Anchor Beach Inn 880 Highway 101 South Crescent City, CA 95531 1- 707 464 2600



Del Norte County is a beautiful place to spend quality time with your family. You'll find fun and interesting places like Trees of Mystery and Sky Trail, the Rowdy Creek Hatchery, and the Tour Thru Tree.

For history buffs and those interested in Native American artifacts, you can enjoy a large collection at the End of the trail museum, as well as a fine collection of basketry at the Del Norte County Historical Society Main Museum . And don't forget our two lighthouses, Battery Point and St. George Reef perched on the rugged Pacific Coastline.

You can also find various displays at Visitor Centers in towns or in the parks. And you can take Tours by boat, by bus, or on foot by any of our friendly and knowledgeable tour guides and services.

If you love outdoor adventure , check out the extensive section on this website about beaches , redwood parks , hiking , surfing , kayaking and much more!

All you have to do is relax, have fun, and enjoy your stay in The Real Northern California.

Check nature walks and ranger-led programs in the Redwood National and State Parks.

Bird Watching

  • Klamath River RV Park

    RV Park located on the edge of the Klamath River with all the amenities you would expect. Adjacent California Redwoods Parks, ocean beaches, world-class salmon fishing, beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing, many attractions all close by. Good Sam and Woodall's rated Park. We provide clean free restrooms and showers, tent sites on the edge of the river, large grass spaces many with river views, we can handle large rigs up to 60 ft., full hook-ups at every site including cable TV, WiFi at your site (fee), club house with scheduled activities through-out the summer, boat docks and boat ramp for the fisherman, small store, and much more.


  • Birdwatching Experts, Guides, Tours and Sightings

    Del Norte County is home to hundreds of bird species. Here is a helpful quick-list of local birdwatching experts, guides and birding tours. Our local experts will help you add to your birding list. Read more about birding in general in the birding section .

  • Birding Hotspots in Del Norte County

    Alan Barron has spent a part of almost every day for the last 18 years in Del Norte County out in the field. If there is a rare bird or butterfly in the county, Alan not only knows what it is and where it is, he probably found it! Author of the recently published 212 page book, A Birdfinding Guide to Del Norte County, California, Alan has also been a Christmas Bird Count participant/compiler for 22 years, and has published papers and illustrations nationally. He is the record keeper of current and historical observation data of Del Norte County, as a sub-regional editor for North American Birds.

  • Unusual and Rare Birds Recorded in Del Norte County

    Del Norte County is a great spot to see birds, however you might just catch a glimpse of a bird you haven't seen before! To help with the identifying of these birds, we have compiled a small list of the Unusual and Rare Birds you can see here in Del Norte County!

  • Birdwatching in Del Norte County

    Del Norte County is one of the most exciting and scenic places to visit in search of birds in California. This tiny county in the most northwestern corner of the state is known for its diversity of habitats; majestic redwood forests, dramatic shoreline, the West Coast's largest coastal lagoon, open and forested sand dunes, hidden ponds, year-round creeks, and pristine rivers.

    It has recorded 422 species of birds, more than eighteen entire states and nine Canadian territories and provinces. The rugged natural beauty of the California Redwoods Birding Trail is unrivaled. This is a place where ancient redwoods thrive, rivers run free, wild salmon still spawn, and rare bird, plant, and fish species rebound rather than disappear.

    Check out these other pages for more information on Birding Hotspots , Birdwatching Experts and the annual bird festivals in Del Norte County !

