Summer is over. School is back in session. It's time for a fun fall trip! Take a day off and grab your partner for a jaunt to Ferndale. Stop at No Brand Burger Stand for a tasty lunch, then a little cardio on the uphill trails of Russ Park. Kids of all ages deserve an afterschool treat with a trip to Partrick's Candy. Visit the Arcata Farmers Market on Saturday to taste the love that is frybread and pick up a moon landing puzzle from the Rocking Horse Toy Store before you leave the square. Stop on the way home for an easy stroll around McKinleyville's Chah-GAH-Cho Trail. Was that the sound of a ref's whistle? Cal Poly Humboldt Lumberjacks are ready to defend their home field but need you to cheer them on. Or maybe a need for art draws you to the Goudi'ni Native American Arts Gallery, or by the Samoa Bridge to see the latest mural installation. Fill out your fall with a trip to Garberville's Pineapple Express Food Truck for tropical cuisine to fuel your expedition through Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

click to enlarge The view from the top of the trail in Russ Park. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • The view from the top of the trail in Russ Park.

Outdoorsy Types

Humboldt is blessed with an abundance of trails from north to south, running the gamut from an easy loop in town for strollers to hardcore trails fit for the utterly determined. The McKinleyville Land Trust's Chah-GAH-Cho Trail (at the end of Betty Court behind Mill Creek Cinema, McKinleyville) is an enjoyable walk with a sweeping view of the Mad River (fog willing!). This 9.5-acre gem with two 0.4-mile loops is tucked between Central Avenue's merchants and a pocket of residences. A gentle path of crushed rock meanders around a lovely field. The narrow woodland trail is a little more challenging, winding through stands of Douglas fir and alder trees. The interpretive panel "Wiyot Presence in Chah-GAH-Cho" identifies native plants with their Indigenous names. Furry family members (aka dogs) are welcome. Make it a habit to walk the Chah-GAH-Cho (Wiyot for "not far away") with the family anytime between sunrise and sunset.

There is more to Russ Park (Bluff Street south of Ferndale) than meets the eye. It packs a lot into its 110 acres. A lovely bluff overlooking Victorian Ferndale is backed by forested hills, providing hours of trails to explore. The best part? You can make this hike a workout or a nature lover's wander. Pile on the speed up to Zipporah's Pond to get that heart rate up. Take the uphills slow and look out for a reported 60 species of birds. Stop and admire the Sitka pines, an outlier in a county dominated by redwoods. Follow the Francis Creek Trail during the week to find solitude while walking the dog. Thank Zipporah Patrick Russ for her vision — she knew this land was special when she donated it to Ferndale back in 1920.

click to enlarge Strobilurus trullisatus, or conifercone cap, grows only on conifer cones found on the ground. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Strobilurus trullisatus, or conifercone cap, grows only on conifer cones found on the ground.

Be humbled by a life form that was here before you were born and will be here centuries after you make your exit. Humboldt Redwoods State Forest provides a stunning array of trails lined with ancient giants. There are several day use parking options (off U.S. Highway 101, Avenue of the Redwoods to Bull Creek Flats Road or Mattole Road) located by the trailheads for Homestead/Big Tree Loop and Bull Creek Flats North Loop. The footbridges over Bull Creek are removed seasonally so double check your choice before hitting the path. Combine the Bull Creek Flats North Loop and Homestead/Big Tree Loop for a 6-mile hike. Still have some steam to work off? The Johnson Prairie Trail compacts a 600-foot rise in elevation into 2.2 miles. The view will inspire you to plan an epic trek to reach Grasshopper Peak (3,100 feet) next summer. Stop and pay your respects to the Stratosphere Giant. It won't notice.

click to enlarge Joshua Lawyer painting “Color Fall.” - ALEXANDER WOODARD
  • Alexander Woodard
  • Joshua Lawyer painting “Color Fall.”

Artsy Types

Follow the lead of Arts Alive! regulars who know of a unique place. Open for events and by special appointment only, Mendenhall Studios (215 C St., Eureka) is a collection of artist studios holding some of Humboldt's best talent. Artists create as inspiration hits, with occasional outbursts of music. Glass Garage is home to maker of kick-ass marble maker Topher Reynolds and friends who bring fire to their game. Make sure to see the explosion of public art along Second Street and in the celebrated Opera Alley, which runs behind the studios. Find the cool cat painted by resident artist R.K. Schlueter, who also creates glass delights. Follow the individual artists, Mendenhall Studios, Glass Garage or Schlueter's Happy Cat Studio on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you get the chance to see art as it happens.

