Recent News

The Renaming of Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park

On September 30, 2021, the California State Park and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to change the name of Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park.

The name “Sue-meg” has been used by Yurok people to describe the area where the park is now located since time immemorial. In 1851, Irish homesteader Patrick Beegan recorded a preemption claim on the westernmost promontory of the peninsula and built a small cabin there. Beegen was implicated in the murder of a Native American boy in 1854, then escaped to the Bald Hills, east of present-day Orick.  In 1864, he led a militia to a Native American village where numerous Indigenous people were massacred. Although Beegen lived in the Sue-meg area for less than three years, other homesteaders came to call the area “Patrick’s Ranch” or “Patrick’s Point”.

When the State of California purchased the site in 1930 and brought it into the State Parks system, they adopted the name already widely in use at the time, Patrick’s Point. In spite of that, Yurok people continued to call the area by its original place name, Sue-meg.  In 1990, the Yurok community worked with California State Parks to build a recreated Yurok village within the park, and gave the village the name “Sumêg” to honor the ancient name associated with the place.  

In January of 2021, the Yurok Tribe formally requested that the California State Park and Recreation Commission change the name of Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park.

The changing of the name of Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park is the first park to have its name changed as part of the Reexamining Our Past Initiative. This larger project within California state government is working to identify and redress discriminatory names of features attached to the state parks and transportation systems.

“This genuinely historic decision represents a turning point in the relationship between tribes and the state. We asked the Commission to alter the name of the park because we have an obligation to ensure the next generation inherits a more just world,” said Joseph L. James, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe.

“California State Parks applauds the California State Park and Recreation Commission’s approval to rename Patrick’s Point State Park to Sue-meg State Park. This is the first park name change as part of the state’s Reexamining Our Past Initiative and is a momentous step to heal relationships with Native Americans in working together in recognition and honor of indigenous cultural and linguistic relationships.” said Armando Quintero, Director of California State Parks.



Cultural History 

Native People

Yurok people have lived in and around Sue-meg State Park for generations. The temperate climate and abundant wildlife of the North Coast promoted a culturally rich way of life that continues today. Yurok people built villages of redwood planks along the coast and major waterways. Traveling by dugout canoe, they fished for salmon. They also hunted elk, deer, and other small game. Berries, roots, and many traditional plants are still harvested by Yuroks at Sue-meg, and acorns are gathered from hillside areas east of the park.

In 1850, when gold was found in California's interior, the Yurok people were overwhelmed by an influx of settlers. Conflict over the land took many forms. The native people were hunted down, and those who survived the attacks were forced onto reservations. Newly introduced diseases further decimated their numbers.

Today, the Yurok have made a remarkable recovery. As the most populous tribe in California, over 6,000 Yurok live in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Tribal members are building a future by revitalizing their ancestral language and traditions based on the customs of the past.

Europeans and Americans

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and Sir Francis Drake sailed along the coast of what is now Humboldt County as early as the 16th century, but it was a Spanish vessel captained by Bruno de Hezeta that braved the unpredictable winds and rocky shoreline to land in Trinidad Bay in 1775. The fur trade had come to the Trinidad Bay region by June 1801. Captain Jonathon Winship arranged with Governor Alexandr Baronov of Sitka, Alaska, to take 100 native people from the Aleutian Islands to California on a sea-otter hunting expedition.

With the discovery of gold in northern California’s Trinity River in the mid-1800s, the area experienced a rush of miners and would-be entrepreneurs. Those who came seeking adventure and wealth through trading and trapping gave way to gold miners and settlers.


The Park

The California State Park Commission purchased Sue-meg in 1929 after approval of the 1928 Park Bond. Additional land was acquired over several years, bringing the park’s total to 640 acres. From the beginning, the park was identified as a potential site of a representative traditional Indian village that would portray the rich culture of the northwest coast.



Science & Nature


The southern part of the park near Palmer’s Point is an excellent place to explore some of the richest and most diverse tide pools in the world. The area has no winter ice, so the mild climate allows an upwelling of nutrient-rich water from deep in the ocean. This and abundant coastal fog keeps the pools cool in the summer. Even so, these tide pools are harsh habitats, with ever-changing weather conditions. Tide pool plants and animals have adapted to be able to live in fresh water (in the form of rain), in addition to salt water. 

 A few of the creatures you might see are purple shore crabs, limpets, ochre stars, and orange cup coral (in the high and mid-intertidal zones) and wine plum dorid, northern red anemone, and sea clown nudibranch (in the low intertidal zone, which is rarely exposed). Ask at the visitor center for a copy of the park’s “Get in the Zone! Life in the Intertidal Zones of Sue-meg State Park” brochure to help with identification. Remember, examine, but please do not pick up or disturb these animals! Even moving a rock can kill or seriously injure a tide pool resident.


