Bull Creek Flats To Mattole Road

The best roadtrips involve as many stops as possible to take in the scenery, but ultimately you have to get somewhere. My goal on Monday was to reach Trinidad on the coast, 70 miles north of where I spent the night in Garberville. You can do it in a 90-minute shot driving straight up Highway 101, but where's the fun?

I took a 4-hour detour into the Lost Coast, a vast undeveloped section of the California coast with only a couple roads running through it. I took all these pictures from the drivers seat on the 22 mile drive from Founder's Grove to tiny Honeydew. Bull Creek Flats Road runs through Humboldt Redwoods SP before turning into Mattole Road.

Bull Creek Flats Road

There road leaves the redwoods behind for more open space and starts to ascend.


I was surprised to see snow again.


And more surprised when it actually started to snow as I kept going up, up, up...


I've never driven in snow before and I was a little bit alarmed to find myself doing it here. They always say you should check road conditions. I'm afraid if I had, I would not have come this way.
That would have been a shame; I think these are some of California's finest miles. The road is very rough in places; potholes, gravel, etc. In some stretches there is no road, just dirt.


Fortunately, it was late enough in the morning that the road had been plowed. And, also, it didn't last long. After a few miles, the skies cleared up and the road went on like this for several miles.

Ascending Matthole Road. This drive was epic. 20 of California's finest miles.

At last I reached Honeydew.


I got an ice cream bar at the general store


And kept going. Next stops: Petrolia, Mattole Beach, and the road to Ferndale.



grumblebunny said...

Dreamy. I've been itching all year to make just such a road trip, and this post might actually give me the impetus to do it.

rainymountain said...

As always your roadtrips are full of interest and new information.

Elizabeth said...

This trip sounds amazing! I stumbled across your blog while researching for a road trip I am planning from Santa Barbara to Seattle. Do you have any advice for driving Mattole Road? It is surely on the list now, and I would appreciate any tips! I look forward to your response or feel free to email me at elizabethbarkman at gmail dot com. Thanks!

chuck b. said...

Hi Elizabeth, sorry for the long delay responding to you. I started that drive from just north of Humboldt State Redwoods, heading south/west-ish to Honeydew, and then turned right toward Petrolia. There was some snow and ice going over the pass between Humboldt and Honeydew that I did not expect. The road throughout the lost coast is rough relative to most of what you find in California. Lots of potholes and unpaved stretches. Still, I did it all in a cheap rental car without incident. Everything between Honeydew, Petrolia and all the way to Ferndale is rolling pastureland and coast. Very pretty. Not much shoulder on the side to road if you want to pull over, but there's hardly anyone else so I just stopped in the road for pictures here and there. The sandwich I got at the general store in Petrolia was very good. Memorably so. Have a great trip!

JUNYA said...

First of all, I want to say sorry for my poor English. My name is Junya. I am Japanese, living in Tokyo. I found this page when I was looking for the driving course in the lost coast in CA. Your pictures are awesome! Now I am planning to go to California in this Feb. and drive around the lost coast. How do you think I can drive with your route in the season with a rental car? And your recommended sightseeing spot? It is so happy if I got your reply, thanks! JUNYA tabi@tabibagel.net