Humboldt County, California facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
County of Humboldt
Aerial view of Humboldt Bay
Location in the state of California
|Region||California North Coast|
|Incorporated||May 12, 1853|
|Named for||Humboldt Bay, which was named after Alexander von Humboldt|
|• Total||4,052 sq mi (10,490 km2)|
|• Land||3,568 sq mi (9,240 km2)|
|• Water||484 sq mi (1,250 km2)|
|Highest elevation||6,956 ft (2,120 m)|
|• Density||38/sq mi (15/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)|
|Area codes||707, 530|
Humboldt County is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 136,463. The county seat is Eureka.
Humboldt County comprises the Eureka–Arcata–Fortuna, California Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is located on the far North Coast, about 270 miles (435 km) north of San Francisco.
Its primary population centers of Eureka, the site of College of the Redwoods main campus, and the smaller college town of Arcata, site of California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt, are located adjacent to Humboldt Bay, California's second largest natural bay. Area cities and towns are known for hundreds of ornate examples of Victorian architecture.
Humboldt County is a densely forested mountainous and rural county with about 110 miles (177 km) of coastline (more than any other county in the state), situated along the Pacific coast in Northern California's rugged Coast (Mountain) Ranges. With nearly 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) of combined public and private forest in production, Humboldt County alone produces twenty percent of total volume and thirty percent of the total value of all forest products produced in California. The county contains over forty percent of all remaining old growth Coast Redwood forests, the vast majority of which is protected or strictly conserved within dozens of national, state, and local forests and parks, totaling approximately 680,000 acres (1,060 sq mi).
- Notable people
The original inhabitants of the area now known as Humboldt County include the Wiyot, Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, Chilula, Whilkut, and the Eel River Athapaskan peoples, including the Wailaki, Mattole and Nongatl. Andrés de Urdaneta found the coast near Cape Mendocino then followed the coast south to Acapulco in 1565. Spanish traders made unintended visits to California with the Manila Galleons on their return trips from the Philippines beginning in 1565. Humboldt County was formed in 1853 from parts of Trinity County. The first recorded entry by people of European origin was a landing by the Spanish in 1775 in Trinidad.
The first recorded entry of Humboldt Bay by non-natives was an 1806 visit from a sea otter hunting party from Sitka employed by the Russian American Company. The hunting party included Captain Jonathan Winship,an American, and some Aleut hunters. The bay was not visited again by people of European origin until 1849 when Josiah Gregg's party visited. In 1850, Douglas Ottinger and Hans Buhne entered the bay, naming it Humboldt in honor of the great naturalist and world explorer, Alexander von Humboldt, and the name was later applied to the county as a whole.
The area around Humboldt Bay was once solely inhabited by the Wiyot Indian tribe. One of the largest Wiyot villages, Tolowot, was located on Indian Island in Humboldt Bay. Founded around 900 BC, it contains a shell midden 6 acres (2.4 ha) in size and 14 feet (4.3 m) deep. It was the site of the February 26, 1860 massacre of the Wiyot people that was recorded by Bret Harte, then living in Union, now called Arcata. Between 60 and 200 Wiyot men, women, and children were murdered that night. Tolowot is now a restricted site and a National Historic Landmark.
State historic landmarks in Humboldt County include Arcata and Mad River Railroad, California's First Drilled Oil Wells in Petrolia, Camp Curtis, Centerville Beach Cross, the City of Eureka, the town of Ferndale, Fort Humboldt, Humboldt Harbor Historical District, the Jacoby Building, The Old Arrow Tree, Old Indian Village of Tsurai, the Town of Trinidad, and Trinidad Head.
On February 5 and 6, 1885, Eureka's entire Chinese population of 300 men and 20 women were expelled after a gunfight between rival Chinese gangs (tongs) resulted in the wounding of a 12-year-old boy and the death of 56-year-old David Kendall, a Eureka City Councilman. After the shooting, an angry mob of 600 Eureka residents met and informed the Chinese that they were no longer wanted in Eureka and would be hanged if they were to stay in town longer than 3 p.m. the next day. They were put on two steamships and shipped to San Francisco. No-one was killed in the expulsion. Another Chinese expulsion occurred during 1906 in a cannery on the Eel River, in which 23 Chinese cannery workers were expelled after objections to their presence. However, some Chinese remained in the Orleans area, where some white landowners sheltered and purchased food for the Chinese mineworkers until after racial tension passed. Chinese did not return to the coastal cities until the 1950s.
