Top Things to Do in Crescent City and Del Norte County, California
Check out our list of the top things to do in Del Norte County and Crescent City, California. You’ll need at least a full weekend to do it all! Then share your photos with us to earn your official Visit Del Norte County patch.
1. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Jedediah Smith State Park is home to some of the largest Redwood trees in Del Norte County. Follow Howland Hill Road — a historic stagecoach road — to Stout Grove. Walk the half-mile loop through old growth redwoods.
2. Battery Point Lighthouse & St. George Reef Lighthouse
Crescent City, California has two lighthouses along our section of the Pacific Ocean. Built in 1856, the Battery Point Lighthouse sits on a tiny island about 100 feet offshore. It is accessible only by foot and only at low tide. You can reach the lighthouse anytime between sunrise and sunset, but guided tours of the museum (inside the lighthouse) are only available on select days and hours. The schedule is posted in the parking lot.
Take in the views of St. George Reef Lighthouse from the trails off N. Pebble Beach Drive in Crescent City, or by helicopter. The Pt. St. George Reef lighthouse sits seven miles offshore and was built on top of a “deadly” rock after the SS Brother Jonathan struck it in 1865, making it the deadliest shipwreck up to that time.
3. Trees of Mystery
Get a birds-eye view of the redwoods — and ocean vistas — as the SkyTrail gondola glides you through the treetops at Trees of Mystery in Klamath. Stroll the trail of tall tales, visit the FREE End of Trail museum in the gift shop, or have a chat — and a photo op — with Paul Bunyan and Babe. The Redwood Canopy Trail is now open where you can walk (and slightly sway) from redwood tree to redwood tree across eight cabled and netted suspension bridges.
4. Klamath River Overlook off Requa Road
Picnic where the Klamath River (known for its salmon and steelhead fishing) flows into the Pacific Ocean at this vista point off of Requa Road. You can also catch the California Coastal Trail from here for an epic hiking experience.
5. Smith River
The Smith River’s emerald waters and soaring canyon walls comprise one of the largest Wild & Scenic River Systems in the United States. The river is at the heart of the Smith River National Recreational Area where you can explore over 3,000 acres with opportunities for swimming, steelhead fishing, whitewater rafting and kayaking.
6. Tsunami Self-Guided Walking Tour
Take the Tsunami walking tour around Crescent City to learn of the devastating 21-foot wave that struck Crescent City in 1964 as a result of an Alaska earthquake.
7. Famous Movie Filming Locations Self-Guided Tour
Hollywood loves Del Norte County! Our region has had blockbuster movies filmed here. Follow the movie marker map to seek out filming locations for E.T., Star Wars, Jurrasic Park, Bird Box and more.
8. Tolowa Dunes State Park & Lake Earl Wildlife Area
The marshes, dunes and lakes of this 5,000 acre State Park provide various habitats for more than 250 species of birds. Hiking trails offer excellent vantage points for bird watching or just exploring.
9. Wildlife & Whale Watching
Seals & Sea Lion Viewing at the Crescent City Harbor
Castle Rock Wildlife Refuge
Rent a kayak — or book a guided ocean kayak tour — to paddle out to the Castle Rock Wildlife Refuge. Or just gaze at it from the beach off Pebble Beach Drive.
Lake Earl & Tolowa Lake
Roosevelt Elk Viewing
It’s estimated there are seven elk herds that roam the Redwood State and National Parks throughout Del Norte County. You can see Roosevelt elk practically anywhere, but prime viewing locations include Crescent Beach, Freshwater Lagoon and south of the Klamath River.
Marine Mammal Center
One of only seven Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centers in California. Learn about seals and sea lions and visit the gift shop.
Both resident and transient gray whales are seen from our shores. Check out this article on whale watching in Del Norte County for places to spot them.
Del Norte County has a handful of museums that tell the story of our past.
Yurok Tribe Museum at the Yurok Tribe Visitor Center in Klamath
End of the Trail Museum at the Trees of Mystery
Historical Society Museum in downtown Crescent City
11. Ocean World Aquarium & Shows
A quaint aquarium where you are guided through a tour of our North Coast marine life and have the chance to pet a shark. Meet Marina — a senior sea lion who is forty! — or a few of her “younger” comrades like Cora (performing below!) at the Ocean World Aquarium.
12. Tour Thru Redwood Tree
Drive through a really large Redwood tree in Klamath, California. If you arrive and they’re not open, you can just place the entrance fee into the honor box. Get directions here.
13. Rumiano Cheese Tasting Room
Mmm, cheese. Stop in at Rumiano Cheese in Crescent City for free cheese samples. Rumiano’s is California’s oldest family-owned cheese company. They make certified USDA Organic cheese using pasteurized, organic Grade A milk. Rumiano’s organic products are the world’s first cheeses verified Non-GMO through the Non-GMO Project. Rumiano is part of the official California Cheese Trail where you can road trip around the state in search of CHEESE!
14. Pacific Ocean Beaches
Tidepool, Surf, SUP, kayak, horseback ride, boat or just stroll our scenic ocean beaches along Northern California’s coastline throughout the communities of Crescent City, Klamath, and Smith River. Discover your favorite beach in Del Norte County, California.
15. Try a Yurok Redwood Canoe Tour in a Traditional Dug-out Canoe
Go for a tranquil float down the Klamath River on a traditional dug-out canoe (ohl-we-yoch) where you’ll hear about the native Yurok tribe and their people, cultural landmarks and Yurok traditions, plus possible encounters with area wildlife. Guided tours start spring/summer of 2021. Plan your trip around the annual Klamath Salmon Festival happening every August where tribal tradition and salmon fishing, and eating is celebrated on the Klamath River, California’s second-largest river.
Wander with Us to Earn Your Patch
Share your photo with us to earn your Del Norte County Patch (it’s a sticker, too!) #VisitDelNorte @VisitDelNorteCounty. Learn more here.
Great outdoor places to see and explore in Northern Ca.
I lived in california for many years. I lived and worked in California. I loved it there.
wow nice stuff.
Love this but everything I have been told since I moved here is not to climb into the trees yet the picture shows 2 people in one.
Tanks for nice information, I visited on this January, was so beautiful, I want to be again, thanks again!
I am artist an show my Redwood Paintings at Crescent Harbor Gallery in Crescent City,Cal and Whaleshead Resort