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The Ganja Traveler Guide to The Emerald Triangle – InnDica®

The Ganja Traveler Guide to The Emerald Triangle

The Ganja Traveler log of backpacker with dog surrounded by smoke emanating from pipe

How to Maximize The Ganja Traveler Guide

Step #1: Imagine for a minute. If you were to visit The Emerald Triangle, what is the time of year and length of trip.

Step #2: Now read through the below Guide from top to bottom, making mental notes of what stands out. As you read, know that any words highlighted in red linkout to a short video or audio podcast on the topic and words highlighted in purple linkout to the website of the attraction, experience, or point of interest. Go down a few rabbit holes.

Step #3: Print the Guide and scan through it again with a pen in hand. Circle the parts that rise to the top and are of the most interest. Cross reference your highest interests against your budget. Adjust accordingly.

Step #4: Plan ahead. Reserve lodging and make reservations and bookings for activities and experiences, as you decide.

Step #5: Journal. Bring a blank book or a few blank sheets of paper. During your visit take time to reflect and create.

Welcome to The Emerald Triangle

Welcome to the enchanting Emerald Triangle, where lush green landscapes and towering redwoods meet the sky and wild adventure lingers in the air. Nestled in the rugged terrain of Northern California, the Emerald Triangle is the ultimate haven for cannabis enthusiasts and culture seekers alike. As you embark on your journey to the best cannabis destination on Earth, prepare to indulge in the finest cannabis, connect with passionate cultivators, and experience the compelling nuances of this captivating place of source cannabis region. Enjoy a travel adventure where exploration and relaxation blend harmoniously in nature. Choose the Emerald Triangle as your next travel destination for a truly extraordinary experience. 

Emerald Triangle Events

The Emerald Triangle is a globally known travel destination for cannabis. The Emerald Cup, known as ‘the academy awards of cannabis’ was born in northern Mendocino County at Area 101 for a reason. The Emerald Triangle is a place of source region for cannabis, a place where the craft, artform and love of cannabis medicine permeates throughout the entire region. Being a place of cannabis culture and modern day breeding innovation, there are annual seasonal events that are worth planning your trip around. The Mendocino Craft Farmers Auction, Cannafest in Eureka, and the cannabis inclusive MCA Craft Markets are all excellent anchors to a planned Emerald Triangle adventure.

Getting There

A short two-hour drive from the Bay Area lies The Emerald Triangle, California’s most famous legacy producing cannabis region and recognized place of source for the best weed in the world. As Bordeaux is to wine, The Emerald Triangle is to cannabis. Sustainable farming, botanical alchemy and living in close alignment with nature are signature elements of the Emerald Triangle communities. Hippies and back-to-the-land homesteaders have been collecting cannabis seeds from around the world and perfecting their local cannabis craft for over half a century.  As you travel north on the 101 highway, you will wind through beautiful and picturesque terrain. Once you arrive at Hopland, you have officially arrived at The Emerald Triangle. Choose from the below travel adventures and enjoy the journey.

Gateway to the Emerald Triangle and the Inland Corridor

HOPLAND: A charming walkable town with a unique blend of experiences, Hopland is the gateway to the Emerald Triangle and a crown jewel of cannabis country. It is a destination for not only cannabis enthusiasts but also foodies and beer and wine aficionados alike. A great place to spend a half day or an overnight, begin your Hopland experience at MendoCann, the local cannabis shop famous for mind-bending art as much as it is cannabis. MendoCann carries a wide array of award-winning locally grown cannabis including a few of my favorite farms including Emerald Spirit Botanicals, Wildland Farms, First Cut Farms, and Giving Tree Farms. Thatcher Hotel is a fantastic cannabis-friendly lodging accommodation. Make time for relaxation, wander down mainstreet and swing by Hopland Tap and Grill or the Golden Pig for sips and savory bites. 

UKIAH: Nestled amidst the rolling hills and vineyards of Mendocino County, Ukiah is a destination with a quaint downtown and a vibrant cannabis scene, all surrounded by natural beauty. There are four must visit cannabis points of interest to experience in Ukiah. Plantshop is a one-of-a-kind cannabis shop and lounge worthy of a half day with a joint in hand and a journal. As you enter, notice the Cultural Cannabis Landmark on display, a Landmark that honors the Back-to-the-Land cultural heritage and the intentional communities of the region. Ask the budtenders to share more about what the Cultural Landmark represents. Heritage Hash lays claim as the first public hashery in the United States where you watch solventless hash be made from cannabis flowers through a window from the shop floor. Compassionate Heart is a legacy cannabis shop with an awesome art-inspired lounge complete with abalone ashtrays and a small stage that offers  entertainment while you imbibe. If you are looking for a walkabout adventure, Vibe cannabis shop is a great choice and provides easy access to the old-timey downtown corridor that is filled with boutique shops and great eats. I highly recommend a couple nights at  Yokayo Ranch, an amazing ranch-style lux-leaning hotel where cannabis imbibement is always welcomed without judgment.