The coastal zone of the county experiences very wet, cool winters and dry, mild foggy summers. In the winter, temperatures range from highs of 40–59 °F (4–15 °C) to lows of 32–49 °F (0–9 °C). Coastal summers are cool to mild, with average highs of 60–69 °F (16–21 °C) and frequent fogs. Coastal summer temperatures range from highs of 64–70 °F (18–21 °C) to lows of 46–55 °F (8–13 °C). In the populated areas and cities near the coast, the highest temperatures tend to occur at locations just a few miles inland from Eureka and Arcata, in towns like Fortuna, Rio Dell, and smaller unincorporated communities located somewhat further away from Humboldt Bay. In these locations summer highs are 70–75 °F (21–24 °C). The coastal zone experiences a number of frosty nights in winter and early spring, though snowfall and hard freezes are rare. Coastal winters are cool and wet. Winter rainstorms are frequent, with averages from 30 inches (760 mm) to 100 inches (2,500 mm) a year varying with elevation.
Inland areas of the county also experience wet, cool winters. Snowfall is common at elevations over 3,000 ft (910 m) throughout the winter months. Summer displays the sharpest difference between the coastal and inland climates. Inland regions of Humboldt County experience highs of 80–99 °F (27–37 °C) depending on the elevation and distance from the ocean. Occasional summer highs of 100 °F (38 °C) are common in eastern and southern parts of the county including Orleans, Hoopa, Willow Creek, Garberville, Honeydew, and inland river valleys.
|Location||Month||Temp (°F)||Temp (°C)||Month||Temp (°F)||Temp (°C)|
Historically, Humboldt County and the entire far north coast have had many earthquakes over 6.0 magnitude.
The 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquakes were a series of three major earthquakes that occurred off the coast of Cape Mendocino, California on April 25 and 26, 1992, the largest being a 7.2. Ninety-five people were injured and property in the county sustained considerable damage.
In 2010 a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck offshore, 33 mi. (53 km) west of Eureka, resulting in only minor injuries and some structural damage to houses and utilities, and no fatalities reported.
The town of Arcata is built on top of an accretionary wedge. This was formed by the subduction of the Gorda plate underneath the North American plate.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,052 square miles (10,490 km2), of which 3,568 square miles (9,240 km2) is land and 484 square miles (1,250 km2) (12.0%) is water.
Located inside Humboldt County is Cape Mendocino, the westernmost point in California (longitude 124 degrees, 24 minutes, 30 seconds).
Humboldt County contains a diversity of plant and animal species, with significant forest and coastal habitats. In coastal areas there are extensive amounts of redwood forests. A prominent understory shrub is the toyon, whose northern range limit is in Humboldt County.
Humboldt Bay, the only deep water port between San Francisco and Coos Bay, Oregon, is located on the coast at the midpoint of the county.
Humboldt County's major rivers include (in order of flow-cubic meters per second-from largest to smallest):
The smaller rivers include: Redwood Creek, significant due to amount of its flow; the Van Duzen; the Eel River syncline group composed of the South Fork, the North Fork, and the Salt River; the Mattole, Salmon, Elk, Bear, and Little rivers.
National protected areas
- King Range National Conservation Area and The Lost Coast – Bureau of Land Management
- Samoa Dunes Recreation Area – Bureau of Land Management
- Headwaters Forest Reserve – Bureau of Land Management
- Six Rivers National Forest – U.S. Forest Service
- Trinity National Forest – U.S. Forest Service
- Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge – Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
State protected areas
- Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
- Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park
- Humboldt Lagoons State Park
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park
- Patrick's Point State Park
- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
- Richardson Grove State Park
- Sinkyone Wilderness State Park
- Patrick's Point State Park
- Moonstone Beach
- Indian Beach
- Benbow Lake State Recreation Area
- Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area
- Azalea State Reserve
- John B. Dewitt Redwoods State Reserve
- A. W. Way
- Big Lagoon County Park
- Centerville Beach
- Clam Beach
- Crab Park
- Freshwater County Park
- Hammond Trail
- Luffenholtz Beach
- Mad River, California
- Margarite Lockwood
- Moonstone Beach
- Van Duzen Pamplin Grove
As of the 2000 census, the population of Humboldt County was 126,518. As of that census, there were 51,238 households in Humboldt County, and the population density was 35 people per square mile (14/km2). By 2006, the population was projected to have increased to 131,361 by the California Department of Finance. There were 55,912 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 84.7% White, 0.9% Black or African American, 5.7% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.5% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. In 2017, 11.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino according to the United States Census Bureau. 13.3% were of German, 10.7% Irish, 10.3% English, 7.4% American and 5.7% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 92.1% spoke English and 4.6% spoke Spanish as their first language.
