Looking for fine views of the coasts, diverse landscapes, and habitats with lots of shade through dense forests? Sign up to take a hike on the Peter Douglas Trail and learn some history about the northern part of the state while enjoying the views. The trail is part of the northern coastal trails on the California Coastal Trail System, a system that connects dozens of trails to travel along the coast of the state up to 1200 miles.
This trail is the second to last trail along the coastal trail system, and offers some of the most rural and rugged hiking options throughout. Even getting to the trail is a bit of a hassle, since you have to travel along a dirt road called Usal Road that turns off of Shoreline Highway. This road is open during the dry season and it's a couple miles to get to a small parking area along the road. Once you're here though, you'll be bombarded with a dense forest filled with rich history.
The trail follows along the edge of the woods, with views and sounds of the water crashing on the rocks to the west. The area is known as the candelabra redwood forest, with trees that have formed weird shapes thanks to the salty air from the ocean. Other trees in the forest include firs, spruces, and alpine trees. There are plenty of access points along the trail that lead to the beach, where you and Fido can play in the sand and water.
Halfway through the trail, the path will turn east into the forest. This is where you'll also get a chance to see plenty of wildlife, like Roosevelt elk, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, snakes, and foxes. The trail continues north and ends at a bridge that crosses over Usal Creek into Shady Dell. The trail continues, but you and Fido can always turn back to get to your car.
This natural coastline trail is one of the most rural and wildlife abundant ones along the coast, and thanks to its natural state, it continues to show off the enriched history and beauty that makes up the northern part of the state.