360° VR Panoramas of the Northern California Coast, Coast Ranges, and Redwood Highway
The Eel River Plain
Humboldt County, California

The Eel River has filled in a broad valley mouth where it reaches the Pacific. This area, a triangle about five miles per side, consists of natural wetlands and expansive dairy fields, plus the Eel River and its estuary. Loleta is a tiny dairy town on the north side, Ferndale a much larger one on the south edge. Fortuna is a lumber town, located where the Eel River valley widens out into the plain.

The famous Fernbridge crosses the Eel River to link Ferndale to the highway and former railway on the east bank. This remarkable bridge, built in 1911, has withstood floods and earthquakes. The "1000-year flood" of December 1964 left it unscathed while washing away hundreds of other bridges. Though narrow it still carries a busy stream of traffic.


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Tracks in Loleta

Tracks in Loleta

The tracks that once passed right through the town of Loleta no longer go anywhere

Loleta, California

Date photographed: July 15, 2011
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Loleta Cheese Factory

Loleta Cheese Factory

Though tiny compared to the original Loleta dairy, cheese is still made here

Loleta, California

Date photographed: July 15, 2011
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The Fernbridge over the Eel River

The Fernbridge over the Eel River

The mighty Fernbridge withstood the thousand-year flood of 1964

Fernbridge over the Eel River at Fernbridge, California

Date photographed: July 15, 2011
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Main Street in Fortuna

Main Street in Fortuna

Fortuna's pleasant old-fashioned Main Street

Fortuna, California

Date photographed: July 15, 2011
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Dairy cows near Ferndale

Dairy cows near Ferndale

Dairy cows in the rich pastures around Ferndale

Waddington Road, east of Ferndale, California

Date photographed: July 15, 2011
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The Riverwalk, along the Eel River at Fortuna

The Riverwalk, along the Eel River at Fortuna

The Riverwalk, along the Eel River at Fortuna

Fortuna, California

Date photographed: January 20, 2008
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Centerville Beach at the mouth of the Eel River

Centerville Beach at the mouth of the Eel River

Centerville Beach at the mouth of the Eel River

near Ferndale, California

Date photographed: January 20, 2008
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