There were 51,238 households, out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.2% under the age of 18, 12.4% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,226, and the median income for a family was $39,370. Males had a median income of $32,210 versus $23,942 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,203. About 12.9% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
|U.S. Decennial Census
The 2010 United States Census reported that Humboldt County had a population of 134,623. The racial makeup of Humboldt County was 109,920 (81.7%) White, 1,505 (1.1%) African American, 7,726 (5.7%) Native American, 2,944 (2.2%) Asian, 352 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 5,003 (3.7%) from other races, and 7,173 (5.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13,211 persons (9.8%).
|Population reported at 2010 United States Census|
(of any race)
(of any race)
(of any race)
(of any race)
|All others not CDPs (combined)||26,145||20,082||185||3,807||292||41||482||1,256||1,750|
|Population, race, and income|
|Black or African American||1,590||1.2%|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||7,718||5.8%|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander||452||0.3%|
|Some other race||3,959||3.0%|
|Two or more races||6,317||4.7%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||12,771||9.6%|
|Per capita income||$24,209|
|Median household income||$40,376|
|Median family income||$52,317|
Places by population, race, and income
|Places by population and race|
||Asian||Black or African
||Hispanic or Latino
(of any race)
|Places by population and income|
|Place||Type||Population||Per capita income||Median household income||Median family income|
|Bayview (Humboldt County)||CDP||2,818||$21,146||$31,828||$37,604|
Humboldt County children are at greater risk of dangerously elevated blood lead levels than Flint, Michigan's - and almost double that of any other California county measured. The cases are concentrated in Eureka's Old Town and downtown areas.
Humboldt County is known for its impressive redwood trees, and many acres of private redwood timberland make Humboldt the top timber producer in California. The lush river bottoms adjacent to the ocean are renowned for producing rich, high-quality dairy products. Somewhat more inland the warmer valleys have historically produced abundant apples and other fruit. More recently vineyards have been planted in the Trinity, Klamath, Mattole and upper Eel river valleys.
Humboldt County is known for its quality family operated dairy farms. The Humboldt Creamery, a significant producer of high grade ice cream and other dairy products, still operates from the original headquarters located at Fernbridge adjacent to the Eel River.
- The Sequoia Park Zoo is the oldest zoo in California operating on a 7 acres (2.8 ha) facility operated by the City of Eureka in 60 acres (24 ha) Sequoia Park.
- The Clarke Historical Museum in Eureka, displays North Coast regional and cultural history in the repurposed Historic Register Bank of Eureka building.
- The Morris Graves Museum of Art conserves and displays the works of local artists in a restored Carnegie Library building.
- The Ferndale Repertory Theatre is the county's oldest theater company; it has been in operation since 1972 at the Hart Theater building in Ferndale.
- See also the List of museums in the North Coast (California).
- U.S. Route 101
- State Route 36
- State Route 96
- State Route 169
- State Route 200
- State Route 211
- State Route 254 - Avenue of the Giants
- State Route 255
- State Route 271
- State Route 283
- State Route 299
- Humboldt Transit Authority operates two fixed route transit bus systems:
- Redwood Transit System provides intercity service to and within communities between Trinidad and Garberville, including Manila, King Salmon, Field's Landing, Loleta, Fernbridge and Fortuna. HTA also offers service between McKinleyville or Arcata and Willow Creek and an express bus between Arcata and College of the Redwoods when classes are in session.
- Eureka Transit Service, operated in the City of Eureka, provides local service on four scheduled routes (one hour headway) in Eureka and its adjacent unincorporated communities. Connections can be made to the Redwood Transit System at several places in Eureka.
- Arcata and Mad River Transit System, operated by the City of Arcata with funding from Cal Poly Humboldt. A&MRTS provides fixed route local bus service on two scheduled routes (one hour headway) in Arcata and an additional route between the Valley West Neighborhood and the university when classes are in session.
