"The Lost Coast, once." Shelter Cove by bpwarne

Shelter Cove Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 43 photos

Ahh, to get away from it all...

We discovered The Lost Coast around 1989. I was on a camping trip further up the coast and decided to come by out of curiosity. When I mentioned to Patty how serene and peaceful it was she decided to see for herself. After one visit she decided we should buy a lot. At that time Shelter Cove was a very quiet place, not much going on, not many people residing here full time. It was a quiet little fishing village of sorts with a campground packed full of recreational fishermen in the summer, especially during Salmon seasons. There were some who came here to surf a bit within the cove itself or to just walk or hike on the beach trails. Not much to do here in the winters. We would come up and bring our own food with us, a crock pot that we would then reheat in our motel room as there was absolutely nothing open in the winters, no restaurant, no campground deli, nothing. We bought a lot and a few years later decided to build on it. So we built and we built and we built, at times it seemed as though it was never going to end. We did much of the building ourselves on extended weekend trips. Sometimes we would come up and just sit in our trailer on our lot in the rain, all day. It can rain a lot in Shelter Cove, I've averaged over 55"/per year in my rain gauge over the past 5 years. Sometimes in the winter not more than 2 or 3 cars would go by on our street in a whole day, and one of those was our neighbors a few lots up on their way to the Shelter Cove Campground, which they owned and ran. A perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature.

Paradise Lost

We once had Roosevelt Elk from the nearby herd visit the Cove on occassion and they were quite the sight. I guess it bothered someone as they decided to shoot a couple one day. That was about 10 years ago. Hav'nt seen any Roosevelt Elk in the Cove since.

A few years ago Shelter Cove started to experience a building boom, right after 911. It had been discovered and people were coming en masse. Today you can hardly go outside during daylight without hearing the sound of nail guns, power saws, hammering, bulldozing or chain saws. Sometimes though it is hard to hear the construction noise over the unlicensed motorcycles and the pickup trucks racing up and down the once peaceful rural streets. Other times it's the barking dogs or blasting radios of the inconsiderate new neighbors that masks the construction noise. Shelter Cove is now the Unlost Coast of Northern California.

A Gardener's Paradise...
One would think that Shelter Cove would be a great place to grow things. Fresh ocean air, good mix of sun and cool fog, great soil and, best of all: a HUGE amount of annual rain for California, heck, as I stated earlier, I've averaged over 55"/year in my rain gauge. And it is a gardener's paradise...or rather, was.
The local utility district decided last summer that too much water was being wasted on keeping things green and so drastically raised the rates to ensure the happy continuation of rapid development we all so badly desire and came here to enjoy. Great news to some of the retired folks on fixed incomes in this once little 'retirement' community. They also, in their monthly newsletter, referred to those using more than the minimum allocated monthly amount of water as selfish. Talk about some unhappy campers! Alienating their customers often seems to be a creed with these people though. These guys need a lesson in PR. Anyway, with watering bills now among the highest in the state, my monthly watering bills peaking at about $200 in summer months, gardening in the Cove is not the pleasure it once was. Ahhh...I remember us purposely selecting a fairly flat lot to build on years ago, as opposed to a cliff dangler with a view, with the intention of having a nice lawn, flowers, large garden.
There use to be a Garden Club in the Cove, with weekly meetings. No more. They have either disbanded or perhaps gone underground to avoid the wrath and name calling of the utility district. The higher utility rates enacted by the utility have done nothing though to curtail the local indoor marijuana growing cottage industry so prevailant in the Cove though. Hmmmm...priorities, I guess.
A Gardner's Paradise found....for some!
Recent conversations with people who should know (sheriff's deputys, real estate agents) revealed some not overly surprising but still disturbing statistics to us. Depending on whom we talked to, somewhere between 1 in 2 or 1 in 3 homes in Shelter Cove are now 'Grow Houses' used to grow medical marijuana, often in very large quantities of 500 plants or more per resident of each house. So, I guess it is a gardner's paradise for many after all!

Nice place to visit, wouldnt want to live there

If you like sea fishing, especially salmon or abalone diving, this is a great place to visit. Oops...that's right, I forgot, the bureaucrats decided in early 2008 that there is now a shortage of Salmon along the California coast and so shut off the Salmon fishing for this year at least. Sooooo...well, there's still Cod and Halibut. Oops again....As of September, 2008, Cod fishing is additionally severely curtailed. Oh well....there's still Halibut....(I think...maybe...better check first.).
Personally, what with the shortage of electricity, water and county funds to maintain the road, local hospital and schools, the salmon/cod shortage comes as no surprise.
Is this any way to run a resort/retirement community?
Oh well, we've stayed this long, guess we'll wait for the official 'air shortage' alert to be decreed.
There is a boat ramp w/launching facilities and a few non-operational charter fishing boat operations. If you like hiking, there is still some solitude to be found at times on the trails of the King Range Wilderness area, including the twenty some mile long hike to the Mattole River. There is an uncontrolled paved runway (about 2500 foot, kept in significantly much better condition than the Shelter Cove Road!), a general store w/gas pump, a Scottish style 9 hole golf course, a handful of restaurants (most for sale), half a dozen or so motels and motor inns, more realtors than you can imagine, so many 'For Sale' signs as to actually be an eyesore, numerous vacation home rentals available, a campground w/full hookups and a deli/general store (deli/general store closed as of Nov, 2008 due to a fire), two churches, a couple of bars/pubs (both closed as of early 2008), an English style Tea House, and a Coffee House (closed as of mid 2008).
An interesting addition to the cove is the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse, dismantled and moved to the Cove around 1998. It now stands at Mal Coombs Park on Lower Pacific Drive.
The road from US 101 into the Cove is a difficult negotiation nowadays. Humboldt County has let the 23 mile Cove Road (aka as Briceland Road) from Redway to Shelter Cove deteriorate over the last half dozen years or so to the point that it is now worse than many secondary roads in many third world countries we have visited. Drive carefully and watch for enormous tire busting, rim bending pot holes. In many spots there are even potholes within the potholes! We have personally lost no less than 5 rims in the last four years, so be cautious.

Interesting things to do in the Shelter Cove area:
Well, maybe...
End of Interesting things to do in Shelter Cove area.

(Could'nt resist)
Seriously, there are interesting spots in the immediate area outside of the Cove:
Arcanum Pottery
- tour a studio/showroom where two artesians create gorgeous pottery.

Avenue of the Giants - tour the majestic Redwoods within Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Redwoods Monastery - Redwoods Monastery Sunday Mass services are open to the public. Retreats are also available.

Benbow Inn - I feel Benbow Inn desrves a mention on the Shelter Cove page due to it's unique character (at least for this area).

More to come....

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Not much to do.
  • Cons:Not much to do.
  • In a nutshell:Losing it's identity....change that to: Identity lost.
  • Intro Updated Dec 3, 2008
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bpwarne Used To Live Here!


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