- Traveler favoritesThings to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
- Traveler rankingHighest rated attractions on Tripadvisor, based on traveler reviews.
67 places sorted by traveler favorites
What travelers are saying
- This is a gorgeous drive. Something you have to see for yourself to experience. Words really can't describe.Written November 15, 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- I was so surprised by this little museum. What a great place, so well curated. I thought this would be a quick visit, since the building is not that big, but I ended up spending quite a bit of time learning from displays on First Nations of the area, their basketry and herbs used for tinctures, their building style and materials, and their fisheries. I was also interested by the section of settlers and miners and their impact on original people and the environment. I was amused by the display on women and the weapons they used to defend themselves, from brooms and table knives to hairpins, flatirons, books, nursing pins, mops and, yes, revolvers. What a time, but then might still be the case for some on our own days. There is even a broken propeller from a British (Canadian?) DeHaviland airplane from 1925--barely evolved from what the Wright Brothers plane looked like. What a great little museum.Written October 11, 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Great time and the sky walk is worth the trip to Eureka. Park clean, staff friendly and knowledgeable.Written December 2, 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- I'm not particularly fond of the color scheme, but it a beautifully made and kept up building. The views from the upper windows must be spectacular. I would love to do a tour.Written September 28, 2022
- Visited in mid July and the dahlia garden is really beautiful that time of year. Great blooms all over the place. This is a small part of a much larger park that include the zoo right near the garden.Written July 15, 2022
- If visiting Eureka and don't want to travel to see big tree's this is the place to go. It in the city and easy to get to. There are trails behind the zoo and playground you can walk.Written September 13, 2022
- Watching the waves, listening to the ocean worth the trip. You can watch the boats and birds. Sunsets are worth waiting for.Written June 12, 2021
- If you like flowers, this is a place to visit. Very well groomed. Altho it is small, it is worth the visit.Written June 9, 2022
- Note: Not everyone shares my passion for redwood forests. A common sentiment: if you’ve seen one redwood grove, you’ve seen them all. If you agree, then the Headwaters Forest Reserve probably isn’t for you.
About the Headwaters Forest Reserve
Redwood forests thrive in central and northern California’s coastal area. Loggers have logged old-growth redwood trees for 150+ years. The logging leads to second-growth groves, which are degraded both biologically and scenery-wise.
By the 1980s, few large areas of old-growth redwood groves hadn’t been logged and remained unprotected by the government. Headwaters Forest was the largest remaining old-growth redwood forest in private hands. Pacific Lumber owned it. Although all logging of old-growth redwoods hurts the ecosystem, Pacific Lumber was regarded as a relatively gentle land steward. That made them a juicy target for a corporate raider. Charles Hurwitz of Maxxam did a hostile takeover of Pacific Lumber and initiated more old-growth clear-cutting. Activists pushed back and turned Headwaters Forest into a cause celebre. This spurred Congress and California to purchase 7,472 acres of the Headwaters Forest for $380M.
There are two public access points. On the north side is the Elk River Trail, which the public can access without restriction. On the south side is the Salmon Pass Trail, which can be accessed only via a ranger-led tour. The reserve’s heart, about 2,500 acres of unbroken old-growth redwoods, has no public access.
The Elk River Trail
Access to the Elk River Trailhead is via the paved Elk River Road, about 15 minutes from Eureka. Along the way, check out the covered bridges at Zane’s Ranch and Bertas Ranch. The road ends at a paved parking lot.
The trail is 11 miles roundtrip. The trail has landmarks every mile:
* Mile 1: the paved trail ends at the site of Falk, an abandoned company town. There are few artifacts remaining. Check out this video on Falk. There are some picnic tables around here if you want to lunch with the mosquitos. The first mile had educational signage and two bypass trails on the southside. A short bypass is marked on the map; the longer bypass isn’t.
* Mile 2 bridge. More buggy picnic tables near here.
* Mile 3 bridge. The trail’s steepest and most overgrown parts start here.
