Description - The North Coast Region, stretches over 400 miles of rugged coastline from San Francisco to the redwood forests near the Oregon border. This region is a land of rugged shoreline and pounding surf, of towering redwood forests and rushing rivers, of verdant hills and bountiful vineyards.
Copyright: Bureau of Land Management
King Range Conservation Area
- This region features three National Parks sites, the Six Rivers and Mendocino National Forests, and a multitude of state parks and historic sites providing outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities.
The heart of this Redwood Empire is Eureka, where you can pick up a life-size statue of a lumberjack-chain-saw-carved out of redwood, of course-or soak up the town's Victorian charm with a walk around Old Town. From here, it's a short drive to a 30-acre azalea reserve near Arcata (best seen in late May) or to a heron rookery in the marshy tidelands of Humboldt Bay.
Of course, not all of the North Coast is as imponderable as Trees of Mystery, as remote as the Lost Coast, or as wild as the salmon in the Smith River, one of the last free-flowing streams in California. Picturesque Mendocino, with its herd of historic wooden water towers grazing amid the clapboard village, has dozens of beckoning bed-and-breakfasts, where you can cozy up in a Queen Anne bed while watching the waves pound the rocky headlands below. Some of the water towers now house gift shops with driftwood art; other have been converted into small cafes. Just north of town, the Skunk Train runs from Fort Bragg inland to Willits. East of this quintessential California small town is Lake County, where you'll find quiet country roads passing through rolling vineyards, as well as pear orchards, walnut groves, and, in the summer, farm stands offering locally grown fruit and vegetables. Here you'll also find Clear Lake, the state's largest natural lake, where anglers from all over try to land one of the trophy-size bass lurking in the warm waters off its 110 miles of shoreline.
Continue south and you come to Sonoma County, the place where California viticulture got its start in 1857 when Count Agoston Haraszthy, a flamboyant Hungarian, began Buena Vista Winery. Today the local lineup reads like a who's who of some of California's best vintners, growing grapes from Glen Ellen to Valley of the Moon. In recent years, dozens of new prizewinning wineries have taken root in the Russian River and Alexander Valley regions between Santa Rosa and Geyserville. And then there's the mission town of Sonoma itself, whose shady Spanish plaza is lined with old adobes and simple shops selling jalapeno jack cheese, mouthwatering sourdough bread, and chilled, local Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Recreation - Some of the most popular outdoor recreation activities in this spectacular area include: swimming, boating, fishing, surfing, wind surfing, horseback riding, climbing, hiking, road biking, mountain biking, picnicking, and camping.
Climate - Summers in this region are generally mild. Fog is often encountered near the coastline, with sunny, warmer weather more common inland in the foothills. Winters are generally cool with considerable precipitation. Spring and fall are typically fog-free and are excellent times to visit this region. At all times of year wear layers of clothing to accommodate cool to warm temperatures and good walking shoes. Rain protection should also be included at any time of year.
The North Coast Region, stretches from just north of San Francisco to the Oregon border. The main highways accessing this region are 1 and 101 running north/south.