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California Bucket List

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Family-friendlyNorth Coast

Join the elks club near Trinidad's classic red schoolhouse

 (Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)
(Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)

Why: There are several kinds of elk in North America. The Roosevelt elk are the largest, and for years, a bunch of them have been hanging around in the meadow next to the old schoolhouse at the Elk Country RV Resort in Trinidad, which is in Humboldt County.

What: Millions of Roosevelt elk once roamed the Pacific Northwest. By 1907, fewer than 100,000 were left. Now the numbers are bigger. The lucky dozens who hang out near the RV resort seem to have a very good life. The resort, just off Highway 101, amounts to about 200 acres — tall trees, little lake, frequent fog, campsites for RVs and tents, a scenic red barn to go with the scenic red schoolhouse. Half a mile to the north is Stone Lagoon, part of Humboldt Lagoons State Park. Because temperatures along the coast are relatively mild, the elk don’t bother to migrate.

But when you show up to admire them, don’t get too close. Experts calls them “wild and unpredictable animals” for a reason: Sometimes they charge. In February and March, the males typically shed their antlers. In May and June, calves are born. From late August through mid-October comes rutting season, when wildness and unpredictability reaches a peak. And the males can weigh more than 1,000 pounds.

Elk sightings are also common in nearby Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Where: 216 Idlewood Lane, Trinidad, 36 miles north of Eureka, 307 miles north of San Francisco, 680 miles northwest of downtown L.A.

How much: Campsites run $25.50 to $40.80, but you need not sleep there to watch the elk.

Info: Elk Country RV Resort

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