Majestic giant Redwoods, a spectacular coastline, rugged mountains and crystal clear alpine lakes. Welcome to Northern California.
The relatively undiscovered region of Northern California effortlessly blends together the coast, mountains, and the awesome wilderness. Throw in the delicious fresh air, marvellous climate and the lack of crowds and you've got yourself a truly unforgettable holiday.
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While you are here, plan to get out into nature at the many parks and preserves that surround the Bay. Some of which include Annadel State Park which encompasses 5,000 acres and Armstrong Woods State Reserve which lets you hike among 2,000 year old trees. Doran Park is a great vantage point for observing gray whales and Hood Mountain Regional Park has panoramic views of the Valley of the Moon from a 2,700 foot summit. Also you could visit the Jack London State Historic Park which commemorates the home of this world famous author.
There are also five public trails along Highway 1 that provide access to the beach.
April through November, you're likely to see humpback whales migrating north along this part of the coast, either from one of the coastal hiking trails or from a whale watching cruise. If you're feeling adventurous, and waters are calm, rent a kayak and take to the sea to view these incredible creatures.
Be sure to stop at Ferndale as you make your way north along the rugged coast. This delightful village is one of the best preserved Victorian villages in California, and is considered a California Historic Landmark.
Be prepared for an incredible journey through Redwood National Park as you meander up the California Coast to Crescent City. When western expansion met the redwoods in the 1800s, the trees began to fall under saw and axe. The massive redwoods offered early settlers a seemingly inexhaustible lumber supply. However, within a hundred year span the vast forests were reduced to a fraction of their former range. By the early 1900s, it was apparent that the future of the old growth redwood forest was in doubt. Thanks to the visionary actions of the Save the Redwoods League, the redwoods received the protection they needed. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park were created by the State of California in the 1920s to protect some of the finest remaining examples of coast redwoods.
An amazing diversity of life exists at Redwood National and State Parks. The ancient coast redwood ecosystem preserved in the parks contains some of the planet's most majestic forests. Here, banana slugs, gray whales, Douglas-fir, black bears, and sea anemones are equally at home with redwoods. Park staff work to maintain and restore the area's biological diversity through a wide range of resource management and educational activities. Preserving both natural processes and the region's species and genetic diversity helps ensure that countless generations can experience the beauty and complexity of an old-growth redwood forest.
Leave the California coast behind and travel into an area of spectacular scenery that is on few travellers radar!
Dominated by the towering Mount Shasta Volcano which reaches 14,162 feet above sea level, and just five miles east of Mount Shasta City, is the astonishing 38,200 acre - The Mount Shasta Wilderness. Choose to hike this region on one of the many trail heads, or drive the Everett Memorial Highway. This two-lane, 14-mile scenic road winds its way up the southwest flank of Mount Shasta and is normally open late June to October
At the Everett Vista Point stop to savour the panoramic views of Mount Eddy, the Marble Mountains and on a clear day, even Mount Lassen. At 8,000 feet you can walk through the Red Fir Forest and feed blue birds so tame they will eat from an outstretched hand. Passing 8,000 feet, you will be about the tree line, ready to experience the alpine vegetation of Panther Meadow.
Leave Mount Shasta and travel the scenic byway all the way to Lassen Volcano National Park. One of Northern California’s crown jewels, the park is a must-do for nature enthusiasts and anyone inspired by the majesty and variety of the American landscape.
The park is home to 10,457-foot-tall Lassen Peak, an enormous lava dome — one of the biggest on the planet, but that’s only one of the magnificent attractions here. In the western part of the park check out the great lava pinnacles, huge mountains created by lava flows, jagged craters, and steaming sulphur vents. It is cut by spectacular glaciated canyons and is dotted and threaded by lakes and rushing clear streams.
Snowbanks persist year-round and beautiful meadows are spread with wildflowers in spring. The eastern part of the park is a vast lava plateau more than 1 mile above sea level. Here are found small cinder cones-Fairfield Peak, Hat Mountain, and Crater Butte. Forested with pine and fir, this area is studded with small lakes, but it boasts few streams. Warner Valley, features hot spring areas--Boiling Springs Lake, Devils Kitchen, and Terminal Geyser. This forested, steep valley also has gorgeous large meadows.
The park’s through-road is the Lassen Volcanic National Highway, which winds some 30 miles between the southwest entry. It’s an excellent showcase for Lassen’s landscapes and topping out at more than 8,500 feet at the Lassen Peak Trailhead.
Your overnight is in the serene lakeside town of Chester.
Straddling the California/Nevada border and lying at 6,225 ft, Lake Tahoe is the largest freshwater lake in North America, and the second deepest lake in the USA.
Surrounded by mountains, pine forests and typically basking in 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s a haven for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.
Referred to locally as The Big Blue, Lake Tahoe is one of the purest lakes on earth, when you’re not enjoying the views from the mountain gondola, take to its crystal clear waters on a leisurely paddlewheeler cruise, or enjoy a slow drive around its 60 mile shoreline, stopping off at points of interest.
It's scenic highway all the way today from Lake Tahoe through the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Yosemite National Park and Tuolumne County. From hiking into the Emigrant Wilderness to white-water rafting along the Tuolumne River, this region is a haven for lovers of the great outdoors!
Immerse yourself in the history of this region which was once famous gold mining country - try your hand at gold panning, or take a ride in an authentic stage coach at Columbia State Historic Park. There's plenty of horseback riding opportunities into the mountains, from leisurely half-day trips to wilderness treks for the more experienced riders.
Check out pretty Sonora and its historic downtown area, or visit Jamestown, where gold was first discovered in the county. Several of the town’s buildings that date back to the 1870s and 1880s are occupied by quaint historic inns, restaurants, shops, a cigar bar and even wine tasting rooms of local vineyards. At Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, you can ride the tracks on diesel trains through California’s scenic Gold Country where scenes from many Hollywood movies were filmed such as Pale Rider, Virginian, High Noon, Back to the Future and The Unforgiven.
End your Northern California adventure on a high with an overnight stay in a delightful boutique hotel in Sonoma's picturesque wine county. With over 500 wineries to choose from and an endless choice of acclaimed chefs at farm-to-table restaurants, it's the perfect relaxing finale to your California holiday.