Dry Lagoon is a 6.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Trinidad, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September.
Tucked away along the isolated coast of Del Norte County between the villages of Trinidad and Orick lies the largest lagoon system in the continental United States. The lagoons are shallow, landlocked bodies of water along the coast which are separated from the sea by coastal spits of land. Seawater only flows in and out of the lagoons when it breaks through the spits, generally during winter storm seasons. In the early 1900's, Dry Lagoon was drained by early farmers in an attempt to grow several types of crops, none of which proved economically viable. Today, Dry Lagoon supports a wetland environment that attracts migratory birds. Additionally, several dairy ranches were established along the shores of Stone Lagoon. At Stone Lagoon the park's visitor center on HWY 101 was formerly a local motel-restaurant called the "Little Red Hen." This business operated until 1979. Today the restaurant has been remodeled into a museum/bookstore and the park office. Picnic tables, restrooms, and boat launching are all available here. The coastal beaches within Humboldt Lagoons support healthy coastal dune vegetation. The edges of both Big and Stone lagoons contain brackish marshes; Dry Lagoon supports both freshwater and a brackish marsh. The landlocked Freshwater Lagoon is surrounded by a narrow strip of freshwater marshlands. In the park's forests are Coast Redwood, Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Fir, Red Alder and large stands of Willows. Humboldt Lagoons is part of the Pacific Flyway, hosting more than 200 bird species which include: bald eagles, peregrine falcons and threatened Western snowy plovers. Black bear, Roosevelt elk herds and bobcats can be seen throughout the park. Offshore, whales, dolphins and sea lions can be encountered. The lagoons are open for fishing and exploration by boat; primarily small power boats, canoes, kayaks, paddle-boards, and even shallow keeled sailboats.