Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

How to get there: The park is located 36 miles southwest of Redway/Garberville on Briceland Road. The last nine miles are unpaved. Trailers and motor homes are not advised. Road becomes impassable during wet weather. For recorded information call (707) 986-7711.

The rugged wilderness that once characterized the entire Mendocino Coast can still be explored and enjoyed in the 7,367 acre Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Since there are no main highways near the coast in this vicinity, the area has come to be called the "Lost Coast."

For thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived, the Sinkyone Indians lived in this part of the coast. They occupied permanent villages alongside streams and rivers, and moved out in family groups to hunt and forage in the hills during the summer. They spent time along the coast fishing, ,gathering seaweed and shellfish, and hunting seals and sea lions, and harvesting the occasional dead whale that had washed on shore. Fish were an important source of food during the winter. All kinds of fish were caught, but the seasonal salmon run was especially important.

Most park visitors today assume that human beings have had little impact on this area. But every trail, road, or flat spot has been modified by human activity. Game trails were turned into pathways for pack mules loaded with tanbark for the tanneries of San Francisco. Roads were carved and graded for lumbering operations. Open areas and marine terraces were farmed and used to pasture sheep and cattle. Occasionally, what appears to be a wagon road or a modern jeep trail is actually an abandoned railroad right-of-way.

Logging operations continued until well into the 20th century and wood products of various kinds were shipped to market from Usal, Needle Rock, Anderson's Landing, Northport and Bear Harbor/Morgan's Rock. Northport was not much of a port, but lumber schooners were able to take on their cargoes by means of a "wire chute," - a cable and block system that could run wood from the bluff to waiting schooners. Built in 1875, the Northport "chute" was one of the first of its kind on the coast.

Sinkyone Wilderness State Park was created in 1975 when the first 3,430 acres were acquired at Needle Rock. The park expanded in 1986 and now totals 7,367 acres.

Sinkyone Wilderness State Park in a nutshell:

Visitation: 50,000/year.
Location/Directions: 36 miles southwest of Redway/Garberville on Briceland Rd.
Address: P.O. Box 245, Whitethorn, CA 95489
Telephone: (707) 986-7711 (recorded message)
Operating hours/Seasons: Campground open all year. Day use areas open sunrise to sunset.
Climate/recommended clothing: Summer 45-75. Morning & evening fog is common. Winter 35-55. Rainfall up to 80 inches/year mostly occurring Nov.-May.
Travel Directions: Take Briceland Rd. off Highway 101. Park is 36 miles southeast of Redway/Garberville. The last nine miles are unpaved. Road may be impassable in wet weather.
Transportation (to the park/in the park): No public transportation available.
Fees/costs/rates: Campsites - $11/night May-Sept. $7/Oct.-April. Day-use $3/car May-Sept. $2/Oct.-April. Senior citizens receive $2 discount on camping and $1 discount on day use.
Facilities: Primitive and hike in camping only. Nearly 40 miles of trails including hiking, bicycle and horse trails, visitor center at Needle Rock Ranch House, room rentals at Needle Rock Ranch house.
Reservations/permits: Campsites are first come-first served.
Basic visit recommendations: Backpacking and primitive camping. No facilities or access for motor homes or trailers. Very common to see Roosevelt elk.
Special events/programs: None.
Visitor impacts: Very crowded during summer holidays.
Adjacent visitor attractions: King Range National Conservation Area, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Avenue of the Giants, and Richardson Grove State Park.

Additional North Coast Redwoods District State Parks links:

[Azalea State Reserve]
[Benbow Lake State Recreation Area]
[Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park]
[Fort Humboldt State Historic Park]
[Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park]
[Standish - Hickey State Recreation Area]
[Humboldt Redwoods State Park]
[Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park]
[Humboldt Lagoons State Park]
[Lake Earl State Park]
[Patrick's Point State Park]
[Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park]
[Richardson Grove State Park]
[Sinkyone Wilderness State Park]
[Trinidad State Beach]

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Revised: 22 September 1997
Copyright © 1997 Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association