Northern California Getaway

Northern California Getaway

Even the healthiest lifestyle can get off-track when pressures at work and at home start robbing your peace of mind. The Rim Trail at Patrick's Point State Park, on the Northern California coast, gives you back the healthy glow and natural curiosity that stress takes away.

The natural world dwarfs the man-made one at the 640-acre park, located 160 miles from Medford. Just north of the park is Big Lagoon, separated from the sea by a 2.5-mile sand spit. Five miles south is the low-key village of Trinidad. (For more information about Trinidad, including attractions and accommodations, click on the link to this story at www.OregonHealthyLiving.com).

If you have a dog, head south to Trinidad State Beach, or north to Big Lagoon, because dogs are off-limits on park trails. A park map will help you check your whereabouts on a trail with few signs.

The two-mile Rim Trail charts a nearly level course between Palmer's Point and Agate Beach. The trail hugs a curving bluff with frequent ocean views from under an evergreen canopy of hemlock, spruce, cedar, fir and pine. Six steep, quarter-mile side trails lead to promontories and windswept meadows.

Several trails link from the rim to the park's interior, where you can visit a reproduction of a Yurok Indian village and a 100-foot-tall rock that was a sea stack before the sea retreated. The village was built in 1990 by local Yurok people to show off inventive redwood structures used in the 1800s, when the Yurok world stretched from Wilson Creek near Crescent City to Little River just south of Trinidad.

The trail begins at Palmer's Point, a prime spring and fall lookout for migrating gray whales. Some whales summer near the point. Before sunset, sea lions bark from the sea stacks. At low tide, families pick their way through the rocks to tide pools that harbor sea stars and anemones. Just over half a mile, the trail passes several campsites on the choice outer edge of Abalone Campground.

If you are sure-footed as a mountain goat, you can conceivably scale the rocks for close-up views of seals at Rocky Point. The seals swim around Wedding Rock, too, and footing is firmer there. Wedding Rock is a sea stack in the making that just barely connects to the mainland via a high, narrow strip of land, like a diamond mounted to a wedding band.

The Rim Trail skirts Agate Beach Campground before dropping to pebbly Agate Beach. Like the rest of the ocean around Patrick's Point, Agate Beach is not suitable for swimming due to rogue waves, unexpected holes and a strong undertow. The mile-long beach is known for agates, a translucent form of quartz.

You can link from Agate Beach to Big Lagoon, where driftwood complicates the challenges of traversing a sandy ridge. Pounding surf scours one side of the ridge, and salt-tolerant plants crowd the other.

Refresh your outlook with a hike at Patrick's Point State Park.

For information contact: Patrick's Point State Park, 707-677-3570; Humboldt Lagoons State Park, 707-488-2041; Trinidad Chamber of Commerce, 707-677-1610.

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