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The Eureka Waterfront Trail traces the shorelines of the Elk River and Humboldt Bay for 6.5 miles in this Northern California town. The wide, paved trail, with access to public fishing and water activities, makes it popular with residents and visitors alike. Dotted along the trail are seven benches designed by local artists for the 2018 trail opening. While on the trail, take a moment to learn about the region’s history and the people, flora, fauna, and marine life that have called it home.
The southern endpoint is easily accessible via the Herrick Avenue Park & Ride, with views of Elk River and a salt marsh. Time your visit on this portion of the trail by the tide. During high tide you will enjoy a peaceful lagoon, and at low tide you may observe textured mudflats peppered with salt marsh. Avid bird-watchers may spot birds of prey, such as bald eagles and peregrine falcons, as well as songbirds, including the yellow warbler.
Coinciding with the Eureka Waterfront Trail’s southern section, the 1.5-mile Hikshari’ Trail runs north from the Elk River Wildlife Area, honoring the ancestral homeland of the Wiyot people, who resided in the area for thousands of years. The Hikshari’ Trail ends at a trailhead at Truesdale Street, where you’ll find a picnic area and other amenities.
As you continue north, the trail follows a former railroad that was a major transportation vein for Eureka’s lumber industry. When California’s gold rush brought a demand for lumber, the region’s natural resource—redwood—was in high demand. By 1854, nine lumber mills operated around Humboldt Bay, making Eureka the largest producer of lumber in the Pacific region. Signs of the city’s historical lumber industry are never far from the trail or the bay. As you approach the city marina, about 3.4 miles from the southern endpoint, you’ll spot lumber stacked to your left and a historical railcar on display to your right.
The trail has public access points for fishing, canoeing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. The public Del Norte Street Fishing Pier is just off the trail about 0.9 mile south of the city marina. While no fishing license is required at the time of publication, review the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s ocean-port fishing regulations. To further explore the bay, head to the Eureka Slough Boat Ramp, just north of the city marina, for nonmotorized watercraft.
Near the trail’s northern endpoint, you may either take a boardwalk extension to enjoy sweeping views of Humboldt Bay or follow a segment nearer the neighborhoods for access to the main trail boardwalk. Note that there is no parking area at the trail’s northern endpoint on Tydd Street.
At the time of publication, a trail extension was underway to extend the southern endpoint an additional 1.1 miles from the Herrick Avenue Park & Ride to Tooby Road.
The Eureka Waterfront Trail is part of a larger project being developed by Humboldt County called the Humboldt Bay Trail, which will span 13 miles and connect Eureka to Arcata.
Parking is available at a number of locations along the trail. Visit the TrailLink map for all options, available transit lines, and detailed directions.
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