UPDATE: To see some of the best submitted photos, check out our King Tides Photo Album 2021.
If you missed it, there will be another set of King Tides on January 1-3. 
The highest tides of the year (known as King Tides) are coming Saturday & Sunday, December 4 & 5, and all you need to get involved is a smartphone or a camera! 

This year, we are focusing on the old railroad tracks around Humboldt Bay. Built over a century ago when sea level was 18 inches lower than it is today, the railroad hasn't operated in decades. But coal interests are scheming to seize the railroad from the State of California to export coal to Asia via Humboldt Bay. Visit NoCoalInHumboldt.org for more info on the growing coalition fighting this terrible proposal.

Photo: Erosion along the rail line near Bracut Industrial Park, Jan. 11, 2020. 
The environmental impacts of rebuilding this rail right-of-way in sensitive coastal wetlands would be massive - and it would be extremely expensive, making coal the only viable commodity that could support the cost. This proposal would also subvert the Great Redwood Trail, which has been in the works for years. We are asking for your help in documenting sections of the railroad that are particularly vulnerable to erosion and rising sea level. Examples include: 
  • Railroad bridges at Eureka Slough, Mad River Slough, Butcher Slough at the Arcata Marsh
  • Vance Avenue in Samoa (at the north end and also under the Samoa Bridge)
  • Palco Marsh in Eureka
  • Along the bay south of Elk River/Herrick Ave Park & Ride
  • Along the bay south of Fields Landing

At the North Spit, the tides will peak at the following times:Saturday, Dec. 4 at 10:48 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 at 11:34 a.m. These King Tides are predicted to reach 8.38’ but could be higher depending on rainfall, atmospheric pressure, and wind. 

Please be very cautious of rising water, eroding shorelines, flooded roadways, and moving vehicles. 

Tides vary by location in both height and peak time. Check NOAA’s tide predictions for various locations around Humboldt Bay. The best photos show the water level next to familiar landmarks such as roads, bridge supports, piers, etc. 

By capturing images of these extreme high tides, we gain insights into how rising sea levels will impact coastal areas in the not-so-distant future. The King Tides Photo Initiative is a great opportunity for volunteers to contribute to a long-term dataset, while helping inform scientists, residents, and planners about the need to plan for the coming changes to our natural and built environments.

Other great spots to observe King Tides include: 

  • Halvorsen Park in Eureka 
  • Fisherman’s Statue on Woodley Island
  • Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Mad River Slough Bridge on Highway 255 in Manila
  • Liscom Slough on Jackson Ranch Road in Arcata
  • King Salmon

Please submit your best photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Baykeeper volunteers have been documenting King Tides since 2011, collecting over 1,000 images. Check out some of the past photos on our Humboldt Bay King Tides Photo album.