Start the day visiting Crescent City landmarks, them follow State 199 along the Smith River Scenic Byway east to old-growth forests and quiet wilderness.
Length of trip: 1 day
Total mileage: 50.3 miles/81km
Crescent City. Follow Pebble Beach Drive north of town to explore tide pools and beach comb at Pebble Beach. Bring binoculars to view Castle Rock National Wildlife Refuge , about ½-mile offshore. Though only 14 acres in size, it’s home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, including 20,000 Aleutian cackling geese.
Crescent City (2.3mi/3.7km; 6 min). Check tide charts to time a tour Battery Point Lighthouseexploredelnorte.com/things-to-do/Battery-Point-Lighthouse.html (access at low tide only), blinking at passing ships since 1856 and said to have a resident ghost. Next visit Del Norte Historical Society Museum , showcasing Native American basketry.
Hiouchi (10mi/17.5km; 20 min). Join a ranger-led walk or talk at Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park , named after an 1800s explorer. Dabble your toes in the Wild and Scenic Smith River, then cross a bridge to explore breathtaking Stout Grove.
Gasquet (17mi/27.3km; 25 min). Enjoy lunch (or champagne brunch on Sundays) at historic Patrick Creek Lodge . Stretch your legs in the inn’s pretty gardens and redwood groves.
Enderts Beach (21.3mi/34.3km; 34 min). Retrace your route on State 199 to Crescent City to this classic overlook of the wild north coast, a perfect place to catch the sunset. To reach the beach, head 3mi/5km south on U.S.101 then .2mi/.5km south on Enderts Beach Rd.