Sue-Meg State Park

  • Wildlife viewing
  • Particularly good for families
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling
  • Picnic

Amenities

  • Visitor center
  • Picnic
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Accessible Parking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Particularly good for families
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling

Information

Website:
parks.ca.gov
Address:
4150 Patricks Point Dr., Trinidad, CA,
Region:
North Coast
Phone:
Info: (707) 677-3570
Hours:
Day use: Sunrise-sunset
Visitor center: Call park
Dogs:
In restricted areas
Not allowed on trails or beach only permitted in the campground and day-use area.
Last Reviewed:
July 2023
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Thirty miles north of Eureka, in the heart of redwood country, Sue-Meg State Park juts into the Pacific Ocean on a 640-acre headland with forests of spruce, pine, fir, hemlock, and alder interspersed with meadows. Although this coast is often shrouded in fog, on a clear day (typically spring and fall) you can enjoy stunning blufftop views at Wedding Rock, Patrick's Point, and Palmer's Point. From these vantage points you can look for gray whales during their spring and fall migrations, California sea lions, stellar sea lions, and harbor seals. Bountiful spring wildflowers, including Douglas iris, fairy bells, and trillium, grace the meadows and forests.

A highlight of the park is a replica of a Yurok village, known as Sumêg. Built in 1990 by local Yuroks using traditional construction techniques, it consists of a dance pit, changing houses, sweat house, and family houses. All can be viewed from a moderately accessible trail.

Several miles of interconnected trails wind throughout the park, but most are inaccessible to wheelchair riders due to steep, rough terrain; a section of the Rim Trail is accessible and the paved road that meanders through forests, meadows, and campgrounds has little traffic and offers a great way to explore the park.

Trails and Pathways

Trail:
Sumeg Trail
Trailhead Location:
Adjacent to the visitor center
Trail Length:
Less than .5 mile
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Gentle
Typical Terrain:
Moderately Firm
Trail Overview:

On my visit in late April, a few large rhododendrons at the trailhead looked ready to burst with color. The trail winds through a Sitka spruce and Douglas fir forest, lush with ferns and moss. After a short uphill stretch you come to a redwood canoe exhibit. Yuroks built their canoes from naturally fallen redwood trees and generally took several years to finish one because they worked on them only after the day's chores were completed.

About a hundred feet beyond the canoe is a spur trail to Ceremonial Rock, which, given its name, I should have guessed would be inaccessible—the terrain quickly becomes steep and rough, and there's a step up to a bridge. Another hundred feet past the spur is a trail to the native plant garden, where you can see plants used by the Yurok for medicines, baskets, and ceremonial purposes. I found this tree-lined trail manageable in a motorized wheelchair, but it took some careful navigating. It was a bit overgrown and untended, but may be better maintained during the park's busier months.

The forest's cool, damp air was filled with birdsong and rays of sunlight, and an abundance of blooming white trillium lightened the landscape as well, but a few hundred yards beyond the native plant garden, when I reached the open meadow of Sumêg Village, my spirit soared in the welcome warmth of the sun. Here you can continue on the wide trail as it skirts the village structures, or cross a grassy meadow as I did, to get a closer view of the structures—this route is quite bumpy and may be challenging in a manual wheelchair. The main path leads to the cook shelter, where you can get close to one of the changing houses–used as changing rooms by the Brush Dancers of various tribes, including Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa–and the dance pit. The people of Sumêg regarded their houses as living beings and the redwood they were made from as a spirit, and their first loyalty was not to a tribe or village, but to their home.

We tried to return to the visitor center on other trails but found all of them extremely bumpy with tree roots, so returned the way we came. It is possible to drive to the Sumêg Village instead of taking the trail.

Accessibility Notes: A short uphill that you encounter about 50 feet into the native plant garden may be greater than 1:12. Trail width may be less than four feet in places where you have to navigate around tree roots. The native plant garden paths narrow to less than three feet in places, due to rocks and trees. Several spots require careful maneuvering over tree roots. I easily managed in my motorized chair, but the ride was quite bumpy. The duff on the forest floor was thick in places and may cause drag on manual wheelchairs.
Trail:
Rim Trail
Trailhead Location:
Wedding Rock parking lot
Trail Length:
1-2 total miles
Typical Width:
4 ft. & above
Typical Grade:
Gentle
Typical Terrain:
Moderately Firm
Trail Overview:

This trail was reviewed using a rear-wheel motorized wheelchair.

The Rim Trail is 2-miles but only .85 mile is accessible from the Wedding Rock parking lot. This blufftop trail offers a few expansive views of the ocean but mostly travels through forests of Sitka spruce, red alder, Douglas-fir, and western hemlock. After a few feet from start the ocean comes into view and at .07 is a short trail to benches at an overlook. You might see migrating gray whales, sea lions, or seals playing in the waves or lounging on the rocks below. The trail then continues on a gentle continuous uphill climb through shade until .5-miles where you'll cross the road to continue on to Ceremonial Rock another .1-mile. If you continue another .2-miles the trees thin out and you can reach the Red Alder campground. I turned back here but, instead of retracing my route back at the road crossing, I followed it back to our vehicle for a total of 1.7 miles.

Accessibility Notes: One grade at .2-mile is 11% On my visit (summer 23) plant material covers the trail which softens the ride for motorized devices but may be problematic for manual powered users.

Amenities

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Accessible Parking:
Yes – designated accessible parking, van accessible, firm, level or slope no greater than 2%;

At visitor center, Patrick's Point, Palmer's Point, Mussel Rocks, Lookout Rock, Campfire Center, and Sumêg Village; the last is on a slight slope and has no access aisle.


Accessible Restroom:
Yes – Adjacent to the visitor center, near the parking lot at Sumêg Village, and at Mussel Rocks overlook, Lookout Rock, and the Campfire Center; a portable unit is at Palmer's Point.

Camping:
Yes

Accessible Picnic Table:
Yes – firm & stable path to tables, firm & stable surface, 27" or greater knee clearance; The most accessible tables are at the visitor center, where they are scattered on a large deck surrounded by trees; in the Sumeg Village by the cook shelter; and at Mussel Rocks parking lot. At all other locations they are on mostly level and firm surfaces but you must travel across grass to reach them.

Accessible Visitor Center:
Yes – A stop at the visitor center, just inside the park entrance, will greatly enhance your visit to this park. You will learn about the Yurok, who inhabit coastal Humboldt County and have traditionally come to Patricks Point in the summer to fish and hunt. Displays include Indian baskets and tools, birds of the forest, and animal specimens, including a gray whale skull, gray fox, and brown bear. Interactive exhibits invite you to guess which animal made which tracks and to feel animal bones and other specimens.

Additional Information:

Nearby Trinidad State Beach in picturesque, historic Trinidad has an accessible day-use picnic area on a bluff overlooking the beach. On my visit the restrooms were locked, so I was unable to assess their accessibility.

Four rustic cabins are at the Agate Cabin Area. Each sleeps six and because all are accessible they are open to anyone to reserve. The restroom building across the road from the cabins is not accessible. The nearest wheelchair accessible restroom building is located adjacent to campsite 91 (approximately 200-300 yards from the cabins via the campground road). A wheelchair accessible portable toilet is near the cabins. Campsites numbers 91, 92, and 94 in the Agate campround and 65, 68, and 69 in Abolone are accessible.

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