  • Ten Things to Know About Del Norte Birds

    Here is a list of fun facts about the birds in Del Norte County:

    1. As of March 2007 there are 422 recorded species of birds.
    2. Lake Earl Coastal Lagoon is the largest estuarine lagoon (mixture of salt and fresh water) outside of Alaska and has recorded more that 300 resident and migratory bird species.
    3. Just by being on the coast, Lake Earl Coastal Lagoon is a major stopover on the Pacific Flyway
    4. There are more birds in the county than 18 entire U.S. and 9 Canadian Provinces.
    5. Castle Rock National Wildlife Refuge is home to the second largest seabird colony in the State (after the Farralon Islands) and the third largest in the nation. Over 80,000 Common Murre nest here as well as (in order of numbers) Leach's Storm-Petrel, Cassin's Auklet, Brandt's Cormorant, Western Gull, Pigeon Guillemot, Pelagic Cormorant, Rhinoceros Auklet, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Black Oyster-catcher, and Tufted Puffin.
    6. False Klamath Rock is the 5th largest seabird colony in the U.S. with over 25,000 nesting Common Murre, as well as gulls and cormorants.
    7. Redwood National and State Parks hosts the largest concentration of nesting Marbeled Murrelet in the nation outside of Alaska.
    8. Three species of Cormorant are found in Del Norte County; Pelagic, Brandt's, Double-crested.
    9. Gone from area for over four decades, several resident Bald Eagles have returned and are now nesting in the county.
    10. American Dipper is an indicator of healthy and clear streams and is commonly found in creeks throughout the county.

  • Smith River National Recreation Area

  • Smith River National Recreation Area
    10600 Highway 199
    Gasquet, CA. 95543

  • FunBus Tours

    FunBus tours take you where others don't. Visit the amazing Jurassic Park's Fern Canyon, Gold Bluffs Beach, “Big Tree” giant Redwood Grove, and Yurok tribal ceremonial grounds. Other adventures include birding, history/lighthouse, whale-watching and Oregon Cave Tours. Custom tours available on request. Reservations are required.


  • Wild Goose Enterprises

    Take a birdwatching tour to discover the many birds in Del Norte County. Rick and Susan are informative and knowledgeable. By reservation only. Email



  • Klamath River RV Park

    RV Park located on the edge of the Klamath River with all the amenities you would expect. Adjacent California Redwoods Parks, ocean beaches, world-class salmon fishing, beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing, many attractions all close by. Good Sam and Woodall's rated Park. We provide clean free restrooms and showers, tent sites on the edge of the river, large grass spaces many with river views, we can handle large rigs up to 60 ft., full hook-ups at every site including cable TV, WiFi at your site (fee), club house with scheduled activities through-out the summer, boat docks and boat ramp for the fisherman, small store, and much more.


  • Riverside RV Park

  • Riverside RV Park
    17505 Highway 101 North
    Klamath, CA 95548

  • Blumenstrauss RV Park

  • Blumenstrauss RV Park
    10700 Highway 101 North
    Smith River, CA 95567

  • Camping and RV Parks in Del Norte County

    To experience the real Northern California you've got to spend the night amidst the redwoods listening to the sounds of nature as it settles down to sleep. Or camp beside a flowing river or near the rugged Pacific coastline while counting the stars in the midnight sky.

    Del Norte county can accommodate any kind of camper or RV traveler with its numerous campgrounds and RV parks. You'll find quite a range that includes those with full amenities to the most primitive campgrounds deep in the heart of the forests.

  • Redwood Rest Resort

    The Redwood Rest Resort is located 2.5 miles east of Highway 101 at Klamath in the Redwoods on the banks of the world famous Klamath River. Modern facilities in a lush 10-acre rustic setting are offered to visitors.

    Fishing guides are available to help you enjoy fantastic steelhead, salmon and sturgeon fishing. The Resort is open May through October. Guests have a choice of 75 sites.


  • Riverwoods Campground

    Riverwoods Campground
    1611 Klamath Beach Rd.
    Klamath, CA 95548

  • Sunset Harbor RV Park

    Cleanliness, convenience and client satisfaction are our mission. Our friendly staff have the RV supplies that you need on hand, as well as beer, ice, wine, a recreation facility and BBQ areas! Whether you intend on traveling around and seeing some of the sites such as Ocean World, the harbor, the Redwood Forest or just plan on hanging around the camp ground you will have all of the conveniences.


