Humboldt Section 8

Manila to Mouth of Humboldt Bay, North Side

Humboldt Section 8

Manila to Mouth of Humboldt Bay, North Side

The Manila Community Center occupies the old Manila School on the Manila Beach and Dunes Preserve, a reserve of 100 acres of coastal dunes. The preserve nestles among several parcels of private property, but also adjoins the long unbroken beach beyond the dunes along the Pacific shore of the Samoa Peninsula.

From the Manila Community Center walk west-northwest past the end of the old school building and continue on the path over the first dune. At the second dune crest, veer right to join a broader path. Continue west over another dune at ⅛ mile where you can see the ocean ahead. Dip a through a vegetated valley in the dunes at ¼ mile, then climb over one more dune. You reach the tideline where CCT runs along the beach at ⅜ mile.

Turn left and follow the firm sand southwest with low dunes on your left and ocean breakers on your right. By 1½ miles a residential area at the north end of the town of Samoa is in the dunes to your east. By 2 miles you are paralleling New Navy Base Road, the main road along the south end of the north spit. The center of Samoa lies about ¼ mile east. After you pass the big industrial smokestacks of Louisiana-Pacific, the west end of Bay Street is one tenth of a mile east. New Navy Base Road curves away from the western shore only ¼ mile south, crossing to the eastern edge of the peninsula.

Continue along the beach paralleling the road to 3⅝ miles where you need to make a decision based upon whether you're day hiking or catching a boat shuttle across the bay. If you're day hiking to the end of the North Spit, continue along the beach at the tideline. You pass the north end of a drag strip near the old Eureka Airport around 4¼ miles. At 5⅝ miles you enter the Coast Guard Reservation on the tip of the North Spit. You have the right to continue along the beach below the mean high tideline. The North Spit ends at 6⅛ miles as you come to the sea wall and the North Jetty. Be especially careful of oversize rogue waves which may crest over the top of the sea wall. Return the way you came.

If you've arranged a boat shuttle from the Samoa County Boat Launch, you need to leave the beach at 3⅝ miles. Walk east to the parking area at the end of Bay Street, then walk the shoulder of New Navy Base Road for almost 2 miles. Around 5½ miles you'll see the County Boat Launch to the east. Another ⅛ mile brings you to the dock.

ALTERNATE ROUTE: Through-hikers see Alternate Route for Humboldt Section 7 if you cannot arrange a boat the take you across Humboldt Bay to the South Spit.

SUGGESTED ROUND TRIPS & LOOPS: Loop through the Manila Beach and Dunes Preserve on their trail system. From the Community Center it's ½ mile to the short Forest Loop. From there you can head northwest to the beach and CCT or return to your starting point.

Distance: 6⅛ miles to end of North Spit. For through-hikers or others taking a boat across Humboldt Bay, 5⅝ miles to the Samoa County Boat Launch (9.9 or 9.1 kilometers).

Open to: Hikers, equestrians.

Surface: Beach, road shoulder if you're heading for boat launch.

Access point: Manila Community Center.

How to get there: From the south, turn left off Highway 101 at the north end of Eureka onto Highway 255 at R Street. Go 2.6 miles, turn left onto Pacific Avenue, then left onto Peninsula Drive and go .2 mile to Community Center parking lot on right. From the north, exit Highway 101 at the south end of Arcata, Milepost 86.2, onto Highway 255/Samoa Boulevard. Go 5.5 miles, then turn right onto Pacific Avenue, then left onto Peninsula Drive and go .2 mile to Community Center parking lot on right.

Other access: Orange Drive, Bay Street, Samoa Dunes Recreation Area.

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation gain/loss: None for CCT Section; 30 feet+/40 feet- from Community Center.

Cautions: This shore is particularly prone to rogue waves, especially near Humboldt Bay's mouth. Beware that off-road vehicles also use this area. Stay off the main part of the Coast Guard Reservation unless you know it is open to the public on the day you're hiking.

Further information: BLM for Samoa Dunes Recreation Area (707)825-2300. Manila Community Center (707)445-3309. For boat shuttle call Humb Boats (707)443-5157 .

Facilities: Restrooms and water when center is open.

Campgrounds: Samoa County Boat Launch (south end), Manila Beach and Dunes (north).

Lodging: None on peninsula but many in Arcata to north and Eureka to east.

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