Humboldt County is in the North Coast of California. It is a special area of Northern California which is well known for its massive redwood trees, microbrews, herbal refreshments, and diverse culture. One hour from the Oregon border and sitting on the Pacific coast, opportunity for outdoor adventures is endless. Humboldt is a unique place.
Humboldt County is the southern gateway to the Pacific Northwest. The county is bound on the north by Del Norte County, on the east by Siskiyou County and Trinity County, on the south by Mendocino County, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The county encompasses 2.3 million acres, 80 percent of which is forest lands, protected redwoods and recreation areas.
The southern part of the county includes Alton, Carlotta, Hydesville, Rio Dell and Scotia; the Avenue of the Giants communities; Garberville and Redway; the Eel, Mattole and Van Duzen River communities; Humboldt Redwoods, Richardson Grove and Grizzly Creek State Parks; and the King Range National Conservation Area.
The northern part of the county includes the City of Trinidad, Orick; Redwood National Park; Prairie Creek and Humboldt Lagoons State Parks; and several State Beaches.
The eastern part of the county includes Willow Creek, Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, Orleans, and a great deal of Six Rivers National Forest land.
The southern border of the county is 225 mi (362 km) north of San Francisco, the closest major metropolitan city.
The coastal towns are generally quite cool in climate, while just a few miles inland the fog and overcast are less prevalent. For example, Blue Lake could be quite sunny, while Arcata could be drizzly, or Fortuna warm and pleasant, while Ferndale is socked in. If after several days of mist you seek sun, it is possible at times to walk a few miles east to find it.
There are only 3 roads in. The county is linked by Coastal Highway 101 to the rest of California to the south and the Oregon Coast to the north. Highway 299 links the county to Interstate 5 to the east, offering access from Redding. Finally, California 36 provides access to Humboldt from Red Bluff through the Siskiyou Mountains. Route 36 is a particularly winding road that should be used with caution in the winter.
The Arcata/Eureka Airport, also called the Humboldt County Airport, is a regional airport 20 minutes north of Eureka. It is served by United Express with daily flights from San Francisco International Airport. United also serves Arcata with flights from Denver International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.
Northwest California is the epicentre of the USA's marijuana growing industry, and there are many large operations hidden in the greenhouses and hills of Humboldt. Some of these operations are well-guarded (think attack dogs, snipers and automatic weapons), and while you are unlikely to stumble on one it is best to avoid anything that looks suspicious.
- 1 Del Norte County - Located north of Humboldt County, California's northernmost county is known for its rivers, rocky coast, and redwood forests. It is where the famous footage of Bigfoot was captured on film in 1967, and became the home of the Ewoks when portions of Return of the Jedi were filmed in the county in 1982. Visitors today won't want to miss Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, where an easy stroll among thousand year-old redwoods in Stout Grove is sure to refresh the soul. There are two historic lighthouses that were built in the mid-1800s near Crescent City, one of which is accessible at low tide via a short hike. Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy the many protected areas in the county, where herds of Roosevelt elk, sea lions, seals, whales, and 431 species of birds can all be seen.
- 2 Siskiyou County - Humboldt County's northeastern neighbor is dominated by 14,179 ft (4,322 m) Mount Shasta, the west coast's second-tallest volcano, towering nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above its surroundings; while a summit climb requires advanced mountaineering skills, its lower slopes are great for hiking, backpacking and cross-county skiing. The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway links Mount Shasta to Lava Beds National Monument in the county's northeast, home to over 800 lava tube caves, several of which are open to exploration. The county is also a premier destination for birdwatchers, with nearly two million birds passing through Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge during migrations, and North America’s largest concentration of snow geese arriving in spring.
- 3 Trinity County - One of only three California counties with no incorporated cities, rugged Trinity County lies among the Salmon and Klamath Mountains along the Trinity River. The county seat of Weaverville is home to some of California's oldest buildings, with the state's second oldest courthouse (built in 1856), a drugstore that has filled prescriptions since 1852, and California's oldest Taoist Temple (operating since 1873). Those looking for outdoor adventure will find numerous opportunities for camping, backpacking, rock climbing, boating, rafting/kayaking, hunting, and fishing, with Trinity Lake in particular a favorite spot for houseboat rentals.
- 4 Mendocino County - Lying halfway between San Francisco and the Oregon border, Humboldt County's southern neighbor boasts redwood forests, wineries, breweries, and remote, untouched coastline. In addition to its natural features, the county is home to the largest Buddhist Temple in the Western Hemisphere, the 400+ acre City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, located near Fort Bragg, is a 47 acre public garden with oceanside views. While hikers and backpackers will find no shortage of options, those looking for less strenuous ways to enjoy the scenery can ride the Skunk Train, a railroad that has been in operation since 1885 and takes riders 40 miles through old growth forests and across historic trestles between Fort Bragg and Willits.