Directions: Go north on Highway 101 0.8 mile to Northcrest Drive, turn left, go 5.8 miles (Northcrest becomes Lake Earl Drive) to Lower Lake Road, turn left, go 5.3 miles to Pala Road, turn left, go 0.9 mile to locked gate and trailhead parking area. Walk through gate, take gravel road 0.5 mile, and up the hill to the fenced Yontoket cemetery. Stay on the main gravel road for 1.0 mile, take first trail on left, go 0.2 mile, a trail intersects on left that leads to two of the smaller ponds, follow main trail back to cemetery for a 3.0 mile loop hike. A system of loop trails visits all these ponds. For a longer 5.0 to 6.0 mile hike, stay on the original road for 2.0 mile, which travels next to three more ponds before trail loops back to the north.


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Tolowa Dunes State Park
Description: The numerous small ponds and seasonal wetlands nestled in this coastal dune system makes Tolowa Dunes State Park unique to the state of California. Six ponds vary in size from one to five acres, and their bright reflective surfaces attract a diversity of migrating ducks and wetland birds in the early fall. Many species winter over until early spring. Several great spots invite quiet viewing between the trees. In winter, watch for Mallard and Ring-neck ducks, followed later by Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser. Waterfowl hunting is allowed on the ponds seasonally.
north ponds map

Points and Places of Interest:

Yontoket is considered by the Tolowa Tribe as their “Center of the Universe.” The small valley to the west of Yontoket Cemetery was a major village site for the tribe. It was here during the tribe’s annual winter solstice celebration in 1853 that local vigilantes attacked and massacred hundreds of Tolowa. During the next decade, more massacres and forced relocation decimated the tribe. Fortunately, the Tolowa culture survived and with over one thousand tribal members contribute vital economic, cultural, and social strength to the county.

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