  • Redwood National and State Parks

    Redwood National and State Parks
    1111 2nd St
    Crescent City, CA 95531
    707-464-6101 ext. 5001

Howland Hill Road

Crescent City California Off-Road Trails

On maps, Howland Hill Road appears to be a simple trail. But this easy route is a stunningly beautiful, meandering drive through large groves of moss-hung coast redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. The single-track road is graded dirt for most of its length, and the surface is often wet and slippery with fallen leaves. The quiet drive is surprisingly beautiful on a wet day, when mist lends it an eerie feel. Take care when it is wet—the trail can be extremely slippery. The trail climbs steeply from the edge of Crescent City, entering Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and then winding among the large trees. Turnouts allow for safe parking at most of the hiking trails, which lead farther into the groves of giants. Special Attractions: Small winding road through giant coast redwoods in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park; Access to the Smith River and a number of hiking trails; Excellent photo opportunities along the road. High-clearance 4WDs are preferred, but any high-clearance vehicle is acceptable. Expect a rough road surface; mud and sand are possible but will be easily passable. You may encounter rocks up to 6 inches in diameter, a loose road surface, and shelf roads, though these will be wide enough for passing or will have adequate pull-offs.

Read more at Howland Hill Road | Crescent City California Off-Road Trails |

Kayaking and Rafting

  • Lunker's Bait and Tackle

    Boat rentals, including ocean kayaks, canoes Open 6 am – 6pm.

  • Lunker's Bait and Tackle
    2590 US Highway 199
    Crescent City, CA 95531


  • Redwood National and State Parks

    Redwood National and State Parks
    1111 2nd St
    Crescent City, CA 95531
    707-464-6101 ext. 5001

  • Kayaking and Rafting in Del Norte County

    The river makes a fine boating destination in the rainy season, offering paddlers a wide variety of runs. As water levels rise, boaters can move upstream or try some of the side creeks. The Smith is the largest undammed river in California, so its flow fluctuates freely. You may run the same section many times and encounter different rapids on each trip. With headwaters in well-managed national forest, the Smith is generally crystal-clear on all its forks, even after heavy rain. Located in a seldom-logged pygmy forest, the North Fork Smith is exceptionally clear; at times you get the feeling of being suspended in air as you float swiftly over its gravel bars.

    North Fork Smith River

    At times on the North Smith River, the water is so transparent and free of telltale ripples that the boater has the feeling of flying in a kayak a few feet above a dry gravel-bed. This fantastic river flows through beautiful scenery. Rapids alternate between narrow gorges and wide-open boulder fields. The drive to the put-in is long, although the run is well worth the effort.

    Middle Fork Smith River

    This river is the most ravaged of the three forks of the Smith. Erosion from road cuts and bridge construction, along with debris form bridges downed in major floods, has greatly altered the natural state of this river. Reinforcing steel from this wreckage poses a hazard. In many places, the banks are plastered with cement to retard further erosion. There are many good rapids on this run, and, if one can tolerate the devastation, it can be quite enjoyable. Practically the whole run can be seen from the road. The biggest rapid on the run is just below the first bridge, about 2.5 miles below Patrick Creek.

    Smith River (Oregon Hole Gorge)

    The 4-plus miles below the put-in contain several class III rapids and plenty of warm-up material for the gorge below. This half-mile long gorge contains several constricted rapids, ranging from class III+ to IV+, depending on the water level. The Smith River cuts through a final gorge before joining the South Smith and meandering to the Pacific Ocean.

    South Fork Smith River (Upper)

    The upper South Smith flows free from the Siskiyou Wilderness and has a reputation of being clean and beautiful. This run is known by locals as the best run in the Smith drainage. Wonderful class IV drops lead to a long class V rapid which is split by an island and has distinct runs on each side. The left side is of a pool and drop nature, while the right side is a boulder garden.

    South Fork Smith River (Lower)

    The water in this stream, like the North Smith, is incredibly clear in spring and summer. The rapids are mostly short and of moderate drop, none of them particularly prominent. The last mile of this run is through a class IV gorge with vertical rock walls.

