A popular hiking and cycling trail just north of Arcata showcases the varied landscapes of the Redwood Coast. Taking hikers and bikers across open fields, lush woodlands and a stunning beach, the Hammond Trail is simply amazing. The 5.5-mile segment of the California Coastal Trail is a multi-use trail that’s open for hiking, biking and horseback riding. It stretches north from the Arcata Bottoms up to Clam Beach County Park in McKinleyville. It starts at the Mad River pedestrian bridge, originally the site of a wooden covered bridge built in 1905. It was later replaced with steel and used as a railroad bridge until 1961. The southern stretch of the trail provides panoramas of the ocean and Mad River. Keep an eye out for seals, sea otters, herons, ducks, cormorants and Aleutian geese. 

After reaching the town of McKinleyville, the trail meanders through neighborhoods and Hiller Park. Beyond the park, the trail zips through a conifer forest and spectacular bluffs. There are picnic tables and benches situated along the path so you can rest and take in the view. Continuing north, you’ll descend onto a short, paved section that crosses Strawberry Creek. The trail ends with a nice walk in the  sand at Clam Beach County Park.