By Rachael Medina May 21, 2019
About 270 miles north of the San Francisco Bay Area, tucked between rolling hills and towering redwoods along California’s northern coastline, lies the majestic Humboldt County. Made famous by the logging industry and recreational pastimes, Humboldt’s wet coastal climate and expansive greenery create the perfectly picturesque backdrop that’s been seen in a range of feature films, from Star Wars to Jurassic Park. Although often overlooked, this Northern California standout is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, filled with hiking trails, rivers to raft or kayak across, plant and animal species to discover, and open ocean to navigate.
Humboldt County is home to half of all the remaining old-growth redwoods, the tallest tree and tallest totem in the world, the most photographed Victorian home in the nation, and the largest number of artisans per capita of any county in California. From the college town of Arcata, to the artistic Eureka, to the cheesemaking in Loleta, to the Redwood National and State Park of Orick, Humboldt County contains a plethora of opportunities for exploration outside of California’s more urban environments.
As you drive from California’s inland regions, Humboldt County welcomes you as the mountains drop down into expansive, redwood-dusted valleys and inspires you to take a deep breath of fresh coastal air. The feeling of entering this county is like no other in the state; upon arriving, it’s as though you have stepped into a new world of possibility, adventure, and a refreshed state of being. The 110 miles of chilly coastline is speckled with surfers and sweeps in a brisk ocean breeze. The breathtaking views of 160,000 acres of redwoods dancing in the winds serve as an ode to the logging industry, spurred on by the Gold Rush to produce the logging economy that put Humboldt on the map.
Today, Humboldt County is populated with over 130,000 residents, several state parks, drive-through trees, and approximately 200 eateries—including cozy cafés overlooking seascapes, the last logging camp cookhouse in the West, burger joints inspiring popular cartoons, and fine-dining establishments serving up the day’s fresh catch.