Day 3 began much more slowly than our first two days.
We slept in a bit, got off to a late start, and headed up to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park to see Fern Canyon. Unfortunately we didn’t realize that there was an $8 entrance fee, cash or check only, so we had to amend our plans a little bit as we don’t typically carry cash.
We turned around and headed south, to Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Our first stop, as usual, was to the visitor center to see what information they might have for us.
We cruised down the Avenue of the Giants, which was a beautiful way to see more redwoods while giving our legs a break from all of that hiking. A few nature paths and trails were clustered around this visitor center, so we wandered the Gould Grove Nature Trail and the Founders Grove Trail which were both flat and easy before heading back up the road.
A few miles north of the visitor center we stopped again at the Rockefeller Loop Trail, which has some of the oldest trees in this part of the park.
We found it interesting how different the trees and undergrowth look in different areas, likely due to age, specific environmental conditions, human intervention and deforestation, and fire damage. You can see evidence of the many many past fires on these trees all over the parks.
After wandering that third easy loop, we hopped back in the car to head back to Eureka. We stopped at the Redwood Curtain Brewing Company on the east side, hoping for snacks in addition to beer, but unfortunately they had a reduced menu due to COVID-19 and only had drinks available. Jordan had a quick beer and then we found another place in town for a mid afternoon snack.
Humboldt Bay Provisions is a really cute wine and oyster bar in Eureka.
We loved their decor, the gorgeous old building, and really enjoyed the food. Jordan had his third round of oysters on this trip (broiled, with Humboldt Bay hot sauce) and we split a hummus plate, olives, and their current Seoul cheddar cheese offering. Jordan also recommends the cherry cider.
After snack time, we wandered down to the waterfront and marina to kill some time before dinner. We again made reservations, this time at the Humboldt Bay Bistro, right on the water. We headed in for an early night after dinner, as we had a big day planned for Monday.
Monday morning was another early start, with plans to hike the Tall Trees Grove loop. A 4-mile lollipop trail, we were warned that it had a significant 800 foot drop in the first mile that we would have to climb on the way back up. If you would like to hike this trail, be aware that you will need a permit, and they must be issued at least 48 hours in advance. We were lucky and applied on Friday, and were able to secure one for Monday. The permits are free from the park service.
We arrived at the trailhead around 8am, which was earlier than most people. A few cars were parked overnight from backcountry campers, but we didn’t see any people on our hike down to the grove.
The hike was nice and refreshing, and other than a few stops on the way back uphill for me to breathe, it actually wasn’t too bad. The Klamath Overlook hike from earlier in our trip was much steeper. The round trip took us a little more than an hour and a half.
After our hike, we headed back to Prairie Creek with cash to see if we could get to Fern Canyon. At the ranger kiosk, they let us know that our National Park Pass was actually all we needed for entry, so it turned out we actually didn’t need cash to get through. The road to Fern Canyon was long and rough, and had a few shallow water crossings, so low-riding cars beware! It was also very busy as this is one of the most popular spots to visit in the park. Fern Canyon was one of the filming sites for Jurassic Park 2, and once we arrived you could see why. This location and Enderts Beach were probably my favorite stops on our trip.
We hiked through the canyon (beware, your feet may get wet!) and then hiked the loop around back to our car.
Since the beach entrance was right by our car we also wandered out to Gold Bluffs Beach to see the water. Several fishermen were out fishing, and it looked like they were hauling in some decent sized fish from the shore.
After our morning of hiking, we were ready to go find some lunch. We found a cute restaurant on the pier in Trinidad called the Seascape Restaurant, which had fantastic views of the local boats and bay, and tasty homestyle cooking.
Lunch was followed by some driving and exploring. We drove down the dunes at Samoa, and stopped to watch the Coast Guard practicing some maneuvers.
We headed back to Eureka after that and spent some more time wandering the city, checking out the shops and murals all over the different buildings. This little kitty was our favorite.
We had drinks and snacks at Cafe Waterfront, and then headed back to the hotel for an early night and leftovers for dinner.
Tuesday morning was our last few hours in California. We went out to Lady Bird Grove one last time to say goodbye to the redwoods.
We stopped at one of the visitor centers to get some presents for the kiddos, and then had a fantastic breakfast at Cafe Phoenix in Arcata.
This little hole-in-the-wall was amazing, with a large garden in the back, dog friendly outdoor seating, and delicious healthy food. I had the huevos rancheros with jalapeños added, and Jordan had a burrito and a smoothie. It may have been one of the best meals we had on this trip!
Not long after brunch it was time for us to make the trek back to Texas. We packed up our things, dropped off the rental car, and said good-bye for now to California. We had a great babymoon but were definitely ready to get back to our kids, pets, and a few other new projects on the horizon!
We’ll be back with another update soon!