Welcome to Fort Humboldt State Historic Park. Be sure to explore the park brochure to read about this park. 

About the Park

Fort Humboldt is a historic miliatry fort, situated on a bluff overlooking Humboldt Bay. This remote military post was established in 1853 and later became the headquarters for the Humboldt Military District.

The Humboldt Military District, included Forts Bragg and Wright in northern Mendocino County, extended north through Humboldt County to Fort Ter-Waw in Klamath and Camp Lincoln near present-day Crescent City.

It was during its first few years that Fort Humboldt was home to one of its most famous residents, the young Captain Ulysses S. Grant. After being decorated for bravery in the Mexican-American war, he was posted to several locations including Fort Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest. The isolation of Fort Humboldt did not appeal to Grant, and after serving as commanding officer of Company F for six months, resigned his commission.

Fort Humboldt was formally abandoned in 1870 and rapidly fell into decay. Today, only the hospital building remains of the original fourteen structures. It is now an historical museum dedicated to telling the story of the Fort and the Native American groups, including the Wiyot, Hoopa and Yurok of this region. In the 1980's the Surgeon’s Quarters was reconstructed and there are plans for its establishment as a period house museum. In 2001 an historic herb and vegetable garden was recreated adjacent to the Hospital.

The park also includes a Logging Musuem *as open air displays of historic 19th-mid 20th century logging equipment including the Dolbeer Steam Donkey; “Lucy,” the Bear Harbor Lumber Company’s Gypsy Locomotive #1; and the Elk River Mill and Lumber Company’s #1 “Falk” locomotive.

California State Parks North Coast Redwoods District’s Fort Humboldt guided tour relates an inclusive, complex and accurate account of Fort Humboldt's role in the 19th Century military occupation of Humboldt Bay in support of the area's burgeoning Euro-American colonization.

Like a large number of historic sites in California, Fort Humboldt shares a complex, and often disturbing history of California. Coupled with and fueled by California’s Gold Rush and Statehood, Fort Humboldt is a site that represents a direct physical remnant of 19th century colonialism.

Acts determined by both Federal and State policies lead to often deadly, life altering consequences for California Native Americans, who have called this area home since time immemorial. The influx of Euro-American immigration to and the military occupation of Humboldt Bay, along with its resource rich surrounding lands lured an ever-growing number of immigrants. As that population grew so to did competition for access to food resources, often resulting in Native people raiding supplies and livestock in order to adapt to the changing conditions.

Conflicts ensued prompting genocidal violence and forced removal of the Native people from their lands to Federal reservations. In addition to the loss of Native lands, State policies created an industry of indentured servitude, an unfree labor practice mirroring slavery.

This practice resulted in the widespread trafficking of Native people creating a cultural diaspora and dilution of this area's Indigenous civilizations. The State's endorsement of indenturing men, women and children knew no bounds throughout this period. All the while there was no legal recourse in place for an Indigenous person, nor consequences to those who committed crimes against humanity.

Sharing only the military piece of the Fort Humboldt history would not come close to capturing all that this place, and this historical period represents. This would lead to an unbalanced perspective of Fort Humboldt's role in this area's development. The inclusion of California Native Americans' lived experiences in this story acknowledges how this historic site represents a painful reminder of that history to their descendants. By sharing the complete story of Fort Humboldt, it is our hope that this will provide healing support to the ongoing cultural revitalization being undertaken by many of the area's Indigenous people and their communities.

Fort Humboldt sits on the ancestral lands of the Wiyot people. Please visit the Wiyot Tribe’s website to learn more. https://www.wiyot.us/

Guided Tours

Volunteer docent-lead guided tours provide an opportunity for visitors to connect with the deep and complex history that this Fort represents. 

Guided tours  for both the public and school groups are available year round, by request. Guided tours are limited to certain days of the month from November - April, and available weekly from May - October  Please use the below link to request a guided tour of the Fort or email forthumboldtfieldtrip@gmail.com

Guided Tour Request Form

For other events at this location, and parks throughout the North Coast Redwoods District, please visit the District's Facebook Page.


Coastal/temperate. Summer 50-60 degrees. Morning & evening fog is common. Winter 40-50 degrees with 35" of annual rainfall occurring mostly November-May.

A Walk Through History: Fort Humboldt’s Historic Signage

U.S. Sites Associated with Ulysses S. Grant