We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

North Coast

Sheffield, United...
Level Contributor
902 posts
199 reviews
Save Topic
North Coast

We are planning a round trip from San Francisco next year. Nothing has been booked yet, but we want to drive Big Sur and coast road to Cambria, cut across to SEKI, through Yosemite, to Lake Tahoe, back to north oast and drive the Lost Coast and back to San Francisco.

We have been in this area before, but not visited Big Sur, SEKI, Lake Tahoe or the north coast south of Eureka and I have three questions.

1. Is 1 October too late to start this trip (re bad weather). We could travel a week earlier and would have 17 days.

2. Is it best to stay in San Francisco at the start of the trip or at the end. We are only allocating 1 full day as we have been before, but we had a car last time and stopped in one of the Motor Inns - which we are not averse to again. I know this goes against advice, but I want to stop near Fishermans Wharf not Union Square, but not sure about getting to/from the airport (if we arrive late) or collecting a car early (due to jet lag) in the am from the city.

3. Is two nights along the north coast ample to visit and see everything?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Lassen National...
Level Contributor
2,631 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: North Coast

I'm not sure about all your questions, but October is not too late. There can be a dusting of snow & really chilly mornings. There can also be (and usually is) a heat wave in the valley hitting 100 degrees, which means high 80's in the mountains. The coast will be wonderful at this time. The North Coast is all the coast, beginning at The Lost Coast to Crescent City (North of Eureka).

From Tahoe you can include Lassen National Park. No need to drive down to the valley & up I-5. You could also make a slightly larger loop and include Burney Falls, Mt Shasta, and Ashland. On this same loop that would take you to Crescent City via hwy 199, you could add Crater Lake and/or the Oregon Caves.

Two night once you get to Crescent City or Eureka/Arcata/Trinidad area is okay. It's not ideal & definitely not ample.

Sheffield, United...
Level Contributor
902 posts
199 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: North Coast

Thank you for your prompt reply.

I seem to have written the wrong information - apologies.

What I meant to say "the north coast south from the Lost Coast back to San Francisco".

We have been north from Eureka, Crescent City (as far as Seaside Oregon) and visited the Redwoods, Mount Shasta and Crater Lake.

Was thinking cutting across from Lake Taho via Red Bluff and 36 (which I understand is slow, but that won't worry us) to the Lost Coast then south down the coast road back to San Francisco - would two nights be enough from Lost Coast to San Francisco.

Edited: 26 November 2012, 14:07
Lassen National...
Level Contributor
2,631 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: North Coast

I highly recommend hwy 299 over 36. If you go through Lassen Park you can continue straight down to Redding & over to Arcata, which is 5 miles north of Eureka.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
43,113 posts
1,081 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: North Coast

Hi Angela, when you say "Lost Coast" are you specifically referring to the road that goes from Ferndale out to the cape then loops back to Hwy 101 near Redcrest?

Then are you thinking of taking CA Hwy 1 from Leggett or staying on 101?

*

Travelingrunner and I disagree with each other on some things(!) but I agree that Hwy 299 would be preferable to Hwy 36. Hwy 36 is long, slow, and IMO kind of dull, to be honest. Hwy 299 has the town of Weaverville and the Bigfoot Museum in Willow Creek ;-)

Lassen National...
Level Contributor
2,631 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: North Coast

And the Straw House!

I'm encouraging you to drive through Lassen Park, but you can also just take 395 to hwy 44 and 89 down to Redding. It's scenic. Going through Lassen Park isn't much longer (maybe the same even) milage wise. If you did Lassen Park you could stay 1 night in Chester. It's about 3.5 hours from Tahoe.

