Rainbow Ridge is located in Humboldt County in Northern California. Rainbow Ridge is ranked #78 on the California Prominence List
with 2,600ft of prominence. Nearby prominence peaks include King Peak, Brushy Mountain, and Black Lassic. This is in California Redwoods territory along the Eel River. This may be one of the most beautiful areas in the world. The drive through the redwoods is more spectacular than the views from the summit of Rainbow Ridge, so enjoy the drive and take your time. Cape Mendocino
is nearby and is worth the drive to the westernmost location in California.
Access to Rainbow Ridge is through Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
You have to drive through the fabulous Rockefeller Forest of Redwoods
to get to the trailhead. The hike is anticlimactic after driving through the redwoods.
adds "Rainbow Ridge can be easily hiked the same day as King Mtn, if you wish. To do this one drives through the hamlet of Honeydew. The trailhead has no signs whatsover, and can be easily bypassed. Reset your odometer at Honeydew Junction. The TH will be at 9.8 miles, on your left.
I left the Kings Pk TH, incidentally, at 9:33 a.m., and arrived 1 hour and 16 minutes later at the Rainbow Ridge TH."
adds "There is a second point on the ridge with a contour above 3600'. If you like to follow the guidelines of such groups as the COHP group, you will need to ascend this one as well. It is at UTM 10 404421E 4467385N (NAD27). It is about 1 1/2 miles to the NW of the described HP, and can be seen from the same. Interestingly, the 2 named peaks on the USGS topo map (Rainbow Pk & S Rainbow Pk) are not the two HP's! The NW summit is sharper sloped, and felt higher, but my GPS elevation was drifting > 50 ft and I could not confirm it. The route in between the 2 HP's is easy, a road with mild slopes until the last dash, but it still added nearly another hour to my trip (and that with a mountain bike), and made me feel downcast and annoyed, in part because I was already tired from the long drive the previous night and ascent of King Pk earlier that day, and in part because I felt quite exposed in this largely open terrain of dubious legal access."
The trailhead is located west of Highway 101 between Garberville and Fortuna. Highway 101 is a freeway along here so take the exit that is for Founder’s Grove, Rockefeller Forest, Honeydew, and Avenue of the Giants. There are signs all over the place here and you shouldn’t have a problem finding the exit. If you miss it, enjoy the drive and scenery, turn around and come back to this spot. The Eel River is right at this location also.
Head west on the little road into the Rockefeller Forest and to Honeydew. This road is paved but it soon becomes very narrow and crooked as it winds its way through the redwoods. Drive slowly and enjoy the view. 5.0 miles from Hwy 101 you will pass Albee Campground on your right and in another .3 mile you will emerge from the redwoods and the road gets better. Stay on the main road and pass the Bull Creek Pioneer Memorial Cemetery at 8.4 miles from Hwy 101. At this point the road starts climbing with several sharp switchbacks. Watch your speed and climb up to a ridgeline saddle at 11.9 miles from Hwy 101. Stop here and notice the gravel road going north with a brown gate. This is the trailhead and the elevation here is about 2,290 ft.
adds "The first part of the described route is quite legal. There are no posted signs at the Mattole Road gate, nor on the trail (dirt road) as it passes north just inside the state park border until it reaches Dennis Poulin's waypoint "RainA". At that point, however the public trail passes right into the park, and the route to Rainbow Ridge enters private land, which a sign destinctly states. There are several signs on route, usually high on a tree, which destinctly include "no trespassing". Nothing in these signs gave me the impression that they did not include the private road. The land is owned by the Pacific Lumber Company, as I recall. There are no closed gates or fences that you need to climb, however. The No Trespassing sign at the open gate before the first HP is right on the gate post, at a more reasonable height, and leaves one with no doubt that you are not allowed to be there.
Because of leveling for the towers at the first high point, the true HP is indistinct. I sensed that the land just outside the tower fences at the two entry gates at the N end of the fencing is probably highest, so one need not go into the tower compound itself."
See the Route Description for info on the trail and finding the summit of Rainbow Ridge.
No permits required. There are a few small signs placed by Pacific Lumber Company that indicate some of the property along the side of the road is off limits and trespassing is forbidden. There are none of these signs on the initial gate or anywhere on the road itself. Questions should be directed to the state park at the following link.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
or call the Visitors Center at 707-946-2263
There are lots of camping areas within a few miles of the trailhead, including areas in the Humboldt Redwoods State. Some of these campgrounds are closed in the winter, so call ahead to find out about access.
There really is plenty of room on the summit to pitch a tent if you are so inclined. It could be very windy on the summit at times.
Contact the Humboldt Redwoods State Park
for camping information or call 707-946-1818.
When to Climb
This mountain is accessible year round. Winter snow rarely accumulates to more than 6 inches. During the winter there could be lots of rain and high winds, so make good decisions when you chose to climb.
This mountain is accessible in all seasons
For current weather conditions in Eureka follow this link