Northern California, which places?

Started Jul 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP heulwen Regular Member • Posts: 277
Re: Northern California, which places?

dherzstein wrote:

heulwen wrote:

Thank you everyone for your input! As I said in one reply, our route has, once again, changed a little. I fear we won't be able to make a firm decision until we start the engine in SF....

It's difficult when faced with the choice of taking in a couple of "must-do's" at a leasury pace or seeing almost all of them rapidly.

On paper, this route is possible:

DAY 1 Sat: SF > Eureka/Arcata/Trinidad

My software estimates 6.5 hours of driving (including Mendocino). Skip Humboldt Redwoods State Park since you can spend the next day at Prairie Creek Redwoods S.P.

Skipping hw 1 entirely and driving up along hw 101 was the thought. Avenue of the Giants and a visit to Ferndale before tucking in for the night. I fear we get stuck along the coast if we go that way and thus won't have the time for the redwoods I want to have. Good to know Humboldt is worth skipping in this scenario.

DAY 2 Sun: Trinidad > Crescent City

An easy 1.5 hour drive. Spend the day in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

Very easy yes. Depending on weather etc we might drive further this day, but it is not a must.

DAY 3 Mon: Crescent City > Shasta > Burney Falls

5 driving hours via US-199/I-5/CA-89

DAY 4 Tue: Burney Falls > Lassen > Quincy > Topaz

6.5 driving hours. You are cheating yourself out of a day in Lassen Volcanic National Park. What is in Topaz?

I know... I hope we could have time to hike Bumpass Hell, but otherwise we're mostly just driving through. 1h drive to Lassen Peak, 1.5h to Quincy from there. Added to this one hour at Burney Falls (if we didn't see them the day before) and three hours extra for Lassen. That's 6.5h hours. If we start around 7am, we could be in Quincy around 2pm with an itinerary like this. Which means we'd still have around 5 hours before darkness.

But, this is a long schlepp and we might not get as far as stated. Topaz is only here as a possible place to sleep, and further away than Tahoe, no other reason, :).

DAY 5 Wed: Topaz > Bodie > Tioga > Yosemite Valley

5 driving hours. Bodie is worth 2-3 hours. Tioga Road is worth 3-4 hours of exploring on foot. A long day. Where do you find time to spend in Yosemite Valley?

Not much time to spend in the Valley I'm afraid... What I want from Yosemite is Tioga and a hike to Sentinel Dome. Can't have it all. I'm trying to convince myself that with the waterfalls dry the Valley isn't as grand as it would be earlier in the summer. Foolish? Oh yes.

The problem with this route is only that it would make very much sense to stay the night in the Valley (Curry Village for example), but I don't want to make a reservation when I'm not 100 per cent sure we'll actually use it. Need to keep our route open to any changes.

Also, I'd love to start driving over Tioga early in the morning (say 7am), but unfortunately Bodie closes at 4pm, which means we probably won't have time to visit it the day before we arrive in the Lee Vining-area. I'll have to fiddle with driving times etc to see if I can come up with a combination of days that would get us to Bodie around 2pm. Not impossible if we manage to start our days as early as planned (taking full advantage of daylight hours).

DAY 6 Thu: Glacier Point > Oakhurst > Cambria

5.5 hours of driving, Glacier Point not included. 7.5 hours of driving, including Glacier Point. Where do you find time to visit Yosemite Valley?

Am thinking a morning hike to Sentinel Dome, a visit to Mariposa grove on our way out and landing in Cambria late, late, afternoon.

DAY 7 Fri: Cambria > Big Sur > Monterey

An easy 2.5 hour drive. Spend time viewing Elephant Seals, Big Sur coast and Point Lobos.

DAY 8 Sat: Monterey > Santa Cruz > SF

2.5 hours of driving on CA-1. Start your day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Skip Big Basin since you have already visited redwoods on the north coast.

Big Basin is crossed off if we do go along with this route. I gather it won't will rival, say, Stout Grove in Jed Smith, :).

But, reality might bite us big time. We'll see. It would give us time to enjoy the redwoods, Yosemite and the Big Sur-area at somewhat of a leasury pace along with time for a short hike in Lassen, Bodie and seeing the scenery all along the way.

I'll report back when all is driven and done and I hopefully have some decent pictures to show, :).

You will enjoy your trip no matter how you spend your time. I have lived my entire life in Northern California and you can find galleries of most of your itinerary on my web site.

I truly hope so. It is a first real road trip for both of us, outside our own country, so we don't really know how much driving we can take 8 days in a row and how much scenery we can cope with. But we'll start, see how it feels and go with the flow, hoping to see as much as possible.
Thank you so much for your reply and the link to your photos! Inspiring, :).

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