The Eureka Street Art Festival has done it again! This year, the Samoa Bridge Murals (Waterfront Drive, Eureka) turned cold concrete into pillars of color. The soaring bridge presents the work of muralists Jessica Cherry (Crescent City), Laci Dane (Weott), Joshua Lawyer (Santa Rosa), and Kyle Sanders (Eureka). ESAF took on the project with the help of California Department of Transportation and funding from the Clean California Initiative. The results are stunning. The greens of Cherry's "Err-werh Son" ("It is like grass" in Yurok) grace the biggest pillar, grounding it with enchanting fauna and flora. Dane's "Surf and Turf" effortlessly flows around the column with spiraled ferns echoed by curled tentacles in waving kelp. Eureka's Kyle Sanders' "Bderc" with passionate purple flowers gives way to Joshua Lawyer's palette of oranges in "Color Fall." A prismatic feast for the senses.

click to enlarge Goudi’ni Native American Arts Gallery. - Courtesy of cal poly humboldt - COURTESY OF CAL POLY HUMBOLDT
  • Courtesy of Cal Poly Humboldt
  • Goudi’ni Native American Arts Gallery.Courtesy of cal poly humboldt

Don't sit around on a wet Thursday afternoon! California Polytechnic Humboldt's Goudi'ni Native American Arts Gallery is a gem waiting to be explored. The group exhibition Recalling From the Source opens Oct. 13 and runs through Nov. 19, presenting works by Indigenous artists of Northwest California. If you have time, pop into the nearby Reese Bullen or Student Access galleries, too. Exhibits are open Wednesday through Saturday late morning and afternoons, while the Student Access Gallery is open whenever the Art Building is open. See what the students are creating. The Goudi'ni is located on the ground floor of the Humboldt Behavioral and Social Sciences Building (corner of 17th and Union streets). Questions? Call or email the gallery director at (707) 826-3629 or email [email protected]. Check out campus parking options ( or city of Arcata for metered spaces. The small hassle of parking is well worth it to enjoy vivid reinterpretation of traditional basketry patterns, among other things. Be moved by the raw connection of art to contemporary Indigenous life.

click to enlarge Frybread Love’s Indian taco. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Frybread Love’s Indian taco.


Some of the best food is found in the smallest of places. Local food stands and trucks keep their communities happy and well fed. They are also a tasty way to avoid your own kitchen. Make ordering easier. Check social media or call for seasonal hour changes and specials. You can never tell what inspired genius awaits in little food stands, and you don't want to miss out. Ferndale boasts a permanent burger stand that can satisfy any family-sized hunger with a side of innovation. No Brand Burger Stand waits for the arrival of your full family truckster (1400 Main St. C, 707-786-9474). All burgers have a double option for big appetites, while a single suits smaller stomachs. It serves frings! No, not a typo but a half and half order perfect for that couple who shares one order, but bickers over fries or onion rings. Ah, a universe in balance. The meat lover in your life will savor the Cajun jalapeno burger, made with grass-fed beef. Can you smell the frings? Genius.

click to enlarge Frings and a burger from No Brand Burger Stand. - HOLLY HARVEY
  • Holly Harvey
  • Frings and a burger from No Brand Burger Stand.

If you haven't tasted, you are sorely missing out on one of life's joys. Frybread Love's Indian taco will change you. Warm and soft with crunchy edges, fresh frybread makes a perfect bed for beautifully seasoned taco meat and fixings topped with a dollop of salsa. "I'm going to follow Frybread Love around like a hippie following the Dead," said one delighted diner. High praise, indeed! On Saturdays you can find the Native-owned traveling food stand at the Arcata Plaza Farmers Market. Need a treat to go with your morning coffee? Stroll through stalls of produce as you munch on warm frybread topped with fresh berries, whipped cream and a drizzle of lemon and raspberry filling. The menu can vary as seasons change and inspiration hits. Follow the Love on Facebook and Instagram for dates and locations to find your frybread fix. 

As the sunset comes earlier each night, bring some island joy home for dinner! Pineapple Express Food Truck (880 Redwood Drive, 808-387-6101) entices Garberville's taste buds with Hawaiian and Japanese delights. What heart is not lifted by pulled pork roasted in banana leaves and served with Hawaiian barbecue sauce? The pescatarian in your life will be thrilled with fish served with a Japanese twist. Go all out with legendary Spicy Garlic Chicken Fries and call in your order for convenient pickup. Find the Pineapple Express Food Truck on Facebook for current menu and hours. Show your appreciation with a follow. Food this good deserves devotion. 

click to enlarge Partrick’s Candy Store makes candy on site every day. - RENEE THOPMSON
  • Renee Thopmson
  • Partrick’s Candy Store makes candy on site every day.

