Agate Beach is littered with semi-precious stones, and seems to stretch beyond the limits of our vision. This table makes a fine rest spot after the steep climb up from the beach. | Photo by Jett Williams

#ExploreHumboldt: Patrick’s Point

Patrick's Point offers multiple options for beach-lovers at an affordable price.
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Patrick’s Point offers multiple options for beach-lovers at an affordable price

This week’s #ExploreHumboldt column covers a fan favorite, the majestic and expansive Patrick’s Point. This one-square-mile State Park features some of the best beach spots around and is a perfect destination for a daytime picnic, sunset beach run or weekend camping trip.

As a state park, Patrick’s Point includes amenities that we have not seen in previous #ExploreHumboldt entries. These include bathrooms with running water, clearly marked trailheads with accurate mileage, picnic tables with BBQ grills and over 120 overnight camping spots.

Because of its State Park status, Patrick’s Point has well-maintained and clearly-marked trails with mileage indicators. | Photo by Jett Williams

However, these benefits come at a cost. There is a $8 vehicle fee, with no student discount. The litany of areas to explore and the overall quality of the experience make it worth the price of admission. You should leave a couple hours of time minimum to to fully experience the park and get your money’s worth.

Patrick’s Point also features several “Hike n’ Bike” campsites. Those who bike or hike into the park benefit from free admission as well as their own area with campsites reserved for non-car users. These sites include all the features of a car site, with a location closer to the best points of interest.

The view looking north from Wedding Rock is one of the most spectacular in the park. The beach access trail can be seen in the bottom left corner. | Photo by Jett Williams

To get to Patrick’s Point, take Hwy 101 north past Trinidad, and take the ‘Patrick’s Point’ exit. Turn left, and continue until you see signs for the park. Alternatively, you can drive to Trinidad and bike along Stagecoach Road, turning left onto Patrick’s Point drive before arriving at the park. This way, you get a bit of extra exploration in, while avoiding the $8 vehicle fee.

If you want to see everything, it’s worth bringing some hiking shoes and a day pack to walk the length of the park. There are a ton of different spots to visit at Patrick’s Point, so I’ll quickly go over some of my favorites.

Sea Anemones are easily found at the tidepools near Palmer’s Point during low tide. Tide tables are available online and at the park’s entrance. | Photo by Jett Williams

A network of trails connects the different points of interest spread throughout the park. Plan to hike at least a couple of miles if you want to see everything. Most of the main rim trail is fairly flat and some sections are wheelchair-accessible. However, the access trails that take you to most of the prominent locations are very steep, as they often run straight up and down the steep coastal hills.

Wedding Rock is the most spectacular point in the park. This massive rock structure juts up from the coastline, providing stellar views of the surrounding rough coastline. The park’s original caretaker was married there in the early 1900s, and Wedding Rock has been home to several weddings every year since.

Sumeg Village is a recreated Yurok village, built by the local tribe with modern tools and traditional materials and practices. The village is used by the tribe for cultural traditions and features two redwood canoes, a sweat room and a native plant garden, also maintained by the tribe.

Sumeg Village provides a nice spot for quiet reflection. The area was built with traditional Yurok techniques by the local tribe, and is still used today for rituals and ceremonies. | Photo by Jett Williams

The Agate Beach is another location worth your time. This expansive stretch of coastline seems to span as far as the eye can see, with a pristine beach of light sand and naturally-occurring agate stones.

When visiting Patrick’s Point, remember that swimming in the frigid North Coast waters is highly discouraged. The undertow is strong, and sweeper waves can catch unattentive visitors off-guard. Dogs are allowed, on-leash only, but are not permitted on trails or beaches. Also, refrain from picking the local mushrooms and wildflowers. They have a hard enough time surviving without being plucked by the unaware.

After a long school week, we all need a bit of calm reflection and relaxation. Carve out at least an afternoon later this week or this weekend to visit our closest state park, and don’t forget to keep exploring!

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