Patrick’s Point State Park
Patrick’s Point State Park is 640 acres of forest and meadows on the Northern California coast. It includes 6 miles of trails, 124 campsites, the Yurok Village of Sumeg and a Native American plant garden.
The Rim Trail, within the park, is a two mile hike from Palmer’s Point to Agate Beach. The Rim Trail follows the coastal perimeter of the park and offers six short, but steep, side trails that lead to the shore for views of the rugged coastline and the Pacific Ocean. Gray Whales can be seen migrating off the coast from several of these side trails in the spring and fall.
While following the Rim Trail, we walked through stands of Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce, Red Alder and Pine. We also tasted huckleberries and salmon berries that grow along the trail. The meadows in the park are full of grasses, herbs and a variety of shrubs including azaleas and rhododendrons. The Rim Trails ends at the Agate Beach parking lot. The Agate Beach trail head is on the far end of the parking lot.
Sumeg Village is a restored Yurok Indian Village. The structures are made from coastal redwood planks. There are three family houses, three tribal dressing houses, a sweat house and a brush dance pit. We got down on our hands and knees to crawl through the holes that serve as entrances to the family houses. In the middle of the structures are square pits, dug into the earth.
Yearly, there is a festival held that is “a full day of cultural immersion” and that gives ” the opportunity to openly participate in traditional activities in order to gain a respect and appreciation for local Native Cultures and environmental preservation”. The days activities include a basket weaving demonstration, a Yurok botany walk, salmon luncheon, language immersion, traditional stick games and a traditional brush dance. For more information about this event go to nativespringsfoundation.org
The Native American Plant Garden is just east of Sumeg Village and includes plants that the Yurok grew for food, ceremonies, medicine and for basket making.
Ceremonial Rock is a 107 foot high outcropping that can be scaled via a steep rock staircase. This huge boulder is situated about a third of a mile from the coast. The Pacific Ocean is visible from the top of the rock.
I see and learn something new each time I visit Patrick’s Point State Park. It’s diverse surroundings would be hard to match.
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