Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Default Northern California for 6 days in October

    Hi, I'm planning a two-week-vacation for the first two weeks of October. The first week will be spent in San Francisco but the remaining six days will be on the road.
    I'm having trouble figuring out how much we can take in during that time and what our loop could look like though. We'd start on Sunday the 7th October and would have to be back in SF for an evening flight Saturday the 13th.

    What do we want to see? In short: the coast, the redwoods, mountains. Not doing any real hiking (as in strapping on hiking boots and walking for hours), but around one hour walks would be fine. It's about the scenery, stopping here and there for some photographs. Maybe spend a whole day for example walking around the redwoods, but mostly not planning on dwelling that long at various places. It's about seeing as much as possible, within a reason, while getting a taste of what Northern California has to offer.

    I was thinking that we could start with going up along Highway 1 and get to the redwoods between Eureka and Crescent City (I read that Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park are the best ones?).
    This is where it gets tricky, as I'm not sure which route we should take when looping back in a south-east direction (or perhaps we should even continue north and then blast down on the I-5?). I'd love to see some mountain-scenery. Would Lassen Volcanic National Park be a good stop on the way back towards SF? Or is there a better route? I gather Yosemite is way too far south to make sense in this scenario.
    Also, there's the weather. I understand there might even be snow on higher altitudes at this point?

    So in short, how should we continue our loop after Crescent City? Or, is there an even better route for us to take if we want to get a nice combination of dramatic coast, gigantic redwoods and majestic mountains?

    I'd appreciate any help, :).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default It's possible.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Yosemite is actually east of San Fran, so no it's not really "too far south" and if you haven't been, I would highly recommend it if it's scenery and mountains you are after !

    You could possibly spend a couple of days travelling up the coast around the Redwoods, Humboldt and Redwood NP for example and then take a long drive to Lake Tahoe area [possibly via Lassen] for a night before heading down 395 and into Yosemite on the scenic Tioga pass [CA120] for a day or 2 before taking the 4.5 hour drive back to SF.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Or - you could reverse your direction, so you are traveling south down the coast - that way the scenic pullouts would be on your side of the road.

    Go to Yosemite, then take 395 north to Susanville, work your way over through Lassen to the Redding area. You could take 299 over to the coast, or take I-5 north to Grants Pass and 199 over to the coast. Take 101 south, make sure you take the Avenue of the Giants through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. At Leggett, you can pick up 1 back south to SF.

  4. #4


    Thank you, :). It's wonderful that forums like these exist.

    I've been trying to calculate distances and driving times and it seems that I actually can cover more ground than I thought I could. Which is great!
    I hadn't thought I could make it all the way from the northwestern corner of California to Yosemite in my time frame, again, I think I'm slightly overestimating the distances... Redwoods and then straight towards Tahoe and Yosemite sounds exciting now that I know it's possible.

    So, DAY 1: Starting early in the morning from SF, up along the coast, getting to the redwoods in the afternoon/evening. DAY 2: Squirreling among the redwoods (if time allows, getting all the way up to Crescent City (although that would mean having to drive back down for a bit before getting towards Lassen)). DAY 3-4: Lassen and Tahoe. DAY 5-6: Yosemite. DAY 7: Drive back to SF and arrive at latest around 6pm.

    How does that sound?

    Am I right in assuming we might be okay winging it with accomodation, considering all the nights will be on weekdays? Except for Yosemite of course.

    Thank you SO much for brightening up my hazy plan!

    glc: That's an idea of course, thank you for the suggestion!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Sounds good.

    You should be OK as far as lodgings go if you don't want to book in advance. Yosemite could be the exception if you want to stay within the park. If your budget can manage it I would certainly recommend it. By reversing the trip you could spend 2 nights in Yosemite [or one night on the west side of the mountains and one to the east of the mountains. ie. Groveland or Mariposa and Lee Vining.] Day 3 stopping on route to Crescent City [Tahoe, Reno, near Lassen, or as far as Redding 'depending on'. Day 4 to Crescent City and then make your way back to SF via the Redwoods etc.

    You could drive the route in 3 fairly comfortable but long days so you will have a nice amount of time from the car for walks etc. You can also check out the giant Sequoia trees at Mariposa grove in Yosemite which are a different species to the coastal Redwoods. Be sure to drive up to Glacier point while there also. The short walk to the viewpoint over the valley is breath taking.

  6. #6


    I've been busy researching our loop, reading books and web sites, calculating distances and miles on Google maps etc, and the route has gone through several slight changes.
    We have added one more day to the road (leaving us with five full days in SF) and will thus be starting our journey on Saturday morning from SF. We'll also head north along the coast at first, to the redwoods, as that's the part we want to keep solid and are sure about. The rest of the trip is open to changes along the way and we won't set anything in stone. I also decided not to book accomodation in Yosemite Valley, just to keep our flexibility (Curry Village has a cancellation policy of 7 days prior). If we decide to head to Yosemite, we'll just stay right outside and head inside early in the morning.

    My travelling companion (a.k.a. my dear mother), hasn't had that many opinions about the route, just going along with the flow, but now she wants to visit Sacramento. And that makes things tricky. I would be happy with a route from Lassen to Nevada City to Sac, but I'm unsure which way to go afterwards... If we included Sacramento after Lassen, I don't see much sense in going down to Yosemite. So where should we/could we go? One idea was to head down to Carmel/Monterey-area and then get up along the coast to SF, but I'm not sure if that makes any sense. Of course, we could also dash it down to Yosemite after Lassen, head through and then drive to Sacramento, spending the last night there, but that would mean we'd miss the Nevada City-area (which really interests me at the moment).

    So this is our plan right now:

    DAY 1 (Sat): SF to Eureka/Arcata, all along 101. We'll skip hw 1 and concentrate on the coast further north. Avenue of the Giants is a lock.
    DAY 2 (Sun): Eureka/Arcata to Gold Beach/Bandon.
    DAY 3 (Mon): Gold Beach/Bandon to Mount Shasta. If the weather co-operates, we have Crater Lake as a possibility, all depending on how much time we spend in the redwoods and on the coast.
    DAY 4 (Tue): Mount Shasta- Burney Falls- Lassen- Quincy. A stopover at Burney Falls and then some light hiking along with the driving-through in Lassen, weather permitting.
    DAY 5 (Wed): Quincy - (Malakoff State Park) - Nevada City - Sacramento

    That leaves us with DAY 6, DAY 7 and DAY 8 (which has to end around 6pm in SF).

    Any ideas/advice etc? I'd really appreciate any input whatsoever, :).

    EDIT: Looking at this, we could of course just use those three days along the route I drew up. Take it easy. Take the 101-128-1-101-route up from SF. Do some relaxed hiking in the redwoods. Hike the Cinder Cone-trail in Lassen. Etc. And then end up in Sacramento some time on DAY 7. Maybe that's the approach we need to take, but still drive further on if we feel like doing just that.

Similar Threads

  1. Northern California
    By bibb in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-20-2012, 06:08 PM
  2. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-29-2011, 07:50 PM
  3. Help please....5 days in Northern California
    By jennat in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-21-2010, 02:10 PM
  4. October Northern California Circuit
    By campervanner in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-25-2009, 03:35 AM
  5. Northern California and Oregon coast in 1.5 days?
    By bee0818 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-28-2008, 10:41 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name