  • Pacific Quest Dive Center

    Join Juan Santillan for a scuba-diving adventure on the Pacific north coast. lessons. Air service, scuba lessons, scuba equipment and kayak rentals are available. Must be certified for a tour. By reservation only. Contact Juan Santillan


  • Wild and Wet Winter: Top Five Winter Activities for Outdoor Enthusiasts

  • The rugged coastline of Del Norte County has been hammered into shape by a thousand winters' pounding surf and pouring rain, its landscape sliced and slivered by fierce, frothing rivers and waves of cascading runoff. Every winter, this wet, wild landscape lures thrill seekers and nature lovers alike to Del Norte County to see and experience the awesome power of Mother Nature in action. Whether by paddling the roaring, swollen waters of the Smith River or catching a glimpse of a majestic gray whale passing through on its annual 6,000-mile swim to Mexico, winter in Del Norte County brings out the unspoiled beauty and raw adventure of life where the redwoods meet the sea. Here are five of the best ways to experience the exhilaration of winter in Del Norte County:

    1. Paddle Ferocious Winter Whitewater

    Any true whitewater lover or adrenaline addict should make a pilgrimage to the Smith River, the largest undammed river in California. This crystal-clear river flows freely with the ebb and flow of rainwater, swelling riotously in the winter to create a path of rapids that are never the same twice. Paddle a section twice or twenty times and you will navigate new boulder gardens and discover new rapid formations each time. As the water level rises from winter rains, paddlers can explore the heart of the forest through the many seasonal creeks that sprout from the river. The Smith's three forks snake through the pristine Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park for an unparalleled forest view, if you can take your eyes off of the churning rapids long enough to take a look!

    2. Swing a Fly or Cast a Line for Salmon and Steelhead Trout

    As the temperature drops and the water level rises, the Smith and Klamath rivers will become choked with the slick, shiny bodies of salmon and steelhead trout packed shoulder-to-shoulder as they fight their way upstream to spawn. The Smith River is the only river in California where you can keep a native steelhead, a testament to the careful habitat management has made Del Norte County one of the premier salmon and steelhead fishing spots in California. In fact, the largest steelhead ever caught was nabbed in the Smith River, weighing in at a whopping 27 pounds, 4 ounces! In the neighboring Klamath River, the steelhead tend to be smaller, but they make up for their size in sheer numbers. The smaller fish pack the river to the gills each winter, creating a utopia for fly fishermen and ultra-light gear enthusiasts on the Klamath's lower forks. While planning your trip, make sure to be informed about local and state regulations and required licensing.

    3. Spot Gray Whales on their Annual Migration

    As the weather turns cold each year, thousands of gray whales swim more than 6,000 miles from the chilly waters of Alaska's Bering and Chukchi Seas to give birth and seek mates in the warm lagoons of Baja California. The whales log an incredible 80 miles each day during their trip, eating little and seldom resting. These gentle giants are usually spotted less than five miles offshore from Crescent City and are easily identifiable by their distinctive V-shaped spout. Whale watching season in Crescent City peaks in late December and early January as the whales pass by on their journey, and then again in late March as they head back up to Alaska. For the best chance of glimpsing a gray whale, grab a pair of binoculars and be on the lookout in the morning or early afternoon, when the sun is at your back. Curious and playful, gray whales will often pop their heads out of water to take a look around or dive down quickly with a dramatic flourish of the tail.

    4. Ride Wild Winter Waves

    Legend has it that the wetsuit was invented on Crescent City's famous South Beach, where the water temperature rarely hits the 60-degree mark. Brave the chilly winter waters, however, and you will be generously rewarded with consistent swells and empty beaches well worth the price of a few goosebumps. The cool waters off of Del Norte County have lured surfers north since the sport's inception, with surfers from novices to pros drawn to the widely varied coastline of Del Norte County. Beginners can get their feet wet on the forgiving waves at downtown's South Beach, while more experienced surfers can try out the prime winter swells that break at Garth's Reef or Point St. George.

