North of Trinity Lake, Hwy 3 climbs along the gorgeous eastern flank of the Trinity Alps Wilderness to Scott Mountain Summit (5401ft) and then drops gracefully down into verdant Scott Valley, a bucolic agricultural area nestled between towering mountains. There are good opportunities for hiking, cycling and mountain biking, or taking horse trips to mountain lakes. For a bit of history, pick up the Trinity Heritage Scenic Byway brochure from the Weaverville ranger station before taking this world-class drive.
Etna (population 711), toward the north end of the valley, is known by its residents as ‘California’s Last Great Place,’ and they might be right. Folks are uncommonly friendly, birdsong is more prevalent than road noise and if you’re in town in summer and see lots of dirty people with backpacks, these are hard-core hikers taking a break from the nearby Pacific Crest Trail – Etna is a favorite pit stop.