WILLITS: A hidden gem, Willits is about a half hour drive north from Ukiah and offers a bustling mainstreet with bohemian-themed shops. Willits is home to two dispensaries and a handful of unique experiences that are worthy of an elevated cannabis adventure. Make time to visit Kure cannabis shop and Element 7. Once you enter Element 7, you will find a well designed cannabis shop interior with green walls, sleek and welcoming.    Consider a Skunk Train adventure through the redwoods, catch a show at the local Willits Performing Arts Center, or simply wander down mainstreet indulging in tasty treats and browsing shops. 

Anderson Valley to the Mendocino Coast

HIGHWAY 128: Keep plans loose because Highway 128 is one of the most spectacular drives in the United States. Deserving of multiple unplanned stops and plenty of time in nature, Anderson Valley is home to some of the most accomplished cannabis breeders and growers in the world. Iconic strains like Grape Ape and In the Pines were created here, as well as many other award-winning artisan cannabis products that won High Times and Emerald Cup titles. Enjoy the drive and stop to explore when inspired.

BOONVILLE: Pop into Boon Berry Farm Store and pick out a few locally grown, hand-made goodies. Schedule an appointment with a holistic healer at Caretakers Garden and enjoy a thought-provoking discussion about your specific ailments and how cannabis, along with other natural remedies, may support your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. By appointment only.

PHILO: Spend an afternoon or a couple nights at The Madrones, a destination in itself that is home to The Bohemian Chemist, a cannabis apothecary and lounge, alongside wine tasting rooms and a fantastic restaurant. Visit nearby Philo Apple Farm, a seasonal farm stand offering locally grown apples and artisan apple-inspired products like jams, jellies, apple cider and more. Just down the road, invigorate your senses with an elevated forest bathing session amongst the redwood giants of Hendy Woods State Park. Find a quiet spot to pause and be still. Commune with nature and notice the little things, from forest floor to the treetops.

MENDOCINO VILLAGE: Originally an artist-community, this quaint seaside village is well-suited for a cannabis walkabout. As you wander choose the storybook-like pedestrian pathways that weave throughout the Village whenever possible. Leave the keys in your room, grab your water, and set out to find Sol de Mendocino, a boutique cannabis shop with an ocean view known for having the best locally grown bud. Take a selfie next to the Cultural Cannabis Landmark and learn about Pebbles Trippet, a local cannabis pioneer and community hero. Indulge and enjoy, you’re in the Emerald Triangle. End your cannabis-infused day with a private evening redwood tub soak at Sweetwater Spa.

MENDOCINO HEADLANDS: Experience the magic of the Mendocino Headlands. Meander along the coastal trails and breathe in the wild ocean air. Find places to sit and take in the vistas and rock formations, birds swooping and whitewater splashing below. An elevated sunset is highly recommended. About a 10 minute drive north, follow the headlands to Fort Bragg and pop into Dragonfly Wellness Center, a cannabis shop dedicated to medical and wellness applications for cannabis. Ask for Jude, the shop owner and cannabis guru. Andiron Seaside Inn and MacCallum House are great overnight lodging options on the coast.

Land of Sohum and The Lost Coast

LAYTONVILLE: Welcome to the southern tip of Emerald Triangle legacy cultivation country, where growers have filled these hills for decades growing some of the most award-winning cannabis in the world. From Laytonville up to Sohum to the Lost Coast know that you are in the heart of the cannabis heartland, the cultural capital of the Emerald Triangle. Icons like the late Frenchy Cannoli, Swami Chaitanya and Kevin Jodrey call this region home. Mendo Trim Tools is a must visit. This shop is legendary, having served the local outlaw cannabis cultivation community for decades with turkey bags and trim tools of all kinds. Just north of Laytonville en route to the Land of SoHum you will find the iconic Area 101, a historic destination and Cultural Landmark along The Cannabis Trail. Make time for Area 101. Know that you are stepping on hallowed ground. It was here that cannabis legalization history happened and the Emerald Cup was born

