Patrick’s Point State Park
Thirty miles north of Eureka, in the heart of redwood country, Patrick's Point State Park juts into the Pacific Ocean on a 640-acre headland with forests of spruce, pine, fir, hemlock, and alder interspersed with meadows. Although this coast is often shrouded in fog, on a clear day (typically spring and fall) you can enjoy stunning blufftop views...
Thirty miles north of Eureka, in the heart of redwood country, Patrick's Point State Park juts into the Pacific Ocean on a 640-acre headland with forests of spruce, pine, fir, hemlock, and alder interspersed with meadows. Although this coast is often shrouded in fog, on a clear day (typically spring and fall) you can enjoy stunning blufftop views at Wedding Rock, Patrick's Point, and Palmer's Point. From these vantage points you can look for gray whales during their spring and fall migrations, California sea lions, stellar sea lions, and harbor seals. Bountiful spring wildflowers, including Douglas iris, fairy bells, and trillium, grace the meadows and forests. Abundant berries are found throughout summer, while fall and winter bring out a variety of mushrooms—over 500 species have been collected. Black-tailed deer are a common sight as they graze on the bluffs and grasslands.
A highlight of the park is a replica of a Yurok village, known as Sumêg. Built in 1990 by local Yuroks using traditional construction techniques, it consists of a dance pit, changing houses, sweat house, and family houses. All can be viewed from a moderately accessible trail. The Yurok use this village for dances and ceremonies to pass cultural traditions on to their young people.
Several miles of interconnected trails wind throughout the park, but most are inaccessible to wheelchair riders due to steep, rough terrain. However, the paved road that meanders through forests, meadows, and campgrounds has little traffic and offers a great way to explore the park. An adventurous person using a manual wheelchair may, with good upper body strength and some assistance, be able to navigate some of the wider, firm trails, but will encounter an abundance of tree roots. Both Patrick's Point Trail and Sumêg Village are accessible, and according to State Parks, the Campfire Center Trail from Abalone Campground to the Campfire Center is also accessible.
Trailhead: Adjacent to the visitor center
Length: Less than .5 mile
Typical Width: 4 ft. & aboveTrail width may be less than four feet in places where you have to navigate around tree roots. The native plant garden paths narrow to less than three feet in places, due to rocks and trees.
Typical Grade: GentleA short uphill that you encounter about 50 feet into the native plant garden may be greater than 1:12.
Several spots require careful maneuvering over tree roots. I easily managed in my motorized chair, but the ride was quite bumpy. The duff on the forest floor was thick in places and may cause drag on manual wheelchairs.
On my visit in late April, a few large rhododendrons at the trailhead looked ready to burst with color. The trail winds through a Sitka spruce and Douglas fir forest, lush with ferns and moss. After a short uphill stretch you come to a redwood canoe exhibit. Yuroks built their canoes from naturally fallen redwood trees and generally...
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Trailhead: Wedding Rock parking lot
Length: Less than .5 mile
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: GentleOne grade near the beginning may be slightly greater than 1:12.
This short (500-foot) trail that hugs the blufftop is worth a stop for its expansive views of the ocean. A few feet from the starting point, bear right at the fork; to the left is the inaccessible Rim Trail. Continue to the first overlook, with views to the south. The next overlook is much bigger and looks north,...
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The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
A stop at the visitor center, just inside the park entrance, will greatly enhance your visit to this park. You will learn about the Yurok, who inhabit coastal Humboldt County and have traditionally come to Patrick's Point in the summer to fish and hunt. Displays include Indian baskets and tools, birds of the forest, and animal specimens, including a gray whale skull, gray fox, and brown bear. Don't miss the have-to-see-it-to-believe-it "elk tree,"––a tree that grew around an elk's head after the animal got its antlers stuck in the trunk and died. Interactive exhibits invite you to guess which animal made which tracks and to feel animal bones and other specimens. Be sure to pick up a free brochure about the Sumêg Village if you plan to hike the Sumêg Trail.
At visitor center, Patrick's Point, Palmer's Point, Mussel Rocks, Lookout Rock, Campfire Center, and Sumêg Village; the last is on a slight slope and has no access aisle.
Adjacent to the visitor center, near the parking lot at Sumêg Village, and at Mussel Rocks overlook, Lookout Rock, and the Campfire Center; a portable unit is at Palmer's Point.
The most accessible tables are at the visitor center, where they are scattered on a large deck surrounded by trees; in the Sumêg Village by the cook shelter; and at Mussel Rocks parking lot. At all other locations they are on mostly level and firm surfaces but you must travel across grass to reach them.
Other Things of Interest
Nearby Trinidad State Beach in picturesque, historic Trinidad has an accessible day-use picnic area on a bluff overlooking the beach. On my visit the restrooms were locked, so I was unable to assess their accessibility.