It’s only 56 miles south of Crescent City, but it took us more than five years to get to Patrick’s Point State Park. Closer-to-home redwoods, coastlines and river canyons kept us spectacularly occupied. There’s irony in that, because some people know little about the splendor of the North Coast other than what’s to be found at Patrick’s Point.
Even from a safe distance, the winter waves are attention-grabbers as they explode near Wedding Rock at Patrick’s Point State Park. Del Norte Triplicate / Richard Wiens
Jutting into and looming over the ocean 25 miles from Eureka, it’s probably as far north as many visitors go. That’s a mistake, of course, but you can hardly blame them for assuming it can’t get any better than this.
Laura and I had driven by the highway turnoff many times, intrigued but always intent on getting somewhere else.
And the fact is, by spending three and a half hours cherry-picking some of the high points and a few of the descents, we still haven’t seen most of Patrick’s Point. After forking over the park’s $8 day-use fee, we didn’t even stop at the Visitors Center, much less the re-created Yurok village and the Native American Plant Garden in the park’s interior. On a splashy Sunday, we were intent on getting to the edges.
To see it all would require at least two full days. We only traversed about half of the Rim Trail along with some of its side-effects, but it was more epiphany than mere introduction. We were reminded of the lush, meandering trails around ocean coves at Point Lobos State Park south of Carmel. And we haven’t really been anywhere else that brought to mind that patch of paradise.