visitor Center from Usal Road)
The Sinkyone Wilderness is a mostly shady temperate rainforest where you can take a 5-mile walk to the former logging town of Wheeler. The Needle Rock Visitor Center is a former ranch house. The Sinkyone is also the site of a massacre of Indians in the 1860s ("Exploring the Sinkyone Wilderness," Nov. 15, 2018).
Loleta Tunnel. Distance from Eureka: 14 miles
In 1884, the Loleta tunnel bypassed Table Bluff and made it much easier for Eel River loggers to transport logs to Humboldt Bay. It's a fun walk through the tunnel, requiring boots and flashlights. Currently, the far (northeast) portal is waterlogged ("The Loleta Tunnel," Feb. 14, 2013).
Lost Coast Headlands. Distance from Eureka: 25 miles
These wild and windswept coastal bluffs, 6 miles west of Ferndale, boast hills, grasslands, the occasional farm and two parking areas, about 3 miles apart, from where you can take two 20-minute walks down to the Pacific beaches.
Yurok Trail Loop and Hidden Beach. Distance from Eureka: 70 miles
The Yurok Loop is a gentle, short hike that starts at Lagoon Creek Rest Area on U.S. Highway 101 north. Walk through a Sitka spruce forest and along a portion of the California Coastal Trail, with fine views of the rugged coast. Turn off the trail to visit Hidden Beach, a small cove beach with huge rocks in the surf and driftwood ("Along the Historic Yurok Loop," Sept. 8, 2022).
Black, Green and Red Lassics. Distance from Eureka: 83 miles
Looking like volcanoes (but they're not!), the three Lassic Peaks are easy to climb. (Louisa may claim otherwise for one of them.) The peaks are intimately linked to the tragic history of the Lassic Tribe ("Lassic Peaks, Lassik Band," June 16, 2016).
Rogue River Bridge. Distance from Eureka: 136 miles
Built in 1932 using a revolutionary French system of building in reinforced concrete, the seven-arch bridge is beautiful to look at, especially from the pathway south of the jetboat terminal in Gold River ("Crossing the Rogue," Aug. 15, 2013).
Schoolhouse Peak. Distance from Eureka: 61 miles
At 3,092 feet, this peak is the highest point in Redwood National Park. It has a fire lookout (occupied only in the summer months), with awesome views of meadows, oak trees, grasslands and — if you're lucky — the Pacific. Find it 18 miles east of U.S. Highway 101 on Bald Hills Road in Orick.
Barry Evans (he/him, email@example.com) wonders what saintly things he did in a previous life to end up here in Humboldt.