- The city of Blue Lake and the Blue Lake Rancheria operates the Blue Lake Rancheria Transit Authority. This provides fixed route intercity transit bus service (one hour headway) between Arcata and the Blue Lake Rancheria Indian Reservation and casino and local service within the city of Blue Lake.
- Del Norte County's Redwood Coast Transit operates fixed route intercity transit bus service between Arcata and Crescent City or Smith River.
- Amtrak Thruway bus has stops in many towns in the region, including Eureka, Arcata, and Fortuna. These stops are not managed by Amtrak and therefore have no services beyond serving passengers. Full service is only provided at the train station in Martinez, near San Francisco.
Arcata-Eureka Airport is located in McKinleyville (north of Arcata). Commercial flights are available. Other general aviation airports are located at Dinsmore, Garberville, Kneeland, Murray Field (Eureka), Samoa Field and Rohnerville (Fortuna).
Port of Humboldt Bay is on Humboldt Bay, California's second largest natural bay.
|Apple Harvest Festival||October||Fortuna|
|Arcata Oyster Festival||June||Arcata Plaza|
|Avenue of The Giants Marathon||May||Southern Humboldt|
|Blues by the Bay||July||Eureka|
|Brew at the Zoo||May||Eureka|
|College of the Redwoods Wood Fair||June||Eureka|
|Fourth of July Festival||July 4||Old Town Eureka|
|Godwit Days (Birding festival)||April||Arcata|
|Humboldt Arts Festival||May||Arcata/Blue Lake|
|Humboldt County Fair||August||Ferndale|
|Humboldt Film Festival||March & April||Arcata|
|Humboldt Juggling Festival||April/May||Arcata (HSU)|
|Humboldt Redwoods Marathon||October||Southern Humboldt|
|North Country Fair||September||Arcata|
|Organic Planet Festival||September||Eureka|
|Redwood Acres Fair||June||Eureka|
|Redwood Coast Jazz Festival||March||Eureka|
|Redwood Run||June||Southern Humboldt|
|Rhododendron Festival and Parade||April||Eureka|
|Roll on the Mattole||Summer||Mattole Grange|
|Summer Arts and Music Festival||June||Benbow|
|Swauger's Station Day||July||Loleta|
|Tour of Loleta (by Bicycle)||July||Loleta|
|Tour of the Unknown Coast (by Bicycle)||May||Southern Humboldt|
|Trinidad Fish Festival||June||Trinidad|
|Trinidad to Clam Beach Run||February||Trinidad|
|Truckers Christmas Parade||December||Eureka|
|Two Rivers Harvest Festival||October||Willow Creek|
|World-Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race||May||Arcata to Ferndale|
|Redwood Coast Up in Smoke BBQ Competition||June||Blue Lake||http://www.clarkemuseum.org/|
- Big Lagoon
- Fields Landing
- Humboldt Hill
- Myers Flat
- Pine Hills
- Shelter Cove
- Willow Creek
Other unincorporated communities
- Cooks Valley
- Elk River
- Fort Seward
- Freshwater Corners
- King Salmon
- Maple Creek
- Patricks Point
- Pine Hill
- Port Kenyon
- Ridgewood Heights
- Riverside Park
- Sunny Brae
Humboldt County has eight Indian reservations lying within its borders. Only four other counties in the United States have more: San Diego County, California; Sandoval County, New Mexico; Riverside County, California; and Mendocino County, California. The Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation is the largest in the state of California, a state that generally has very small reservations (although very numerous) relative to those in other states.
- Big Lagoon Rancheria
- Blue Lake Rancheria
- Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation
- Karuk Indian Reservation (partly in Siskiyou County)
- Rohnerville Rancheria
- Table Bluff Rancheria
- Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria
- Yurok Indian Reservation (partly in Del Norte County)
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Humboldt County.
† county seat
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2010 Census)|
|10||Hoopa Valley Reservation||AIAN||3,041|
|15||Yurok Reservation (partially in Del Norte County)||AIAN||1,238|
|38||Table Bluff Reservation||AIAN||103|
|41||Blue Lake Rancheria||AIAN||58|
|43||Big Lagoon Rancheria||AIAN||17|
Humboldt County is known for its impressive redwood trees, and many acres of private redwood timberland make Humboldt the top timber producer in California. The lush river bottoms adjacent to the ocean are for producing rich, high-quality dairy products. Somewhat further inland, the warmer valleys have historically produced abundant apples and other fruit. More recently vineyards have been planted in the Trinity, Klamath, Mattole and upper Eel river.