    5. Hunt for Morals and Matsutake on the Forest Floor

    Peer into the damp shadows of any forest in Del Norte County during the winter and you will probably see a few people picking their way slowly through the lush undergrowth far off any trail, baskets on their arms and noses nearly touching the ground. These intrepid forest sleuths are hunting for edible mushrooms, which thrive in the thick, wet layer of dirt and decaying vegetation that blankets the forest floors. Hidden within this loose layer of earth, a thick, cobweb-like mass called a mycelium is the primary body of the fungus; the occasional mushroom that pops up through the dirt carries the organism's reproductive spores. Mushrooms come in a rainbow of colors, sizes, shapes, smells and—most importantly—tastes, and the hope of bringing home a hand-picked tasty treat is what sends determined mushroom hunters into the wet forests each winter.

    Chanterelles, boletes, chicken of the woods, honey, morels, oysters, matsutake, corals, bear's head and many other varieties of mushrooms all flourish in Del Norte County, but many inedible and toxic mushrooms grow here as well, so don't eat any mushrooms you cannot identify with certainty.

  • Shangri La Trailer Park

    Shangri La Trailer Park
    1130 Highway 101 North
    Crescent City, CA 95531

  • Crescent City Harbor

    Crescent City has a large harbor docked primarily with commercial fishing vessels. Visitors can walk the harbor, purchase fresh tuna and crab off local boats, experience the cuisine of several restaurants with ocean views and enjoy the whimsical behavior of local harbor seals and sea lions. Fishing enthusiasts can even reserve charter boats at the harbor for an ocean fishing experience.

Redwood Parks

High Adventure Majestic Redwood Forests of Del Norte County Itinerary

An inviting path in the Redwoods of Del Norte County.

The ancient coast redwood ecosystem preserved in the parks of Del Norte County contains some of the planet's most majestic forests. Redwood trees are an American icon, the tallest trees in the world. These amazing complex forests, where trees frequently stretch skyward over 300 feet, beg for exploration.

Walking through a redwood grove on a fog-shrouded morning can be an unforgettable experience. Sounds are reduced to the musical gurgle of water trickling among ferns and mossy rocks. Light ebbs with the somber mist and shafts of sun hang like cobwebs. Stillness and peace weave their spells upon the adventuring traveler.

Day One: Redwoods and the Sea – Boy Scout and Beaches

  • For a great day mixing a hike through the heart of the redwood forest and a quiet beach experience try this one. First check a tide table and plan the beach experience at low tide.
  • For the forest part of the day head out for a short trip on Howland Hill Road from Crescent City to the Boy Scout Tree Trailhead (at Mile 5 on Howland Hill). This trail is moderate in difficulty with some uphill. The hike is about 6 miles in length and generally takes about 4 hours. This is an adventure into a classic mature redwood forest. Huge branches hang like elbows down the side of redwood trunks. Look ever skyward into the canopy to see another redwood tree on a massive redwood branch. Travel 2-1/2 miles to the fork that leads to Boy Scout Tree, a mammoth double-trunked redwood, and 3 miles to Fern Falls, a sparkling cascade that varies with the season.
  • For a wonderful place to dip your toe in the Pacific explore Enderts Beach and Crescent Beach Overlook. Absorb outstanding Pacific Ocean views from the overlook; you may even see a gray whale! Walk 1-mile to Enderts Beach, an access route to a multi-colored, myriad of tidepool creatures. Be sure to check low tide times. Take Enderts Beach Road off of Hwy. 101, 3 miles south of Crescent City. Trailers not advised.

Day Two: The Damnation Creek Trail

  • Damnation Creek: This strenuous 4-mile round trip hike through old-growth coastal forest to a private ocean setting has rewards around every corner. This is a steep trail that descends 1,000 feet through an ancient forest of immense redwoods, Sitka spruce, red alder, and all the forest has to offer, traversing all the way to the ocean. Used in the past by Tolowa Indians for food gathering at the ocean, the trail offers excellent photo opportunities of both the forest and the ocean. Expect at least three hours to complete in a hurry, most plan to enjoy the day. Bring your own water. Trailhead is located on Highway 101 at mile marker 16.0, south of Crescent City.
  • Not enough for you? Stretch out on the Last Chance section of the Coastal Trial which intersects the Damnation Creek Trail. You will be greeted by ocean vistas and more incredible trees!