With the Kids

Humboldt keeps parents well supplied with family fun that encourages learning everywhere. Even at the candy store. Tell the kids to put down that solidified corn syrup amusingly known as candy and take them to Eureka, stat! Partrick's Candy (537 F St., Eureka, 707-442-0382) will introduce them to real confections made with the real stuff. They'll never be the same after a smooth chocolate filled with their favorite flavor, be it orange or raspberry. The delightful art deco store uses a machine resembling old bike pieces to pull real saltwater taffy (yes, it tastes salty) and wraps it up with a machine built in the 1890s. Pass up that convenience store candy bar and choose a dark chocolate buttercream and a few English toffees. You can't pass up chocolates made daily by Kevin and Debbra Sweet (best example of nominative determinism ever) using the same recipes since Partrick's opened in 1941.

Spark the imaginations with educational toys that are fun from Rocking Horse Toys/Threadbare Dancewear (791 Eighth St., Arcata, 707-822-7894). Teach your child about plastics with a bright recycling truck aptly made from old milk jugs. The cool flat-pack wood rocker and a good book will keep your tyke occupied for hours as they learn to love reading. The natural face paint will probably be used for a cat face complete with whiskers on an understanding aunt. New this year is shop-mate Threadbare Dancewear, where you can find the right leotard for your budding Misty Copeland or tap shoes for the aspiring Fred Astaire. Check the Facebook page for sales and seasonal hours. 

Who says you have to choose between the arts and sports? Not us. And here is the proof: REBOUND basketball court murals. Is it time for your teen to work off some steam? Visit Valley West Park (Hallen Drive, Arcata) to use a sweet basketball court with an arty twist. REBOUND transformed the faded court with a stunning mural right in the paint. Maybe that middle schooler wants to sharpen up their free throws on the vibrant court at Shay Park (1301 Foster Ave., Arcata), painted in 2021. Keep up with where REBOUND's murals can be found at, or follow them on Instagram @r_e_b_o_u_n_d.

click to enlarge The Lumberjacks men’s basketball team on the court. - MARK LARSON, COURTESY OF CAL POLY HUMBOLDT
  • Mark Larson, Courtesy of Cal Poly Humboldt
  • The Lumberjacks men’s basketball team on the court.

Not Strictly for Tourists

Anglers flock to Humboldt's rivers for a reason. How do you make a Mad River happy? You fish it! The Mad River Fish Hatchery (1660 Hatchery Road, Blue Lake, 707-822-0592) is a great place to learn about the fish that swim in Humboldt's best rivers. Chinook salmon and rainbow and steelhead trout are raised on site. Impress friends by knowing that anadromous Chinook migrate upriver to spawn, while anadromous steelhead trout complete the trip more than once. Your family can stroll the grounds enjoying the view and wildlife of the Mad River. Take the self-guided tour from sunrise to sunset. Bring your favorite fisherman to see where that trout they caught in Freshwater Lagoon was raised. Then put a pole in the Mad River and see if you can catch some dinner yourself.

The Lumberjacks of Cal Poly Humboldt (formerly Humboldt State University) are swinging hard this season! Both men and women Lumberjacks are ready to cut the competition down to size. Start off by joining the Lumberjack Legion to boost the soccer teams. The nationally ranked men's rugby team makes quick work of tough opponents. Help the volleyball team support noble causes by attending Dig Pink and Dam Worth It days. Keep an eye on the basketball schedule for Midnight Madness. What are you waiting for? Tickets go fast. Find all you need — schedules, tickets, stats — at Call (707) 826-3631 with questions. 

What better way to celebrate all that is Humboldt than a drive up to Kneeland? Operative word being up. Start the 11-mile drive on Freshwater Road at the junction where it meets Myrtle Avenue (Three Corners). Three miles up the road is Freshwater County Park. Beyond here lies a climbing road of switchbacks. Winding its way through the trees and ever upward, Freshwater Road takes a turn to the right to become Kneeland Road. Occasional turnouts let you drink in the views. If you are looking for good star gazing, keep going until you reach the old Kneeland Airport (veer left on Mountain Road for the last mile), built above the fog line. And the snowline. Bear that in mind in winter months, when the fluffy stuff can pile up. Snow cares for nothing, not even its own beauty, so have the right vehicle for it. Bask in the glory of Humboldt. Then take Greenwood Heights Drive back down to sea level for a different perspective.

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