5 Easy to Moderate Hiking Trails Near Fortuna

What comes to your mind when you think about Northern California? Perhaps you picture majestic scenery, sunshine along the Pacific Coast’s beaches, movie-making in the redwood forests, romantic wine country, or the farm-to-table movement. Those are all wonderful aspects of our corner of the country. Amidst all this scenic wonder, hiking is a popular and rewarding activity. While opportunities to hike are countless, we’ve highlighted 6 easy to moderate hiking trails near Fortuna, CA to try during your next visit. Fortuna is a beautiful rural town nestled in Humboldt County about halfway between Eureka to the north and Humboldt Redwood Forest to the south. Note: as with all travel, some roads are off the main path, check ahead.

Dennis Wendt Memorial Trail – 2 miles away

0.7 miles; easy
This trail is more than just a place to walk. Dennis Wendt, the trail’s namesake, was a resident of Fortuna and owner of Wendt Construction. In fact, Dennis built half the houses in Fortuna and sponsored many youth programs. His giving spirit meant a great deal to many people. After passing away in 2017, friends decided to clean up a portion of Fortuna along an old railroad track by the river, and name the trail in his honor. Today, residents and visitors alike walk along the Dennis Wendt Memorial Trail enjoying the lush landscape. From south to north, the trail starts at 3rd Street, just off Main Street, and follows the tracks 0.7 miles to Palmer Boulevard. The terrain is level and mostly gravel and dirt. Visitors can walk and bike. 

Fortuna Riverwalk – ½ mile away

2 miles; easy
We’d be remiss not to mention our very own Fortuna Riverwalk. Beginning at Drake Hill Road near Sandy Prairie Road, you’ll head north 2 miles to Riverwalk Drive. You’ll pass farmland, open fields, and the Eel River. The terrain is crushed stone and grass, and the views are worth the walk or bike.

Humboldt Bay Trail North – 10 miles away

4.5 miles; moderate
The Humboldt Bay Trail North is part of a larger trail project. Eventually, the trail will connect to Arcata and Eureka. Following an existing railroad track, the trail starts at Arcata Skate Park and ends in Bracut, taking you through the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. The marsh is teeming with flora and fauna. There is a Visitors Center where you can learn more about the marsh ecosystem. Parking is available at Larson Park in the north, and South I and G Streets to the south. 

Hammond Trail – 34 miles away

5.5 miles; easy to moderate
This 5.5 mile coastal trail, which follows an old rail trail, offers visitors history and beauty rolled into one. Beginning at the southern trail head, you cross the steel Mad River Bridge, built in 1942, where you’ll enjoy a gorgeous view of the Mad River. Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as seals, sea otters, and several bird species like herons, ducks, and geese. After crossing the bridge, you will enter a partially protected habitat, walk along the western part of McKinleyville (great place to stop for a restroom break and refreshments), and tunnel through lush green flora before the trail opens up to stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean. After walking along Murray Road, you’ll head toward Widow White Creek, enjoy more bluff overlooks, and descend to sea level. The trail ends at Clam Beach County Park. For an easy walk, start at the park and walk the flat portion before turning around. For a moderate hike, walk one way with a ride waiting at the other end. For a more challenging trek, walk the trail both ways, for 11 miles total and including twice the steep hills to climb. 

Eureka Waterfront Trail – 30 minutes away

6.5 miles; moderate
If you’re looking for a longer jaunt, head up to Eureka, just 30 minutes from The Redwood, to the Eureka Waterfront Trail. A popular aspect of the trail is a boardwalk over the salt marsh. On the boardwalk you’ll be rewarded with views of Humboldt Bay, Eureka slough, as well as mountains. The trail is 6.5 miles long and made up of asphalt and boardwalk. It begins at the old Eureka Holmes Lumber Mill site and ends at Tydd Street on the eastern side of Eureka. Walkers, bikers, in-line skaters, and wheelchairs are welcome. Parking is available at the south end of the trail on Pound Road, on Hilfiker Lane, and at the northern end of the trail on Truesdale Avenue. 

The Redwood Riverwalk Hotel, offering boutique-style accommodations in Fortuna, is the perfect basecamp for a day on the trails. You will start each day with our complimentary Lumberjack breakfast. When you return after a day of hiking or sightseeing, you can enjoy a swim in our beautiful indoor swimming pool, as well as spa-grade eco-friendly bath products. Book your Fortuna getaway today.

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