Outdoors this big make for big adventures. Highway 101 is a cyclists dream and mountain bikers can peddle almost-parallel to the highway on the California Coastal Trail: Last Chance. Diverse trails await both hikers and horseback riders too. “The Forks” hike ambles under shady firs and leads you to the captivating confluence of the middle and south forks of the Smith River. A few steps further the trail boasts an unfrequented shoreline of boulders, welcoming you to a tranquil swim hole. The salty breeze at Tolowa Dunes State Park will invigorate your trot along its many horseback trails.
Cast your line in either the Pacific for some rich lingcod and rockfish, or plunk your (barbless) hook into the emerald spills of the Smith River for trophy salmon and steelhead.
Play and Paddle in Water
If the water calls to you, Del Norte County answers with National Wild & Scenic Rivers plus a historic harbor that serves as the gateway to ocean adventures. Charter a memorable ocean cruise or slide into one of the many boat ramps along the coastline. Connect more deeply with your untamed surroundings with whale watching or a visit to a seal colony.
The northern coast of California is an undiscovered surf gem. Plan a stop to South Beach for an accessible yet gratifying surf experience. Strike a balance on the open sea between physical and tranquil with a sea kayaking or stand-up paddleboard excursion.
With areas of calm currents as well as whitewater flow through the Klamath and Smith Rivers, you can ignite your senses with a guided raft tour or recenter yourself on an easy kayak trip. Generate serious group giggles on a river jet boat tour.
An independent spirit thrives throughout the area’s many locally owned businesses and attractions. Visit Ocean World aquarium to satisfy your aquatic curiosities with a truly interactive experience. Touch tide pool creatures and pet a shark. Nestle into nature a little deeper – and higher – as you glide through the redwood tree line in a SkyTrail gondola. You’ll discover this ride along with beautiful hiking trails, a museum, and a charmingly ginormous Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox within the Trees of Mystery.
Thirsty explorers will find gutsy craft breweries like Port O’ Pints and SeaQuake Brewing in Crescent City. The culinary quest continues through Rumiano Cheese Factory, an environmentally responsible creamery that is very generous with the samples. Saunter south a ways to Klamath for some of Paul’s Famous Smoked Salmon. Thrills can also be found in the local casinos, including Redwood Hotel & Casino, Elk Valley and Lucky 7.
Points of Interest
From tribal lands to gold rushes to sunken ships, this region is rich with history. The rugged coastline compels lighthouses like Battery Point Lighthouse and St. George Reef Lighthouse to bring ships to safety. Battery Point Lighthouse is a historical wonder, housing shipwreck exhibits and itself withstanding a tsunami that crashed upon Crescent City in 1964.
Hunt for History
Soak up more legacy at the Del Norte County Historical Museum. Once part Hall of Records and part County Jail, you’ll find a few original jail cells along with logging and mining machinery and artifacts from the native Tolowa and Yurok tribes.
Seek Out Art
Roam the sidewalks and enjoy diverse murals that grace the exteriors of many Crescent City businesses. The art will whisper stories of the area’s heritage, wildlife and craft. Art galleries are abundant, balancing your nature adventure with a cultural stroll.