The top of the Golden State boasts nature wonders of towering redwood trees along the coastline of the powerful Pacific Ocean.
Leave your footprints in the rich sand along the seashore and carve your tire tracks down dusty dirt roads as you experience the beauty of the fog-wreathed Pacific coast. From the beach to the forest, here are five must-see destinations in northern California.
A jewel on the coast of California, Crescent City is home to attractions that highlight the beauty of the ocean and woods. Take a tour of the iconic Battery Point Lighthouse at low tide to explore the classic red and white tower that has overlooked the Pacific Ocean for 160 years. For a more strenuous adventure, head to the Boy Scout Tree Trail for a 5.5 mile hike. The trail winds through enormous redwood trees and ends at Fern Falls, a sparkling cascade that flows over mossy rocks. As you hike, keep an eye on the network of tree roots that crisscrosses the path so you do not trip.
Howland Hill Road
For an adventurous drive in the forest, head to Howland Hill Road, a scenic path that winds through 10 miles of redwoods. The serpentine path snakes through miles of bright green ferns and tall trees. Carve out at least an hour to drive through the trees and factor in extra time if you plan to stop at one of the trailheads or pullouts along the road. Trucks, trailers and recreational vehicles are too big for the narrow dirt road, so plan on driving a smaller car. The road is very dusty, so consider driving a car you can clean easily after your trip.
Grove of Titans
Journey to the heart of the forest and walk among giant trees towering overhead in the Grove of Titans. Massive fallen redwoods lie alongside bright green ferns that border the elevated walkway, which is raised above ground level to protect the plants from being trampled. The elevated walkway meanders through 1.3 miles of colossal coast redwoods and is scheduled to be fully completed by the beginning of summer 2022; until then, the trail remains open in limited capacity.
Jedediah Smith River
To experience the power of the rushing river, pack a picnic and trek to the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, where you can enjoy the rocky beach for a day or stay a few nights at the park campground. The river is open to fishing, swimming and snorkeling. If you would rather paddle downstream, join Redwood Rides for a half or full day of rafting or kayaking. You will get splashed as you navigate the rapids, so wear clothes that you won’t mind getting wet. The boating adventure includes a half-mile hike to the mahogany redwoods of Stout Grove, so make sure to bring tennis shoes or hiking boots for your walk in the forest.
For breathtaking views of the ocean, take a drive along Pebble Beach and soak in the beauty of foamy waves crashing against the dark sand. Towering charcoal rocks stud the coastline while the surf batters light gray stones scattered along the shore. Pebble Beach has fishing access and a picnic spot across from Brother Jonathan Park, a grassy memorial overlooking the coast that pays tribute to 1800’s shipwreck victims. Stay until sunset to see soft brushstrokes of purple and pink pastels streak the golden sky above the frothy surf.
Unlock the riches of the Pacific coast by visiting these timeless treasures.