national parks and must see's in northern california
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jun 20, 2011 7:27 PM Last Post By: brydesign
Jun 8, 2011 8:04 PM
national parks and must see's in northern californiaMy friend whom I am driving around California has had to change our itinery drastically, so we will be missing out on much of what we wanted to see in Southern California.
At this stage we are still able to go to Yosemite National Park, but what are some other must sees and national parks to check out in the north of california. We will be spending quite a bit of time in Lake Tahoe (as he lives there), and San Francisco.
The only thing I know about in Northern California is the Red Woods (I'm Australian so not that familiar with US geography). What else there to see in terms of national parks, and cool cities? We probably have about a week of driving around.
Jun 8, 2011 8:18 PM
1Highly recommend you see if you can get to Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Farther north you should check out Lassen Volcanic Park and Shasta.
The national forests are nice as well. The drive north on state highway 89 from Truckee is a lovely bit of Americana and, bonus, will take you to Lassen.
Jun 8, 2011 8:40 PM
2In my opinion the star of northern California is the redwood coast. You could (or, I could at least) easily, EASILY spend a week just in the area between Mendocino and Crescent City. In particular, there are some really nice and overlooked state parks around Fort Bragg, which is itself a cool little town.
Lassen is OK, not my favorite park. Sequoia and Kings Canyon really require overnight wilderness backpacking trips to appreciate, especially in summer when the low country is boiling.
Jun 8, 2011 11:29 PM
3You could do a nice loop - particularly if you wish to arrive back at Lake Tahoe at the end:
After Yosemite NP > back through San Francisco > (maybe a side-trip to Sonoma | Napa Valley - but Australia has wonderful wine regions too) > then the coastal Hwy 1 via Muir Woods > Point Reyes > Fort Bragg > as far as the Eureka region (including Redwood NP, Humboldt SP, etc), then head east to Redding, then to Lassen Volcanic Park, and back to Lake Tahoe. Pretty good I reckon, in a week.
Jun 9, 2011 3:50 AM
4^ actually that sounds really good. I'll put it to my friend.
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions also. I've got a few things to look at now. I leave in 3 days for a 6-7 month trip. including the US, and Latin America (where I'm spending most of my time). getting excited about it.
What are the options for camping at these national parkes? I know for Yosemite you have to reserve a spot, and we will be out of luck at such short notice. is it a similiar situation in the parkes that have been listed? We will be driving a car, and have one tent (2 people). If camping isn't available in the parkes themselves, are there usually camp sites nearby?
Jun 9, 2011 7:38 AM
5Another option is to head a bit south. The coast is a highlight in California. You can do Monterey, Carmel and get down to Big Sur. Look these up. You can do this in 2 days if you rush. 3 would be best.
If you're going soon, hopefully you have Yosemite booked. Accommodations sell out months in advance.
When are you going? Campsites book up fast for summer months, especially on the weekends. Some are first come first served, but you have to show up very early and fight others for the spots. You can look up some options at http://www.reserveamerica.com
Jun 9, 2011 9:33 AM
6Camping--take a look at the California State Parks as well. Many of them have campgrounds. You can do a search by region or by availability of camping.
There are also National Forests which have campgrounds and which usually also permit what they call "dispersed camping," which is setting up camp wherever you want, within certain limits. Campfire or stove permits may be required. Campgrounds may not have potable water or showers.
So-called "free" or "wild" camping, where you just pull over and set up camp anywhere along a roadside is generally not tolerated unless you have prior permission from the landowner.
Jun 9, 2011 3:49 PM
7There are unreserved camping spots in Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon Natl Park and there are some in Lassen Natl Park plus there are many in The National Forests in the mountains all through N. California. A good guide or camping directory will help a lot.
Jun 9, 2011 7:38 PM
8Please realize California is a big state. To go from Tahoe to Shasta over to the coast and back down to San Francisco, you could spend more time driving than doing anything else.
First get a good road map.
From Tahoe you could cut across the valley and take hwy 128 past Lake Berryessa though Napa and into Sonoma county wine country. Spend a night in Healdsburg. Then head west from Cloverdale to Mendocino. Spend the night north near ten mile beach by Fort Bragg. Then head further up hwy I to Humboldt county and the really big redwoods. If you spend more than one night in any location, your week will be used up by then and head back south. Honestly the options are endless.
One of my personal favorite places to camp in the redwoods is a place called Albee creek campground in Rockerfeller forest. The forest is primeval.
If you have trouble with windy roads you won't want to make this trip.
Jun 9, 2011 8:00 PM
Jun 10, 2011 4:40 AM
Jun 10, 2011 7:54 AM
11"I'm a little puzzled by the focus on Kings Canon NP and Sequoia NP - the OP has not expressed any intention of heading south of Yosemite NP. And realistically - once you have seen Yosemite NP, Mariposa Grove, (and then presumably Redwood NP) - is there any need to go to KC+SNP as well?"
For some people the beauty, majesty, and wilderness of these magnificent mountains and parks is addictive and magical, so seeing Yosemite and to a lesser extent the Redwood park only wets the taste buds.
Jun 10, 2011 2:38 PM
12I initially threw out Sequoia and Kings Canyon even though he didn't ask about anything south of Yosemite because, he's not from CA and, IMO, those two parks are better than anything north of Tahoe. It is true that it's better to backpack those parks but I would say that about most national parks in the West.
Maybe he's already been there. In which case I'm sure he'll ignore it. Maybe it will help some other poor sod who's searching the forums a year or two down the line.
Jun 20, 2011 7:27 PM
13Check out Butte County. Chico is the home of Sierra Nevada Brewery, which features a great restaurant. Lake Oroville is pretty incredible too. Especially since it is full right now. It is convenient to check them out coming from both Yosemite or Lake Tahoe. Especially if you are going to Mt Lassen, or to the North Coast. California is the third largest state in the US. From San Diego to the Oregon state line is about the same distance from London to Edinburgh. So you may be spending several hours in a vehicle.
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