Day Three: Bikes and Redwoods

Two great options for those with a mountain bike:

  • Howland Hill/Little Bald Hills: The first 10 miles of this trip is a relatively easy ride on the graded gravel surface of Howland Hill Road. The first climb out of Crescent City is the only tough grind. Crest the hill and the ride through the old growth redwood forest can't be duplicated anywhere on the planet. This is amazing. At the Little Bald Hills trailhead off Howland Hill head south and start climbing. This trail climbs out of the redwood forest into mixed conifers and open prairies with spectacular views. The trail currently ends 5 miles out at the National and State Park boundary. The ride back down into the redwood forest makes the climb worth it. Return to Crescent City via Howland Hill.
  • Last Chance Section - Coastal Trail: A strenuous mountain bike ride, particularly to first several miles. This 12-mile trail (round trip) includes a difficult climb near the beginning then levels off on the old abandoned coast highway road. Trailhead is located at the end of Enderts Beach Road. Ocean vistas greet you in the first mile; side route (on foot) to Enderts Beach allows tidepool exploration. Trail ascends on the tough climb through red alder and Sitka spruce and meets old-growth redwood forest. Junction with Damnation Creek Trail exists at milepost 16.0 (bikes not permitted on Damnation Creek); continue south to Coastal Trail junction with Hwy. 101 and double back for the return trip.

Hike the Dead Lake Trail

Lake View from the Dead Lake Trail


There is no sign at the trailhead, but there is clearly only one trail leading out from the parking lot. The trail starts as a gravel road and takes you through a flat grassy area. After about ½ mile the trail becomes wooded and the path splits. Turn left here (through a small opening in the fence) following the sign for Dead Lake and Dunes. This is where the path takes you through a beautiful wooded area. A variety of trees, ferns and other foliage make this section of the hike cool and shady with intermittent pockets of sunlight. The trail will then come to an intersection where the trail splits again, you will continue to the right. There is a sign here, the left trail reads DL Dunes and the sign pointing right is for Dead Lake. (The Lake part of the sign is missing) After this right turn, head uphill through woods and trees with great view of the lake on the right. Soon you will come to a gentle rise in the trail followed by a spectacular view of the dunes. Turn left here and continue on a narrow sandy trail with woods to your left and dunes on the right. Continue walking alongside the dunes and back into the woods. Soon the trail brings you back to the DL Dunes and Lake intersection. Make a right and follow the path back the way you came..

Best Seasons:

This trail is great any season. In the winter and spring months, parts of the trail may be wet and marshy.

Brief History:

This area is named after the Tolowa; the most recent Native Americans who lived in this area and thrived on its natural resources.


Travel north on Highway 101 through Crescent City, bear left on Northcrest Drive. If you are traveling south you will turn right onto Northcrest Drive. Follow Northcrest Drive for about a half mile to Old Mill Road. Turn left and drive a mile to Sand Hill Road, turn left and continue a short distance to a circular parking lot at the end of the road.

Hiking in Del Norte County

Boy Scout Trail

Walking through a redwood grove on a fog-shrouded morning can be an unforgettable experience. Sounds are reduced to the musical gurgle of water trickling amongst ferns and mossy rocks. Light ebbs with the somber mist and shafts of sun hang like cobwebs. Stillness and peace weave their spells upon the respectful traveler.

More than 200 miles of trails weave through a variety of environments, including prairies, old-growth redwood forests, and beaches. In this section, we offer you just a few of the many exceptional hikes possible at Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP). Be sure to pick up a map at the visitor center and chat with the rangers.

