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Long weekend - walking vacation - northern or central CA

San Jose, California
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for California
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Long weekend - walking vacation - northern or central CA

My husband and I are looking for areas where it would be possible to take several days and walk between towns/lodging - covering 8-12 miles a day. We are looking for an area where the towns are reasonably close together and connected by walkable roads.

I can't think of any place in northern or central to do this, so I am asking for some help to identify some possibilities. We live in San Jose, so preferably someplace within 4 hours or so of home.

The motivation is for preparation for walking the Camino de Santiago, which is a pilgirmage route through northern Spain. For that trip, we will we walking for about 3 weeks, staying in inns, pilgrim dorms, etc. along the way. We want to do sort of an introduction to get a feel for the journey - condition our bodies to carrying light packs over multiple days without actually going wilderness backpacking, help decide what we really need to bring, etc.

Thanks for any ideas that you have.

Berkeley, Ca.
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1. Re: Long weekend - walking vacation - northern or central CA

Great concept. The towns are close enough together in the Napa Valley but the roads don't seem very walker-friendly. Maybe look at Western Sonoma County, out of Santa Rosa to Sebastopol, then maybe north towards Forestville or west towards Freestone etc. I know there's a good walking trail/ bike path between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, but I don't know what's available for other segments of the trip.

Lassen National...
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2. Re: Long weekend - walking vacation - northern or central CA

When do you plan to do this?

San Jose, California
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3. Re: Long weekend - walking vacation - northern or central CA

I thought about the Sonoma area - the walking path from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol is a good idea, maybe build on that.

And when are we planning this? Basically whenever :) - preferably when it isn't terribly cold or raining. I don't have a time of year in mind - really depends on the area and the weather. I figured if we can find good routes, we'd plan 2-3 of these trips - we aren't planning to walk the Camino for a couple more years, so we have time. We are already training for it though because of course getting in good physical condition is always a good thing.

Lassen National...
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4. Re: Long weekend - walking vacation - northern or central CA

Sounds really cool. I've been thinking about this all day & it's difficult to come up with areas with roads that are safe.

On the north coast you could go from Trinidad to McKinleyville on the Scenic Drive, which is safe. Then you have to cross a large and fast creek though. You'd have to go way around, or over the bridge on hwy 101, which would be dangerous. Once you got to McKinleyville you can walk along Clam Beach and over the Hammond Bridge through the Arcata Bottoms to Arcata. From Arcata to Eureka you could walk along hwy 101. The shoulder is wide & the speed limit is 50mph. There are also two back roads--Somoa Blvd & Myrtle Ave. Neither have a shoulder & people drive like nuts on them.

Closer, you could walk from Truckee to Squaw Valley to Tahoe City to the west shore somewhere staying mostly on a path.

In Marin County there are many paths connecting the towns there. I don't know if that would be too urban for you. Once you get off hwy 101, it could be the country. The towns have a small town feel.

There are a lot of races in your area that you could walk on the weekends. One of them coming up in March is Emerald Nuts Across the Bay which begins in Sausalito & ends at Fisherman's Wharf. The man who started the race & still directs it used to run this route to and from work.

San Francisco
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5. Re: Long weekend - walking vacation - northern or central CA

Lol--when I read that you wanted to be able to walk from town and town have have your lodging be along the way, I immediately thought of The Peninsula and South Bay! People can start from San Francisco and stop over at exciting places like San Bruno, Millbrae, Burlingame, etc., all the way to Palo Alto, Mountain View, and ultimately San Jose. But I don't think this is what you had in mind!

One of the few stretches nearby where I think this could be done without a lot of traffic hazards is Hwy 49, the Mother Lode highway. The central part works better, because towns are closer together. There's a long stretch south of Placerville where there are few settlements of any size, but from Plymouth to Jamestown, towns with services are 5-15 miles apart. Then after Jamestown, the visitor services right on Hwy 49 dry up until Coulterville, which is one of the Yosemite gateway towns

Hwy 49 is scenic and entirely rural. You could enjoy Gold Rush history and ambience, and in most towns you'd have a choice of historic hotels, B&Bs, and restaurants or more modern facilities.

We want to hear what you eventually decide on!

6. Re: Long weekend - walking vacation - northern or central CA

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