US1 vs. 101
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jul 4, 2012 6:43 AM Last Post By: trekker502
Jul 1, 2012 7:47 PM
US1 vs. 101So I will be traveling up from Sonoma to Crescent City next week and I was wondering if it was worth driving the extra hour to take the final portion of US1 to the US1-101 intersection. I know the 1 is supposed to be a wonderfully scenic drive, but is it worth the extra hour? Will my vistas be just as fantastic on the 101 further north? We will be driving through the Avenue of Giants as well.
Jul 1, 2012 8:40 PM
1In my opinion, the far northern section of Highway 1 does not compare to the Big Sur section, but it's still a very pretty drive and worth going an hour out of the way.
If you decide to go, Russian Gulch State Park is great and is worth a stop to strech your legs for an hour or two. Also, grab some beers at North Coast in Fort Bragg, then get mushroom ice cream for dessert at Cowlick's - really, it's awesome. Highway 128 between the 101 and 1 is a pretty drive through rolling hills/farms and redwoods.
Jul 1, 2012 9:09 PM
2Of course it is subjective but if you haven't done it and you have the extra hour or so (you might want to stop in Mendocino or somewhere else) then I would do it ( I have done it several times and not done it several times now). It is quite different than the inland 101 and you don't see that much of the sea so the extra miles and vistas pay off.
Jul 1, 2012 10:02 PM
Jul 1, 2012 11:45 PM
Jul 2, 2012 1:31 AM
Jul 2, 2012 5:57 AM
Jul 2, 2012 7:25 AM
7River's End Restaurant in Jenner. Haven't eaten there in a while, so I can't tell you how the food is, but the view is great.
This is a promotional list of restaurants in Mendocino County, but it does tout the views of several of them. Some may be pricey.
My standard recommendation for a stop is in Klamath, north of Eureka. Since it will be at the end of your drive, you might be too tired for a museum. This is close enough to Crescent City that, if you are spending some time in that town, you could visit on a different day.
Trees of Mystery. You can't miss it. It looks like the world's most godawful tourist trap with huge statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in the parking lot. Ignore the Trees of Mystery part and head for the gift shop. March past the tacky souvenirs and in the back you will find one of the finest American Indian museums anywhere. Local Indians first told me that it was a must visit. The Trees of Mystery stuff supports the museum, which is free.
Jul 2, 2012 1:39 PM
8The part of 101 you'd miss by taking Hwy. 1 instead is pretty much all freeway. Decently pleasant freeway, but freeway nonetheless.
My vote for a stop along the way would be to eat oysters in Marshall. You can eat them (bbq'd or on the half shell) outdoors at picnic tables at either Hog Island or Tomales Bay Oyster Co., or indoors at Tony's.
Jul 2, 2012 6:45 PM
Jul 2, 2012 7:42 PM
10If you take Highway #12, you will meet Highway #1 at Bodega Bay. If you take Highway #116, you will meet Highway #1 at Jenner/Russian River, and miss Marin County altogether. From Highway #116 near Guerneville, it might be more scenic to take the route north through the Alexander Valley (wine country) instead of the coast, then merge with Highway #1 just south of Mendocino.
Jul 4, 2012 12:05 AM
Jul 4, 2012 4:38 AM
12Awesome! Thank you, everyone, for all of the information. I really appreciate it. Now it looks like I have a choice between Hwy 116 and 12. :)
We will be spending a few days in Sonoma / Napa Valley, so would it be worth driving through the Alexander Valley or would it be much more of the same scenery? I like the vineyard scenery but it may be nice seeing something else. Thoughts?
Edited by: sparsel
Edited by: sparsel
Jul 4, 2012 6:43 AM
13North of Jenner, on Highway #1, there is a housing development retirement community, The Sea Ranch, spread out on the cliff -- not interesting. There are tiny villages, such as Gualala, where city dwellers have weekend cabins/retreats. Now that I am looking at the detailed map, I see that the detour through Alexander Valley takes you out at Cazadero, which is south of The Sea Ranch, so you would not miss it after all.
Napa Valley is hot and dry, especially in July and August. You need to drive Highway #128 north through the valley to Calistoga; Highway #12 goes through the southern portion of Napa Valley to Sonoma County. Sonoma is still green in July; the morning fog blows through the mountains from the ocean to moisten the vineyards and keep everything green. Alexander Valley is green. Highway #12 takes you through both Napa and Sonoma, past the city of Sonoma, alongside renowned vineyards, through Santa Rosa and Sebastopol (very scenic with apple orchards, dairies, and farmers' produce stands, and the art community), through country villages, including Bodega.
Highway #116 also takes you along the main road in Sebastopol, through the redwoods and small villages to the Russian River and Guerneville and Jenner.
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