NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Rivers of Northern California

Mattole River

Description: The Mattole is known as a steelhead stream. For much of its length it parallels Mattole Road from the hamlet of Honeydew to Petrolia near which it enters into the ocean. Like all salmon/steelhead streams it is subject to rules and conditions that fluctuated constantly so always check the DFG hotline at 707-442-4502 or the web at www.dfg.ca.gov. Access is often restricted by private property so check with the Honeydew Store or the Petrolia Store for advice, and buy something while you're at it. This area is the northern gateway to The Lost Coast (see our write-up). If you're coming from Hwy. 101 or Humboldt State Park you might well fill your tank in Honeydew, unless you need diesel. None to be had here.

Camping: Check our Lost Coast write-up. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is to the east, and Albee Creek campground sits on Mattole Road. There is a tiny, 5 site primitive camp (Honeydew Creek) just outside Honeydew. A.W. Way County Park is nearby, halfway between Honeydew and Petrolia. Near Petrolia, Mattole Campground has 14 sites just over some dunes from the ocean and a nice walking beach leading to inactive Punta Gorda Light Station. This is the Lost Coast, so everything is remote and kind of quiet.

Directions: From the east, take Hwy. 101 to Weott near the main entrance to Humboldt Redwoods State Park and look for signs for Albee Creek Campground. It sits on Mattole Road. Take Mattole Road west to Petrolia, parallel to the river. Access the river where the nice folks at Honeydew Store suggested. Before reaching Petrolia, turn left on the well-marked Lighthouse Road to access Mattole Campground and the ocean.

Information: Mattole Campground: BLM. 707-825-2300. A.W. Way County Park. 707-445-7651.

Services/supplies: Honeydew Store. 707-629-3310. Petrolia Store. 707-629-3455. Eureka Fly Shop. 707-444-2000. Guide: Frank Humphrey, Redway. 707-923-3643.

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