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Tour California's Redwood Coast
Northern California Coastlines & Ancient Redwoods
Look forward to this eight-day driving tour showcasing California's iconic redwoods and scenic landscapes. This Redwood Coast tour takes you to Redwoods National Park and Mt. Shasta – plus seaside towns like Crescent City along the famed Redwood Highway.
Days 1 & 2: Crescent City to Smith River
Take US 101 north to Gold Beach, Oregon for a Rogue River Mail jetboat trip; great beauty, wildlife and access to areas many have never seen. In Crescent City visit the Lake Earl Wildlife Area, a wetland habitat and ancient sand dunes adjacent to the Smith River National Recreation Area, west of 101, on the way to Point St. George Lighthouse.
Swing down to Battery Point Lighthouse Museum and Crescent City Harbor, (707) 464-6174. Go to 304 (US 101 south) and visit Undersea World for guided tour beneath the sea. Going north on 101, take US 199 east, turning right on South Fork Road, and right on Douglas Park Road, that connects with Howland Hill Road, unpaved and one lane, that takes you through the southern portion of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and pass Stout Grove. This is an old stagecoach route to Oregon.
Proceed to 101. Visit the Marine Mammal Center, 424 Howe Drive, (707) 465-MAML, one of three California Rescue and Rehabilitation Centers for seals and sea lions; they have self-guided tours. Check out the Del Norte County Historical Museum, 577 H Street, (707) 464-3922. Along with Tolowa and Yurok artifacts, it has the lens from the Point St. George Lighthouse. Stop at the Hiouchi Visitor Center, 1111 Second Street, (707) 464-6101, headquarters for the Redwood National Park.
Day 3: Highway 101 South
Take US 101 south through Redwoods National Park and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. Sixteen miles south of Crescent City, next to the Klamath River, stop and visit the Trees of Mystery, (800) 638-3389 or (707) 482-2251, an unusual collection and grove of ancient redwoods. Their End of the Trail Indian Museum has an excellent collection of clothing, baskets and other items from Native Americans of the West.
On the west side of 101, check out the ways of the Yurok, early residents of the area, along the Yurok Loop Trail. The Klamath Overlook has an excellent view of where the river joins the Pacific. Orick, Fern Canyon, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Tall Trees Grove, Big Lagoon, Patrick Point State Park and the Yurok Village are sites to see.
In Trinidad, site of a Yurok village 5,000 years ago, there is a 1/4 mile trail around Trinidad Head that gives a bird’s-eye view of town and coastline. Continue to Arcata.
Day 4: Arcata
Visit the Azalea State Reserve – with 30 acres of azaleas and rhododendrons – and the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary. The reserve is five miles north.
Arcata’s architectural past can be seen on a self-guided walking tour; the map is available at the Chamber of Commerce, 1062 G. Street, 95521, (707) 822-3619. Jacoby’s Storehouse, 780 7th Street, (707) 826-2426, is a State Historic Landmark constructed in 1857 of stone and brick that housed businesses and mule packers serving the miners and pioneers.
Today, it houses shops, restaurants, a railroad museum and more. Don’t miss the Redwood Community Forest & Historic Logging Trail, 14th and Union, (707) 822-3619, containing 600 acres of second growth redwood trees with 17 trails for multi-use. Map available. For additional information contact Eureka/Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau 1034 Second Street, Eureka, (800) 346-3482.
Day 5: Hoopa Valley
Depart on 299, the Willow Creek-Trinity Scenic Byway, and then take 96 for Willow Creek and Hoopa Valley – California’s largest Native American reservation. There are several river rafting options on the Trinity, Klamath and Salmon rivers at Willow Creek. Visit the Willow Creek China Flat Museum, (530) 629-2653, and the Hoopa Tribal Museum in the Hoopa Shopping Center, (530) 625-4110.
Day 6: Weaverville & Whiskeytown Lake
With stops at Weaverville and Whiskeytown Lake along the way, you'll find Redding . In Weaverville, visit the Jake Jackson Memorial Museum-Trinity County Historical Park, (530) 623-5211, with memorabilia from the gold mining past, Native American artifacts and Chinese immigrant exhibits.
The Joss House State Historic Park, (530) 623-5284 is the oldest, built in late 1800s, continuously used Taoist temple in California. This park now has limited hours that vary – call before visiting.
Whiskeytown Lake, part of the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area, is great for boating and water sports. A memorial to President John F. Kennedy, who dedicated the dam just prior to his death, is on the south shore.
Day 7: Redding
Visit Shasta State Historic Park, three miles west on 299, site of the historic mining town of Shasta that includes an old general store, courthouse, and one of the oldest Masonic Lodges in the state. (NOTE: This park now has limited hours that vary -–call before visiting). In Redding, visit the world famous Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, the world's largest working sundial. Sundial Bridge is a trail head to the Sacramento River National Recreation that spans the 16 riverfront miles to the Shasta Dam in the north.
Turtle Bay is also home to the 200-acre Arboretum & Botanical Gardens and interactive museum. Take I-5 north for Lake Shasta, Lake Shasta Caverns, Castle Crags State Park, and Dunsmuir. Shasta Dam is 12 miles north of Redding and is the second largest and highest concrete structure in the country, three times higher than Niagara Falls. Shasta Dam also forms California's largest lake, Shasta Lake, with over 365 miles of shoreline and the largest houseboat fleet in the world.
The Visitor Center is at Shasta Lake City, (530) 275-1554. Take the O’Brien/Shasta Caverns exit off I-5, 15 miles north of Redding, for the Caverns’ headquarters chalet. Visitors are ferried across the McCloud arm of the lake to the caverns. Allow two hours for excursion. Guided tours every hour on the hour in summer; three tours daily in winter, (530) 238-2341, fee.
Continue on I-5 to Castle Crags State Park, 35 miles north of Redding, (530) 235-2684. Here Crags, formed more than 225 million years ago, reaches heights of 6,000 feet. There are numerous hiking trails in the park, overlooking the Sacramento River. Stop in Dunsmuir to enjoy a picturesque railroad town. At Dunsmuir Museum, you can see historic railroad memorabilia from the area.
Day 8: Mount Shasta
The Mount Shasta Ski Area, (530) 926-8610, offers 32 downhill ski runs with a mountain topping out at 14,162 feet, one of the tallest in country. Nordic skiing is available, (530) 926-8600. Excellent hiking trails in the summer makes the location an all-season attraction, (530) 926-4511. Continue on I-5 North to Yreka. YREKA Be sure and stop at the Siskiyou County Museum, 311 4th Street to see exhibits of 19th century fur-trapping, mining, railroad and agriculture history, (530) 842-3836.
Don’t miss the large gold exhibit on display at the Court House. The historic district of Victorian homes is on the National Register. The Yreka Western Railroad, 300 East Miner Street, P. O. Box 660, 96097, (530) 842-4146, is a 103-year-old short-line excursion train you will enjoy riding. Other than in winter months, take 96, the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway cutoff, about 8 miles north of Yreka, along the “Wild and Scenic” Klamath River through Klamath River, Horse Creek, Seiad Valley, to Happy Camp.
You won't want to miss getting your picture with large metal "Big Foot" statue before taking Indian Creek Road north to O’Brien, Oregon to connect with US 199 south to Gasquet and US 101 to Crescent City. This route takes you through Klamath National Forest, over the Siskiyou Mountains and through the Siskiyou National Forest. Distance from Yreka is 108 miles/(173 kms) with driving time of 2.5 hours.