Edited: 26 November 2012, 23:26
Menlo Park...
Level Contributor
5,445 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: North Coast

you don't really want to drive the Lost Coast, that piece of Cape Mendocino where 101 heads inland. The road is rough in spots and you only get to drive along the ocean briefly in one spot. Aside from that it's looking at a landscape of redwoods draped over mountains, which is what you get to see all along highway 101 without the difficult drive. There are a few small settlements on the road through the LC, but no place to stay unless you are camping. And you would miss some lovely groves of huge redwoods along 101. You could go into Ferndale and stay at a cute victorian B&B. Then back out to 101. At Leggett take hwy 1 back over to the coast and follow that all the way through Stinson Beach and Muir Beach to the GGBridge. I think that October os great because the sumer fog and crowds are gone. 2 things not to miss along hwy 1 are the town of Mendocino and the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Lewiston, California
Level Contributor
9,609 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: North Coast

Got to disagree`with dhauk. The Lost Coast drive is one of my favorites. It's just not the coast but the remoteness of the area. The tiny hamlets ending with a trip through Humboldt Redwood State Park home of the tallest tree in the world.

cambs
Level Contributor
537 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: North Coast

hi

like you we had already been to california (a couple of times, and with our kids)

this time it was wife and i so i was working on an itinerey trying to fir in as much s poss

like me my wife loves seeing different places but her watchword is

'dont turn a holiday into a vacation'

so i have to be careful not to overdo the miles

my task was made much easier when she surprised me by saying she was happy NOT to spend time in san fran

we enjoyed our previous vieit there but she felt we had seen it

so we flew in and out

but didnt stop

which gave me more days to plan out....

day one we arrived at san fran early afternoon

picked up our hire car

drove thru the city

and fishermens wharf

then acroos the golden gate bridge

99% of the cars headed on up 101

i followed three other cars onto cal 1

within 3 mins the other cars had turned off into residential area and i had the road to myself

up and over a few hils and with in 30 minutes we hit the coast

spectacular unspoiled very quiet!!!

our first stop was ninverness on the outskirts of point reyes national park

drove on up the coast at mendocino

all the time amazed at how quiet the roads and beaches were and how samll the towns

turned back at mendocino and went inland via the armstrong national park - terrific place to see the giant redwoods!!!

then on to calistoga for the npa valley experience

from there up to lake tahoe - well worth a visit

and DO drive ROUND th elaks

and get out on the lake by boat of some sort

but give the asino hotels a miss

v. bland compared with vegas

similarly the drive to reno is nice but reno is not and on balance very very missable

after lake tahoe to yosemite - have you been before?

if you have DEFINITELY go back - it is BETTER than you remember it

and if you havent been before then this should be the centrepiece of your trip

we drove from yosemite to the coast south of san fran next stayin in lucia and pacific grove and getting as far south as hearst castle

i guess the cost to the south of san fran is even more spectacular than to the north

and there is certainly more touristy infrastructure

on balance i still prefered the quieter northern shores - reminded us of home at times (scotland!)

have a great trip!!

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
43,113 posts
1,081 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: North Coast

Also disagree with dhauk. As do many others - for reviews click on the blue link below:

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g32378-d15…

Sheffield, United...
Level Contributor
902 posts
199 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: North Coast

Thank you all so much for the information.

To start from the top, we have already visited Redding which is why we thought of the 36 (different route) and we didn't want to go as far north as Eureka, but have not visited Lassen so will keep that in mind.

half-Brit

By the Lost Coast I do mean the one from Ferndale out to the cape (Mattole Road I think it is). (I keep looking at the TakemyTrip website - I think TET recommended it on the Road Trip forum and I want to go on that road!) We prefer back roads and coastal roads rather than fast highways/interstates, so would keep to the coast (101) as much as possible. We travelled the 299 from Redding previously and I remember Weaverville, but not the Bigfoot museum - sounds interesting - so will keep that in mind with Lassen.

Beeble

We have been to Yosemite before, so just plan an overnight and drive through this time. Know what you mean about forgetting how wonderful a place is though. We visited Grand Canyon last September after a break of 10 years and we were both amazed at the vastness and beauty all over again. Also Monument Valley was wonderful again. There are so many fantastic sights in that country.

Thanks once again for all the advice - lots to think about.