GARBERVILLE to REDWAY: As you enter Southern Humboldt, stop at One Log House attraction and pop into the Cookies Treehouse Lounge. Bask in the fact that you are indeed in the heart of cannabis legacy country. As you head north to Garberville, keep an eye out for the Richardson Grove sign, a piece of history and a point of interest along The Cannabis Trail. In addition to being the heart of cannabis country, Humboldt was and is a battleground for forest preservation and earth stewardship activism. Go ahead, join in with the locals and hug a redwood. Head north and you will come upon Garberville and Redway, the sister towns of southern Humboldt. In the quaint downtown of Garberville, notice the Hemp Connection sign, an important piece of hemp history from sustainability pioneer Marie Mills. This was the very first hemp shop in the United States, a radical idea at the time. Pop into the Southern Humboldt visitors center to view The Hemp Connection Cultural Landmark and ask about the important hemp history of SoHum. Find Country Club cannabis shop in Redway, a must visit. This place is a favorite shop for the locals, always offering fresh locally grown cannabis, hash and craft products that are hard to find elsewhere.  Book a guided tour with Humboldt Cannabis Tours and visit Huckleberry Hill Farms, a once in a lifetime experience that any seasoned traveler would fully enjoy. Book your tour at least a month in advance and prior to your visit to Huckleberry Hill Farms, listen to the deep and rich cultural heritage and context of this legacy cannabis region. Enrich your experience by understanding what it took to protect and steward the cannabis plant under prohibition. Five Sisters Farm is a glamping style, riverside lodging option with cannabis plants and soaking tubs as part of the experience.

BRICELAND to the LOST COAST: Plan for two nights at The Inn of the Lost Coast and head west to the Shelter Cover. Take it slow and steady, as the road weaves and winds throughout the beautiful countryside. As you travel, know that these roads are where tanks and convoys once rolled during the height of the war on drugs era and military helicopters flew overhead. The unique history of this region directly informs the culture today, and any traveler that makes their way to southern Humboldt needs to respect the sensitivities of the community. Many community members experienced trauma during the war on drugs era and to this day, the sound of helicopters trigger fear and PTSD from the many raids and arrests that happened here. As you head to Shelter Cove, learn about the history of the region from Bob McKee, the Father of Counter Culture. Stop in at Plant Humboldt, a cannabis nursery like no other on earth. Browse the many types of cannabis varieties and pick one or two to take home and grow yourself. Upon arrival, ask for a tour, as they are often willing to do so if they aren’t too busy. Consider booking a wine tasting at Briceland Vineyards and sip on vino while the winemaker shares stories of living in legacy cannabis country.

SHELTER COVE: A true paradise, Shelter Cover is an absolute hidden gem. Prepare to unplug and become one with the nature that surrounds you. The pristine beaches, the wild ocean air, sunsets and sea-life are all outstanding. Shelter Cove is my favorite place to stay in Humboldt County. I always plan for at least two nights. Mi Mochima is a great food spot serving up Venezuelan style cuisine while Gyppo Ale Mill has entertainment and good vibes alongside brew-pub style burgers and bites. Find the cannabis-themed murals as you make your way to Gyppo’s front door. Plan for time at the beach and walk along the shoreline. Visit the tiny lighthouse, stargaze at night and rekindle your sense of discovery by tide pooling on the oceans edge. When it comes to setting, for me, it doesn’t get much better than Shelter Cove. Slow down, unplug, elevate and reconnect with yourself and nature, enjoy.

Humboldt North to Bigfoot Country

EUREKA: A little over an hour’s drive north from Garberville beyond the towns of Scotia and Fortuna you will come upon the city of Eureka, the largest metropolis in Humboldt County. A historic seaside town with a Victorian flair from yesteryear, Eureka has a handful of cannabis shops, lounges and experiences to choose from. Papa & Barkley Social is a must visit. A one-of-a-kind cannabis spa and lounge, Papa & Barkley Social is a glimpse into the future of cannabis spa wellness, complemented by a vibey outdoor lounge with nooks, fire pits and a beverage bar. Every patron is offered hot towel service upon entry and encouraged to browse the cannabis shop and choose a treatment from the cannabis spa services menu.  After your cannabis-infused spa treatment, plan for relaxation time in the lounge as you imbibe and re-hydrate. Kiskanu is a boutique visit-worthy cannabis shop with a highly curated product suite and amazing customer service grounded in education. The owner Gretchen is an herbalist and plant medicine expert, and her cannabis shop is an expression of that. Consider smoking a laughter inducing cannabis cultivar and enjoy an evening at Savage Henry Comedy Club, an excellent cannabis Effect Pairing to be had in Eureka.  Other cannabis lounges to explore include High Tide cannabis lounge and Crisp cannabis lounge. Check their calendars for special Puff and Paint activities and Trivia Nights.

