Klamath River

River in Klamath

Image by Stephen Saks Getty Images

The mouth of the Klamath River is a dramatic sight. Marine, riparian, forest and meadow ecological zones all converge and the birding is exceptional. For the best views, head north of town to Requa Rd and the Klamath River Overlook and picnic on high bluffs above driftwood-strewn beaches. On a clear day, this is one of the most spectacular viewpoints on the North Coast, and one of the best whale-watching spots in California.

For a good hike, head north along the Coastal Trail. You’ll have the sand to yourself at Hidden Beach; access the trail at the northern end of Motel Trees.

Just south of the river, on Hwy 101, the scenic Coastal Drive, a narrow, winding country road traces extremely high cliffs over the ocean. Due to erosion, a 3.3 mile section of the 9.5 mile loop (between Carruther's Cove trailhead and the intersection of the Coastal Drive with Alder Camp Rd) has been closed to motor traffic since 2011 but it's still walkable and bikeable. Though technically in Redwood National Park, this drive is much closer to Klamath.