Locally based companies
|Company||Location||Years Operated||Industry||Highlights||Current Status|
|Kokatat||Arcata||since 1971||watersports||outfits the US Coast Guard and US watersports teams for 1992 and 1996 Olympics||locally owned|
|Cypress Grove Chevre||Arcata||since 1983||cheese||bought by Emmi AG; still in Arcata|
|Humboldt Creamery||Fortuna||since 1929||dairy cooperative||bought by Foster Farms Dairy; still in Fortuna|
|Lost Coast Brewery||Eureka||since 1989||brewery||locally owned|
|Wing Inflatables||Arcata||since 1991||watercraft||used by Navy SEALs||locally owned|
|C. Crane Company||Fortuna||since 1976||electronics retailer||locally owned|
|Wildwood Manufacturing||Arcata||since 1970s||guitars||locally owned|
|Wildwood Banjos||Arcata||1973–2008||banjos||moved to Bend, Oregon, and closed in 2018|
|Moonstone Guitars||Eureka||since 1974||guitars||locally owned|
|Coast Seafood||Eureka||since 1941||seafood||bought by Pacific Seafood; still in Eureka|
|Holly Yashi||Arcata||since 1981||jewelry||locally owned|
|Eel River Brewing Company||Fortuna||since 1994||brewery||locally owned|
|Six Rivers Brewery||McKinleyville||since 1996||brewery||locally owned|
|Mad River Brewing||Blue Lake||since 1989||brewery||locally owned|
|Humboldt Brewing Company||Arcata||1987-2005, 2021-||brewery||locally owned, bought and moved, then returned in 2021|
|The Sun Valley Group||Arcata||since 1969||flowers||locally owned|
|Yakima Racks||Arcata||1979–2005||roof racks||outfitted race vehicles for 1984 Summer Olympics||bought out and moved to Portland, Oregon|
|Restoration Hardware||Eureka||1979–2010||home furnishings||moved to Corte Madera, California|
|Moonstone Mountaineering||Arcata||1977–2006||custom outdoor gear||bought out and closed by Columbia Sportswear in 2006|
|Fire and Light Originals||Arcata||1995–2019||glassware||closed in 2019|
|Loleta Cheese Factory||Loleta||1982–2019||cheese||closed in 2019|
|Pacific Lumber Company||Scotia||1863–2007||logging||declared bankruptcy and bought by Mendocino Redwood Company|
|Arcata Transit Authority||Arcata||1971–?||bikes and outdoor gear||closed and succeeded by Kokatat|
|Blue Puma||Arcata||1971–1986||outdoor gear||early user of Gore-Tex||sued by Puma and reorganized to become Kokatat|
|Downhome||Arcata||1978–1980||custom sleeping bags||moved to Deadwood, Oregon, and closed c. 1993|
Humboldt County is known for its quality family-operated dairy farms. The Humboldt Creamery, a significant producer of high-grade ice cream and other dairy products, still operates from the original headquarters located at Fernbridge adjacent to the Eel River.
The List of schools in Humboldt County, California shows the many school districts, including charter and private schools, at the elementary and high school level. Post-secondary education is offered locally at the College of the Redwoods and California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt (Cal Poly Humboldt). Blue Lake's Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre offers accredited three-year Masters of Fine Arts in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre.
- Sara Bareilles
- Lloyd Bridges
- Hobart Brown
- Wesley Chesbro
- David Cobb
- Alexander Cockburn
- Trevor Dunn
- Guy Fieri
- Michael John Fles
- Brendan Fraser
- Robert A. Gearheart
- James Gillett
- Ulysses S. Grant
- Steven Hackett
- Bret Harte
- Dan Hauser
- El Hefe
- Julia Butterfly Hill
- Christa Johnson
- Howard B. Keck
- Seth Kinman
- Naomi Lang
- Rey Maualuga
- Pamela McGee
- Tim McKay
- Mike Patton
- Maurice Purify
- Nate Quarry
- Eric Rofes
- Stephen W. Shaw
- Steve Sillett
- Trey Spruance
- Greg Stafford
- Robert M. Viale
- Don Van Vliet
- Stephen Girard Whipple
- Ned Yost
|Mary the Jewess|