After spending the late afternoon and early evening exploring the town of Trinidad, including the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse and Trinidad State Beach, and eating at the delicious Trinidad Lighthouse Grill, we watching Elk roam open meadows at dusk and made our way to the Trinidad Inn for a great night’s sleep in comfy beds with plush down comforters.
After breakfast, we hit the road for our drive through Eureka to the Humboldt Redwoods, pit stopping at the Carson Mansion, the Loleta Cheese Factory, and the Victorian Village of Ferndale on the way.
Between Trinidad and Eureka we stopped to check out the Clam Beach Vista Point and get some snacks out of the back of truck.
The Clam Beach Vista Point is a glorified roadside pullout atop the coastal bluffs overlooking the wide, sandy Clam Beach and sparkling Pacific Ocean.
Accessing the vista point off California’s Redwood Highway is easy, there is plenty of parking (but no real parking lot), and the view is amazing. In fact, on a clear day you can see Trinidad Head and during the spring and fall migration, you may even spot gray whales! If it’s cold, you’re not up for visiting the beach, and you want to watch the ocean, this is a great place to take a break.
About Clam Beach
Clam Beach, named for the razor clams you can dig for in the surf, is a wide stretch of sandy beach that is dotted with driftwood. It connects with Mad River Beach County Park to the south and Little River State Beach to the north.
Clam Beach County Park has two day use two parking and camping areas — North and South. It also is one of the few places in California where you can camp right on the beach! If you’re up for building sand castles, beachcombing, surf fishing, clamming, relaxing, hiking, riding horses, walking along the surf, and picnicking, this is a great choice of beautiful California beaches.
The Hammond Coastal Trail
Part of the California Coastal Trail, the Hammond Coastal Trail starts at Clam Beach and travels 5.0 miles south to Mad River Beach.
The trail follows portions of the old Hammond Railroad line built in the 1900s so it’s pretty flat. The rail line was used to transport redwood from Little River to the Hammond Lumber Mill and Humboldt Bay. It is used by hikers and bikers, and is mostly paved and car-free, except for a few sections.
There are two core sections of the Hammond Trail. The southern 3.0 mile section stretches from the Mad River Bridge, through Hiller Park, to Widow White Creek in McKinleyville. The northern 2.0 mile section stretches from North Letz Avenue to Clam Beach County Park.
Know Before You Go
Clam Beach Vista Point:
- To reach the Clam Beach Vista Point near McKinleyville, take California Highway 101 to the Clam Beach Exit, 12 miles north of Eureka.
- On a clear day you can see Trinidad Head and during the spring and fall migration times, you’ll have a chance to spot gray whales.
Clam Beach County Park:
- Clam Beach County Park is located at 1100 Clam Beach Road, McKinleyville, California 95519 in Humboldt County. It is just 7.5 miles north of Arcata off CA Highway 101, using the Clam Beach Park exit.
- At Clam Beach County Park, day use is free and there is a picnic area with firepits and restrooms.
- Camping is on a first come, first served basis and includes 12 tent camping sites and 15 RV spaces. There is a three-night maximum and no showers.
- There is parking available at the North Lot, South Lot, and along Clam Beach Drive.
- Horses are allowed on the beach.