The small town of Trinidad on California's North Coast provides numerous adventure opportunities, and one of the most accessible is the Trinidad Head Loop. This hike provides some of the best viewpoints anywhere along the Pacific Coast, and it is an excellent route for spotting gray whales as they migrate between Alaska and Baja for breeding. You'll also have the chance to see seals, dolphins, sea lions, and elephant seals. The main trail has numerous spur trails, and many have benches that are perfect for relaxing and enjoying the beautiful views. The hike loops around the head and takes roughly an hour to complete without stopping at the viewpoints.
In June of 1775, Spanish explorers landed in what is now Trinidad Harbor and claimed Trinidad Head as Spanish property. To illustrate their authority, they erected a large wooden cross on top of the head; you'll see the stone cross that commemorates the original as you start the last portion of the trail. From the cross, look southward and down to view the Trinidad Lighthouse. The lighthouse was commissioned in 1871 and is still currently active. A memorial to the lighthouse is located on the bluff just north of the harbor, and this replica contains the original lens and bell (modern alternatives have been added to the functioning lighthouse). Watch for rabbits, a variety seabirds, and native flowers such as blue lupin, coastal strawberry, and seaside daisy. The trailhead parking lot also serves Trinidad State Beach and Trinidad Pier, which are great additions to your adventure if you have the time.