Driving through the middle of town, one would never guess the splendors of the trails available. We were in Eureka, CA, for the day and were seeking adventure. I wanted something a bit different, so I searched some recommendations on-line. Not being familiar with town, I saw pictures of McKay Community Forest and was immediately attracted to the lush forest, various trail options, and comments from visitors. We plugged the address (3110 Harris St, Eureka, CA) into our map app and set course.
As we neared the destination my boyfriend, Rich, kept saying that I must have the address wrong. We were almost to our destination, yet still in town. Houses and businesses surrounded us. I checked and re-chechecked and was not mistaken. We drove down our destined street and nothing jumped out at us to be this amazing trail head. Suddenly Siri announced we passed our destination and needed to turn around. Rich and I looked at each other and looked around the street questioning where this place was… Still nothing stood out as our destined stop.
As we followed the navigations once again, we came upon a small entry to a trail. It was nothing special, but it did look a bit like one of the pictures I had seen on the internet. Rich and I looked at each other, shrugged, and decided, “why not… we are here… let’s give it a go. If it’s real bad we can try another trail.”
We parked the car, headed to the trail and started heading away from the road. Not too far from the road we were amazed to find what seemed like 100’s of acres of forest. Pure, untouched forest. We got to a point where we could stay on a semi-paved path and have an easy walk or make a left and start a light climb up and have a more adventurous light hike in the pines. We opted for the hike and were so glad we did…
As we got up into the pines the temperature dropped even more than the already cool coastal weather we were in. The trail was fairly smooth, with a few roots to watch out for. Amongst the pines were the old remnants of redwoods that had been left behind from loggers of yester-years. And everywhere the eye could see were ferns. It is definitely a coastal paradise and a reminder that not too far north from this area is where Jurassic Park was filmed. You could almost expect to have a velociraptor pounce on you as you made your way down the trail.
We journeyed along for quite some time on the upper trail and it met back up with the semi-paved road. We took that out and again made a left and followed that nearly all the way out to the back fence-line. Along this area we saw a meandering creek and lots of tall weeds. We could hear the bull frogs if we listened hard enough and as we neared the fence line we got back in touch with civilization as we could see a road and heard traffic noise.
We turned around and headed back towards the tree line and meandered down some more paths. We came along some houses and it is in this area that you will find some “No Trespassing” signs. After further investigation (upon my return home) I found out that the trail system consists of 1,000 acres of land that was acquired from Green Diamond Logging Company. The residents around the area have some concerns about what a park of that magnitude would do to their neighborhood, so it is best to be mindful and respectful of their property.
Overall, McKay Community Forest was a beautiful trail and one that I strongly recommend to fellow hikers and travelers. I would love to go back and explore different trails within the area and see what I have missed. I think that Eureka has a hidden treasure on their hands that will not be hidden for too much longer. It’s just one more reminder that adventure is out there and it’s time to uncover your joy.