The State Park
Town and beach are just one mile off the well-travelled US 101
, 20 miles north of Eureka. Trinidad is a historic settlement - supposedly the oldest town on the northern California coast - that has been busy since the 1850s, initially as a supply base for gold mining and redwood timber operations inland, and today the facilities include various small stores, guest houses, an RV park and boat rental shops - the region is also well-known for its good fishing. A signposted side road to the state beach ends at a grassy parking area from which several paths descend the bushy cliffs to the sea shore. To the left, a sandy beach extends to the high cliffs of Trinidad Head
, a steep-sided peak (almost an island) just west of the town center, while opposite are several small rock outcrops, reachable at low tide, and which are covered in an invasive type of succulent flowering plant known as sea fig. A little further out in the ocean is a rather larger tree-covered rock (Pewetole Island
), left standing after the coastline eroded inland. To the right, the beach ends at a small peninsula with a wave-cut arch; beyond this is another long sandy bay (College Cove
), which is accessible at beach level only at low tide. Alternative access to the main beach is from another parking area at the foot of Trinidad Head, at the end of Lighthouse Road. The beach margins are home to a good selection of flowers, concentrated around several seeps, and the end of the small drainage of Mill Creek
Trinidad Head Trail
There is one trail in the vicinity, a 1.3 mile loop around Trinidad Head, the isolated, 358-foot high rock which can be seen all across town. Start point is the parking area on the south side of the state beach, from where a little connecting path climbs to a road leading to the coastal monitoring station built on the summit of the rock; the hike continues along this road a short distance until the trail forks off, cutting through dense vegetation with frequent views of the ocean. This place is usually very windy, and many of the trees are shaped accordingly. Numerous wildflowers grow in the open corridor alongside the path. Several short spurs lead to overlooks, and while there is no single best viewpoint, all of the route is pleasingly scenic. The latter part of the loop gives good views to the south and east, across Trinidad Pier, the smaller peak of Little Head, and Trinidad Bay. The trail meets the road once more, close to the summit, and the hike is completed by walking down, past a side road to Trinidad Head Lighthouse, then back to the parking lot.