ARCATA: A college town with an awesome community piazza and park, Arcata has a mellow go-with-the-flow vibe and energy to it. Known for its college, award-winning organic farmers markets and weed, the town of Arcata has a lot to offer a ganja traveler. Herb & Market is a great experience every time and they specialize in dry-farmed cannabis which is exotic, rare, and delicious. Go get some. Sunboldt Grown and Highwater Farms are both fantastic. Heart of Humboldt is another cannabis shop to make time for. If you are overnighting in Arcata, book a private tub for the evening at the finnish country sauna. Elevate, relax and soak under the stars.

WILLOW CREEK: About an hour drive east from Arcata up the 299 you will come upon the small quaint mountain town of Willow Creek. Here you are in the heart of BigFoot Country, so keep an eye out for the magical creature. Willow Creek is simply stunning, home to crystal bluish green winding rivers and incredible wilderness. Some of the best weed in The Emerald Triangle is grown right here in the mountains surrounding Willow Creek. Be sure to stop by BigFoot Cannabis, the local cannabis shop. Pick a couple locally grown buds to enjoy. Like SoHum, Willow Creek is known for hyper-local terroir breeding projects and hybrid cultivar innovation. Sol Spirit Farm, an earth friendly regenerative cannabis farm that doubles as a bed and breakfast, is a highly recommended standout experience and a great place for an overnight to get away from it all. Owners Judi and Walter are amazing hosts and you can hike down to your own private swimming hole. 

TRINIDAD NORTH: If you head north from Arcata along the coast you will find the tiny town of Trinidad, a coastal fishing village with picture-worthy seaside cliffs and sandy beaches. On the way, consider stopping by The Ganjery walk-up window style cannabis shop in McKinleyville. Once you arrive in Trinidad, park and take a stroll through the tiny down and wander down to the pier. Swing by Katy’s Smokehouse for a foodie experience to remember and grab some cans for the road.


Ganja Traveler Mindset

  • Travel for Well-being. Uplift your quality of life by approaching travel as a vehicle to rebalance.
  • Value context. Know the ‘Why’ behind the culture and place. It will enrich your destination experience.
  • See beauty in difference. Approach all experiences with curiosity and wonder, seek to understand.  
  • Stay hydrated and satisfied. Carry water, snacks and gum with you at all times.
  • Journal and create. Being in a new place offers a fresh perspective. Experience, contemplate, rebalance.
  • Head-up and wander. Put the phone away as much as possible. Follow your nose and stumble into things. 
  • Honor cultural heritage. Respect those that came before now, their contribution and culture to the place.
  • Everything in moderation, even moderation. Seek flow and balance. Stay safe and grounded.
  • Invest in the place. Support the wellness of the local community. Giveback.

Land Acknowledgement

As you travel throughout The Emerald Triangle, know that you are on sacred native land. The Pomo, Yuki, Cahto, Whintum, Wiyot, Yurok, Hupa, Karuk and Tolowa tribes were the most prominent Natives to live here prior to colonial incursion. The Spanish invasion and conquest into Alta California was the last great expansion of Spain’s empire in North America. We mourn the atrocities committed upon Indigenous people and the lands they hold sacred.

Know Before You Go

The Emerald Triangle region is expansive and includes three northern California counties; Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity. Collectively, these three counties cover approximately 12,000 square miles of land. Within this vast territory, you’ll find a mosaic of farms, forests, and communities that contribute to the region’s nature centered, self-reliant back-to-the-land homestead-style culture. The size and diversity of the Emerald Triangle make it a captivating destination for travelers seeking to slow down, unplug, reconnect with nature, and immerse themselves in the world of cannabis. Below are tips for planning your Emerald Triangle adventure:

  • A ten day travel adventure is recommended. Make it a minimum of four days.
  • Choose to stay at cannabis friendly hotels.
  • Cell phone service is spotty. You will often lose signal. Embrace and enjoy it.
  • Time in the Emerald Triangle is fluid. Prepare to go with the flow.
  • Nature is breathtaking and powerful.  Be safe. Err on the side of caution. Travel safely.
  • When consuming activated THC-rich cannabis Start Low and Go Slow, always.
  • Do not drive while intoxicated in any way.
  • Prepare to be inspired. Take 15 minutes each day to journal and create.
  • Choose experiences that are outside of your comfort zone. That is the essence of travel.
  • Bring an open and curious mind. Make it a priority to connect with the locals.