Taking the trail beginning around 20 miles northward of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco will show you a California you barely knew was there. Following the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1), wander past pumpkin fields, pine tree farms, grazing cattle and horses, and towns straight from the nineteen-fifties and towrds the end there are rugged coastlines, ancient redwood forests, pretty vineyards, and lovely country inns.
Whether you enjoy the easy going self-guided type of exploring from winery to winery or rugged backcountry hiking through pristine wilderness, many walking options await the intrepid hiker. However if you want to discover a side of California you have never experienced before, then start with the State’s Northern Coast.
You can begin at Occidental for your first visitl. A lovely town situated near the Russian River in a forest of redwoods, Occidental was once a former railroad and tree-logging. Nowadays, it is renowned for its family-style Italian eateries.
While on your stay, you can while away your time viewing whales and sportfishing at Bodega Bay or visit the wineries beside the Russian River Wine Road. The Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve additionally provides great hiking when you get tired of just hanging around.
Furthur on from Occidental, keep your eyes peeled because the next town is easy to miss. Placed way up on a cliff looking down on wonderful coastline along Route 1, 20 miles southwards of Mendocinois is Elk where migrating whales can be observed off the coast in Winter when they head southwards and in the beginning of springtime when they head northwards with their young.
Exploring through this town feels like taking the a tardis ride to a 100 years ago when Elk was a busy port with a thriving timber industry and a population of 2,000. You can even make some arrangements for horseback riding, whale-watching trips or a picnic lunch. And, of course, what is a hike through California without a tour through the wineries? You can find fifteen of these in Elk within a 30-minute drive.
The next town is : Mendocino. This delightful village is surrounded on three flanks by wild coastline. Mendocino is known for its very unique buildings, reflecting the town’s roots (it’s earliest settlers being from New England).
Mendocino has the attraction of having the lovliest main streets in the USA. Every shop in the four block region has a view of the ocean. Shops? Pay particular attention to the Book Loft with an excellent choice of books, the Art Center at Mendocino. a Showcase Gallery showcasing the artwork of local artisans and crafters, Mendocino Chocolate Company. renowned for its hand-crafted chocolate truffles, and many more.
It feels a bit like the movies when you go to Mendocino. The town’s charms haven’t been lost on the film industry. Starting in the silent film era, more than 55 films have been produced here, including several that have received various Academy Awards – Johnny Belinda (1948), East of Eden (1955), and The Summer of ’42 (1971).
That brings you to the end of a trip through the Northern Coast. On furthur exploring you'll find more, renowned parks for walking enthusiasts include John Muir National Historic Site, the National Seashore at Point Reyes , Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, the Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, and much more.
The options for fascinating trips are never ending in this region.