* Mile 4 bridge (actually a small boarded crossing over a creek, and the map doesn’t depict a second boarded crossing soon after). We think the mile 4 bridge is more like 4.25 miles from the start.
* Mile 5: the beginning of the old-growth loop.
The mile-apart spacing of the landmarks made it easy to track our progress. At our hiking speed, each landmark was roughly 30 minutes apart. The trail is nicely graded, well-maintained, and well-signed, making navigation a breeze. Everything about the trail is in great condition.
The scenery is standard for the area. The first three miles follow the riverbed. We enjoyed snacking on trailside vine-ripened blackberries and other edible berries. We saw plenty of flowers in early August. Until the old-growth loop, the forests are clearly second-growth–nice but unremarkable. The trail’s big payoff is the old-growth loop. Still, per my introductory remarks, it looks like other old-growth redwood groves.
The bottom line: this is a lovely 5 hour hike through typical North California terrain. But if your goal is to see old-growth redwoods, you can find just-as-nice groves that are quicker to reach.
The Salmon Pass Trail
The Salmon Pass Trail requires advance reservations. The gathering point is at Newburg Park in Fortuna. A sign near the parking lot entrance lets you know you’re at the right place. Ranger Julie led our tour. She offered to give us a ride, but we followed her in our own car. The road to the trailhead passes over private property, so it is restricted by a gate. The road is mostly dirt/gravel and has a few steep parts that strained the Prius, but the Prius had enough ground clearance to handle the road.
Like the Elk River Trail, the Salmon Pass Trail hikes through logged areas to reach an old-growth redwood grove. The contrast between the logged and old-growth areas was stark. Some of the areas were clearcut within the last 40 years. Those areas are dominated by red alder trees that, over the centuries, will give way to the redwoods. As with the Elk River Trail, the old-growth grove is great but looks like other old-growth groves. Many redwoods were marked with blue paint, indicating that they had been scheduled for cutting. I’m so glad they survived. The trail runs about 4 miles, and our group spent about 3 hours on the trail (plus the drive time to/from Newburg Park to the trailhead).
If you have to pick between the Elk River and Salmon Pass trails, I’d recommend the Salmon Pass hike. Both trails are beautiful, but Salmon Pass is shorter and benefits from expert narration. However, if your schedule doesn’t sync with the Salmon Pass reservation options, you’ll still enjoy the Elk River trail a lot. If your goal is to experience an old-growth redwood grove with as little time investment as possible, then skip both hikes and go to the Avenue of the Giants, which has multiple awesome old-growth grove options right along the road.Written August 14, 2021
- If you like winding your way to the beach, this is a fun car trip. The hills are beautiful and the prize of the water at the end is great. We traveled from Ferndale and then out the other side through Petrolia. Going back to 101 through Petrolia is quite long.Written September 12, 2021
- Like a playground for Adults!!!
Lots of Beers on Tap. Plus lots of outdoor games. Volleyball, Cornhole, Frisbee Golf, etc....
Dogs are allowed inside on leash since they do not serve food. Bring your own food and bet some beers and have funWritten August 7, 2019
- This time I didn’t go inside due to COVID-19. A long time ago, I bought a brick in memory of my son, which is set in the courtyard of the museum. I can see it from the sidewalk. The building is one of the original Carnegie Libraries (the name is chiseled into the rock above the front doorway)Written August 24, 2022
- Just across the street from the Carson Mansion, this is another beautifully built and maintained building.Written September 28, 2022
- Great spot to learn about the history of logging in the area as well as the Fort itself. Perfect for history buffs! Clean and well maintained grounds, great for a picnic.Written March 16, 2022
- Great tour and facility. The Coasties are great with kids! These people are heroes! The risks they take for people who have made poor decisions is astounding.Written September 24, 2018
Frequently Asked Questions about Eureka
Eureka Attractions Information
|Local Time||Saturday 11:58 PM|