Elevations at RNSP range from sea level to just over 3,000 feet (1,000 m). Consistently mild temperatures make year-round exploration a possibility. Be aware that trails in the redwoods are often wet and slippery, so bring raingear and good boots for your hike. In winter, the Redwood Creek and Trestle Trails may be difficult or impossible to use. Temporary bridges open these trails in summer but are removed for the rainy season. Fern Canyon bridges are removed as well. You can hike the 1/4-mile canyon but it will be a chilly experience; bring water shoes. Access to Stout Grove from Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park campground exists only in the summer via seasonal bridges.

Redwood National City and State Parks

Redwood National and State Parks
1111 2nd St
Crescent City, CA 95531
707-464-6101 ext. 5001

Trees of Mystery

Almost a mile long groomed interpretive trail through the awe-inspiring Redwoods of Northern California. Part of the trail (The Trail of Tall Tales) is devoted to the myth and mythology of Paul Bunyan, America's larger-than-life logger from the turn of the century. The trail, museum, gift shop, restaurant and motel are perfect for family or group travelers. The trail is open and maintained year-round.

The Sky Trail

The Sky Trail will take you above the forest canopy for a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime view from the treetops. A shuttle to is available for those who cannot easily walk the trail.

Giant Paul Bunyan and His Babe the Blue Ox

In the summer months, the nearly 50 foot tall Paul Bunyan and his 35-foot tall friend, Babe the Blue Ox , waves and welcomes you to the Trees of Mystery.

End of the Trail Native American Museum

Enjoy free admission to End of the Trail Native American Museum , one of the very best privately owned collections of Native American artifacts in the world.

Siskiyou Wilderness

The Siskiyou Wilderness rises like a blue-green wall on the eastern edge of Del Norte County. The United States Congress created the Siskiyou Wilderness in 1984 and it now encompasses 152,680 acres (239 square miles) of forests, rivers, meadows and other scenic areas where adventure awaits!

Bigfoot Just Might Live Here

The Siskiyou Wilderness is one of California's wildest and most remote lands. If Bigfoot really exists, it surely spends time in the Siskiyou. Unusual soils, great rises and drops in elevation, and plenty of water all combine to offer a refuge for literally thousands of life-forms, many of which are found nowhere else on earth. Ancient forests consist of as many as twenty species of cone-bearing trees, the second greatest conifer diversity in the world. Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout ply the region's many streams, especially Blue, Dillon, and Clear creeks and the renowned South Fork Smith River.

Wilderness Trails

The Siskiyou Wilderness is crossed by many trails that offer a great way to get away from it all. Some of these paths are only an hour east of Crescent City. To get directions to these trails and to check on conditions, contact the Smith River National Recreation Area at 707-457-3131. These terrific trails include:

Buck Lake Trail

It's an easy three-quarter mile hike to pretty Buck Lake from the parking area. Along the way, you can enjoy flowers and stately firs and pines.

Clear Creek National Recreation Trail to Young's Valley:

Visitors can walk for four miles along splashing, gurgling Clear Creek to visit charming Young's Valley. The valley is a large meadow surrounded by ancient forest. This area makes an excellent camping or picnicking spot.

Clear Creek National Recreation Trail to Wilderness Falls:

The adventurous can access this stunning, 35-foot high ribbon of water by continuing along the Clear Creek Trail for another three miles beyond Young's Valley (see previous hike).

South Kelsey National Recreation Trail

This historic trail once went from Crescent City east to Yreka, linking the coast to the gold fields of the interior Klamath Mountains. Portions of it remain today, including a highly scenic stretch perched above the South Fork Smith River where one can see salmon and steelhead glistening in the turquoise waters over a hundred feet below.

If you'd rather just relax and admire this spectacular area from an eagle's perspective, you may want to rent the Bear Basin Butte Fire Lookout from the Forest Service for $75 per night. It's available from July-September and offers toilets and beds, in addition to world-class views. For reservations, call 877-444-6777 and ask for “Bear Basin Cabin.” If you'd just like to enjoy the view, you can walk up the short road to the tower anytime the area is snow-free.

