Native Californian Trails

Hiking in Indigenous People's Footsteps

The Yurok, in what could be a representative Native Californian response, believed that a trail was a living thing, worthy of great respect. Rest stops were designated at choice places along important routes. The Yurok traveled attentively along the trails, taking care to treat them properly and stopping to enjoy the special resting places. To have done otherwise would have shown disrespect. In leaving a resting place, a traveler would ask the spirits,"May I come this way again?"

The following trails were chosen for their role in indigenous cultures of California as they were before the encroachment of the modern world, when the native people lived in their ancestral homelands according to their own traditions.

Consider the Yurok attitude toward the trail as you sample these hikes; with the proper respect there is so much that can be learned and shared. As the native cultures of California enter a renaissance, living descendants are relearning native languages, dances, and art forms, and sharing many of them with the rest of us. It is a fascinating time to visit Native California.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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