Tolowa Dunes State Park features wetlands, an ancient dunes complex, ocean beach, wooded ridges, and the Smith River. The adjacent Lake Earl Wildlife Area is an undeveloped area which encompasses two connected lakes, marshland, woodland and sand dunes. Popular activities include hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, boating, hunting, camping and horseback riding.
This combination state park and wildlife area totals about 10,000 acres. There are some 20 miles of hiking and horseback trails, including several trails to the beach. In springtime and early summer, enjoy the spectacular displays of wildflowers.
For bird-watchers and other nature enthusiasts, this park has a lot to offer. You'll find quite a variety of plant and animal life. It's an important stop-over on the Pacific flyway, and over 250 species of birds have been spotted here, including the rare Canada Aleutian goose and the Peregrine falcon.
In addition, you'll find deer, coyotes and beavers. Harbor seals and sea lions are abundant, and gray whales can be spotted off the coast during winter and spring migration.
Lake Earl and the smaller Lake Talawa are freshwater lagoons containing salmon and trout. They're very shallow, so only small boats can be used. Motorboats are prohibited during waterfowl hunting season. Public boat access is available.
There are several parking areas. You'll find restrooms in the parking area off Pala Road. The Wildlife Center at 2591 Old Mill Road has wheelchair accessible restrooms, a self-guided nature trail and access to hiking and bicycle trails.
Tolowa Dunes State Park has six walk-in environmental (no water) campsites just a half mile from the beach off Kellogg Road. There are fire rings, stoves and chemical toilets. There's also a ride-in primitive horse camp.
Tolowa Dunes & Lake Earl are located in Northern California, 2 miles north of Crescent City.