Coast to Crest Trail

Stroll down the South Kelsey National Recreation Trail for your first taste of what is to become the Coast to Crest Trail, a project that is being undertaken by various agencies within Del Norte County. The Coast to Crest Trail will connect the historic Crescent City Harbor to the wild and rugged crest of the Siskiyou Mountains, providing a unique opportunity to follow the culturally-rich route pioneered by Native Americans and used by miners during California's Gold Rush.

The trail will traverse the majestic forests of Redwood National and State Parks and the picturesque terrain of the Smith River National Recreation Area on its way to the Siskiyou Wilderness, where adventurous souls can follow existing trails connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail. It will include rewarding recreational and educational opportunities for all levels of hikers, walkers, cyclists, equestrians, and nature enthusiasts. Segments of the trail are already open for public use, such as the South Kelsey Trail, while others will be completed in coming years.


Surfers of all ages and experience levels can catch a wave all year long off the shores of Del Norte County, where magnificent beaches offer consistent swells, uncrowded waters and breathtaking scenery.

A hidden gem on the Pacific Coast, Del Norte County waves are rarely crowded – you might find you have the whole beach to yourself! The diverse conditions and orientations of the area beaches mean that surfers can find a wave to catch at one of Del Norte County's beaches at high tide or low tide, summer or winter.

If you're looking to show off your surfing chops, try your luck in the annual Noll Longboard Classic in Crescent City each October, a family-friendly competition open to all ages and skill levels.

Surfing Spots

Enderts Beach, Crescent City

This small, rarely crowded beach has a fairly exposed reef break. The surfing is fairly consistent year round. Ideal winds are from the east. Most of the surf comes from groundswells and the ideal swell direction is from the northwest. Best around mid-tide. Watch for sharks, rocks and riptides.

Garth's Reef, Crescent City

Sheltered reef break that is inconsistent. Optimum surfing is in the Winter. Best swell is from the northwest and the best offshore wind direction is North. This surfing spot is rarely crowded. Watch for sharks.

Kellogg Beach, Crescent City

One of the most beautiful and least known, this exposed beach's surf quality is unaffected by tides. The best surf conditions for this beach are southwest swells and easterly offshore winds. Not likely to be crowded. Sharks have been spotted.

Klamath Rivermouth, Klamath

Exposed beach break offers fairly consistent surf. Best conditions are when offshore winds are from the east and swell is southwesterly. Good surf available at all tide stages. Beach break consists of rights. Rarely crowded. Watch for sharks, rock and riptides.

Pebble Beach, Crescent City

A popular spot for surfing, this beach offers easy accessibility from Highway 101. The beach varies from rocky to sandy. Offering a consistent beach break, this mostly west-facing beach cannot be surfed at high tide.

Point St George, Crescent City

One of the best breaks in the area, Point St. George is an exposed rocky shelf, reef and point break. Low tide is the best time, especially in winter. Southeasterly offshore winds and northwest swell direction provide the best times to surf. Beach access is not easy, so it is uncrowded.

South Beach, Crescent City

Once considered a surfing Mecca, rumor has it the surfing wet suit was invented here, where the water temperature doesn't rise much above 59 degrees. South Beach is sandy and popular during the northeasterly winds of Winter-Spring. Mushy and forgiving, it's ideal for beginners. At low tide, South Beach usually walls and becomes nearly impossible to get out, so high tides are preferred. The surf gets bigger and more blustery the farther down the beach you go.

Whaler Island, Crescent City

Sheltered reef break that is inconsistent. Low tide is the best time to surf, especially in winter. Easterly offshore winds and northwesterly swells provide the best conditions. Watch for sharks and rocks.

Wilson Creek, Klamath

This exposed reef and sheltered beach break provides optimum surfing conditions in the summer. Good surf is available at all tide stages. Best swell comes in the west-southwest direction. Best offshore wind direction is east. Since Wilson Creek is more protected from north and northwest winds, it is a good spot when the breaks closer to Crescent City are blown out.

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