Though the park is in the heart of California’s coast redwood country, there are  very few redwoods at Sue-meg. The principal trees are Sitka spruce, red alder, Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and shore pine (also known as “lodgepole pine”). Spring and summer wildflowers include salal, Douglas iris, fairy bells, trillium, skunk cabbage, and rhododendron. Thimbleberries, salmonberries, and huckleberries grow along meadow edges. Fall and early winter bring out a wide variety of mushrooms, but please don’t pick them—as they provide habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife.

From the 1870s to the 1920s, the forest was cleared and burned to plant apple orchards and hay and potato crops. Sheep and cattle grazed here.

Now the meadows in the park closely resemble the land prior to its acquisition as a state park in 1929. Maintained by mowing and removal of sprouting trees, they have a variety of herbs, grasses, and shrubs. They produce colorful wildflower displays and provide scenic views of the shoreline and rock outcrops.

For more information about plants at Sue-meg, visit the native plant garden. It’s a quarter mile walk from the visitor center.


The annual spring and fall migration of gray whales along the west coast of North America is one of the world’s outstanding wildlife spectacles. In this park, Wedding Rock, Sue-meg, and Palmer’s Point are good places to get a glimpse of the procession.

Up to 50 feet long and 45 tons each, gray whales migrate up to 12,000 miles each year, from Alaska to Baja California and back—the longest known annual migration of any mammal. They travel in small groups, 70 to 80 miles a day. They stay close to the shoreline for protection from predators such as killer whales. Spouts of vaporized water up to 12 feet high can be seen as the whales surface every three to five minutes to breathe. Spring and fall are the best times to see them, but a few whales summer near Sue-meg as well. Sue-meg is also a popular spot for viewing seals and sea lions

Black bear cub

Black bears roam in the woods, so keep food and scented items well wrapped and safely locked up in your vehicle. As to birds, binoculars will help you spy red crossbills and winter wrens in the forest and common murres on the sea rocks, among many other species. Common murres are diving birds that winter at sea and breed in large colonies on tall rocks offshore

Winter Wren at Sue-meg


Agate Beach is a gently curving strip of sand that can be reached by a short, steep trail from the Agate Beach parking lot. Semi-precious agates, for which the beach is named, are polished by the constant movement of sand and water. Made of silica, agates are generally formed inside cavities caused by bubbles in volcanic rock. When the volcanic rock erodes, agates pop into streams and are eventually washed into the ocean and onto beaches. 

Collecting stones at Agate Beach is allowed, but no more than one armload is permitted per person.

Sue-meg State Park is one of the Geologic gems of California State Parks

Research in the Park

North Coast state parks, including Sue-meg, are part of a study of the mysterious white-footed vole (Arborimus albipes). In 2014, researchers roamed the park with scent dogs trained to recognize the vole’s scat. The species lives in old-growth forests, but little is known about its range, population, and characteristics. “It’s so weird that there is a species in the United States that we know nothing about,” one researcher told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Save the Redwoods League provides funding for this vole study and many other research projects in redwood forests.



To go deeper, check out these books: 

Lorentzen, Bob and Richard Nichols, Hiking the California Coastal Trail, Volume One: Oregon to Monterey, Coastwalk, 2002.

McKinney, John, Day Hiker’s Guide to California Parks, The Trailmaster, 2007.



Rules & Notifications

  • Dogs are permitted only in the campground and day-use areas, not on the trails or on the beach. They must be kept in an enclosed vehicle or tent at night, and on a controlled six-foot leash during the day.
  •  Swimming is not advised. The ocean off Sue-meg State Park is cold and dangerous. Please keep an eye on small children, as there are unexpected holes in the underwater sand and the undertow can be very strong. Occasional "sleeper" waves appear unexpectedly and can be much larger than typical waves.
  • Please do not pick wildflowers or mushrooms.
  • Don’t Feed the Wildlife and Keep Your Camp Crumb Clean!
  • Lock food in a hard-topped car or in a car trunk. Campsite cupboards and ice chests are not bear proof. Store food in airtight containers, or wrap it carefully.
  • Campsite parking is limited to only two licensed vehicles per campsite. Trailers and RVs are considered vehicles for campsite parking occupancy. Extra-vehicle fees will be charged for each additional motor vehicle beyond the first, which must be parked in designated areas.