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Trinidad, California
A view of Trinidad from a trail on nearby Trinidad Head
A view of Trinidad from a trail on nearby Trinidad Head
Location in Humboldt County and the state of California
Location in Humboldt County and the state of California
Trinidad Coastline South; CCNM
Trinidad Coastline South; CCNM
Trinidad, California is located in Northern California
Trinidad, California
Trinidad, California
Location in Northern California
Trinidad, California is located in California
Trinidad, California
Trinidad, California
Location in California
Trinidad, California is located in the United States
Trinidad, California
Trinidad, California
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  California
County Humboldt
Incorporated November 7, 1870
 • Type Council-Manager Government
 • Total 0.67 sq mi (1.74 km2)
 • Land 0.48 sq mi (1.26 km2)
 • Water 0.19 sq mi (0.48 km2)  27.75%
174 ft (53 m)
 • Total 367
 • Estimate 
 • Density 731.96/sq mi (282.68/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 707
FIPS code 06-80448
GNIS feature IDs 1660029, 2412093
Reference #: 216

Trinidad (Spanish for "Trinity"; Yurok: Chuerey) is a seaside city in Humboldt County, located on the Pacific Ocean 8 miles (13 km) north of the Arcata-Eureka Airport and 15 miles (24 km) north of the college town of Arcata. Situated at an elevation of 174 feet (53 m) above its own North Coast harbor, Trinidad is one of California's smallest incorporated cities by population (367 residents in 2010, up from 311 residents in 2000). Trinidad is noted for its coastline with ten public beaches and offshore rocks, part of the California Coastal National Monument, of which Trinidad is a Gateway City. Fishing operations related to Trinidad Harbor are vital to both local tourism and commercial fishery interests in the region.


Trinidad School in 1913
Trinidad School built in early 1870s and used until 1914. From Boyle Collection, Humboldt State University Library

Before 1700 AD, Yurok people established the village of Tsurai on bluffs overlooking Trinidad Bay. The first European sighting of Trinidad Harbor was by the Manila galleon captain Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeño, who did not make landfall. The next visit was by Bruno de Heceta and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra of the Spanish Navy. Their two ships anchored in Trinidad Bay on June 9, 1775. On 11 June, which was Trinity Sunday, a formal act of possession was conducted. At the place where a wooden cross was erected stands a carved stone cross bearing the inscription. Carolus III Dei G. Hyspaniorum Rex., in the name of King Carlos of Spain. The area was named "la Santisima Trinidad".

Settlers arrived on the James R. Whitting in 1850 and founded the town, renamed Warnersville in honor of R.V. Warner, one of the settlers. The first post office opened in Trinidad in 1851.

Trinidad was the original county seat of the eponymous Trinity County from 1850 to 1851, and of Klamath County, one of California's original counties, from 1851 to 1854. At that time Trinidad became part of the newly created Humboldt County after its creation in 1853, with its county seat in Eureka. Klamath County was finally dissolved in 1874.

During the American Civil War from July to October 1863 California Volunteers fighting the local Indians in the Bald Hills War were stationed in the town, in Trinidad Camp to protect it and the coast road from Indian raids, until they were moved four miles north to Camp Gilmore. Trinidad was incorporated in 1870 as a City of the State of California, USA.

Trinidad resident Henry A. Boyes was a First Sergeant with the Fifth Marines in World War II; his service was described by Eugene Sledge in the book, With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa.


Trinidad has an oceanic climate and is relatively temperate compared with inland areas. Annual temperatures range from approximately 40 °F (4 °C) to 60 °F (16 °C). Winter months are rainy with the average amount being around 50 inches (130 cm), Although rain falls in all months of the year, it is less pronounced in the summertime. Spring and fall cold fronts often form advection fog which pushes the marine layer towards the coast. In summer, low pressure troughs produced by intense heating inland can create strong pressure gradients pulling the marine layer ashore. Summer fogs, moderate precipitation, and mild temperatures are characteristic of Northern California coastal forests ecoregion and are vital to the growth of local Coast Redwood. Protected stands of old growth redwoods can be visited 20 miles (32 km) north of Trinidad, in Redwood National and State Parks.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 104
1930 107
1940 94 −12.1%
1950 188 100.0%
1960 289 53.7%
1970 300 3.8%
1980 379 26.3%
1990 362 −4.5%
2000 311 −14.1%
2010 367 18.0%
2019 (est.) 355 −3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
Trinidad CA in 2008
Trinidad in 2008

2010 Census data

The 2010 United States Census reported that Trinidad had a population of 367. The population density was 547.1 people per square mile (211.2/km2). The racial makeup of Trinidad was 331 (90.2%) White, 2 (0.5%) African American, 15 (4.1%) Native American, 2 (0.5%) Asian, 1 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 1 (0.3%) from other races, and 15 (4.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11 persons (3.0%).

The Census reported that 366 people (99.7% of the population) lived in households, 1 (0.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized. There were 187 households, out of which 35 (18.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 64 (34.2%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 21 (11.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 3 (1.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 20 (10.7%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 3 (1.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 73 households (39.0%) were made up of individuals, and 28 (15.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.96. There were 88 families (47.1% of all households); the average family size was 2.64.

The population dispersal was 60 people (16.3%) under the age of 18, 25 people (6.8%) aged 18 to 24, 91 people (24.8%) aged 25 to 44, 120 people (32.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 71 people (19.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.1 males. There were 252 housing units at an average density of 375.7 per square mile (145.0/km2), of which 187 were occupied, of which 113 (60.4%) were owner-occupied, and 74 (39.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 4.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 12.9%. 212 people (57.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 154 people (42.0%) lived in rental housing units.

Points of interest

Trinidad State Beach, near Trinidad

State parks

Historic landmarks


  • Trinidad Pier
  • Strawberry Rock
  • Fred Telonicher Marine Laboratory, Humboldt State University
  • Trinidad City Cemetery includes Indian and settler graves and one unusual tombstone.
    Trinidad CA Murdered by Capitalism
    Edward Bernhardt Schnaubelt's tombstone in the Trinidad Cemetery
    Edward Bernhardt Schnaubelt was the brother of Rudolph Schnaubelt, accused of the Haymarket Riot bombing in Chicago, Illinois and the brother-in-law of Michael Schwab, sentenced to death for his role in the riot. All three Schnaubelt brothers left Chicago shortly after the riot. Edward Schnaubelt briefly panned for gold before settling in Trinidad, opening a sawmill and buying a tract of timber to supply his mill. After Schnaubelt's mill was taken over by his rivals, he re-entered the closed mill at night to reclaim his personal tools, and was shot to death by a nightwatchman hired to protect the property. His wife chose the phrase "Murdered by Capitalism" for his marker which inspired the 2004 book by John Ross.


  • Trinidad to Clam Beach Run (February)
  • Trinidad Fish Festival (June)
  • Tour of Trinidad bicycle rides, 100k, 45k,20k (September)
  • Blessing of the Fleet (November)

Notable residents

  • Michael John Fles - poet and musician
  • Victor Golla — linguist, expert on the indigenous languages of California and Oregon
  • Howard B. Keck - businessman
  • Tim McKay - environmental activist
  • Thomas Pynchon - author, lived in Trinidad during 1976–77
  • Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart – musician and painter
  • Al Vermeer – cartoonist, creator of comic strip Priscilla's Pop
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