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  1. Default San Francisco north or south?

    I will be in San Francisco for 6 days in November. Planning 2-3 Days in town and drive hwy1 for 4 days . Like to see some Redwoods and cost attraction/wildlife . Will take my time for that. Is it better to go south and see Big Basin/Big Sur or go north along the coast to Redwood NP/Muir.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default As Always...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    ...that would depend on what you want. Both coastal drives are noted for stunning scenery, certainly. I'd give a slight edge to the Big Sur coast for wildlife, as the sea lion rookeries are so accessible, and it has been my experience that the Big Sur coast is more 'populated', but that could easily depend on time of year and migration patterns. I'd also give the edge to the southern drive for history and other man-made attractions with Monterey, Carmel, San Simeon and the like. On the other hand, the northern coast has by far the majority of giant redwoods and sequoias, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the proximity of some truly spectacular mountain ranges just inland that could be part of a loop trip that includes the Napa Valley.

    Unfortunately, this is a decision that no one can make for you. All we can do is point out some of the options. Fortunately, there is absolutely no way to make a 'bad' decision. Whichever way you go, you will have a memorable few days.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default "Heads or Tails"

    You can't go wrong !

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A forums.

    I think either way you are in for a treat and it really is a "flip of the coin decision" as to what's best, both are wonderful. I think it's a case of searching for info and finding something that appeals to you the most.

    Maybe when you are there the weather could play a part in which way you decide to go, as quite often you can expect to find fog on the coast which doesn't bode well for the views, it could be a deciding factor.

    Have a good trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default This year -- I would go north

    Quote Originally Posted by canucks View Post
    Is it better to go south and see Big Basin/Big Sur or go north along the coast to Redwood NP/Muir.
    For all of the reasons Southwest Dave and AZBuck mention -- it really is a matter of personal choice. But because of the wildfires earlier this year and the current state of the road surface in the Big Sur area (lots of small rocks) I think I would go up the north coast. In a normal year, there is about 50% less traffic on the north coast route, than the Big Sur, but the fires have lessened visitor traffic and so they might be about even. If the effect of wildfire is interesting to you, you might enjoying seeing the Big Sur -- but I would have to warn you -- those fires really hammered the slopes. Next year the chance of wildflowers is very likely on those burned slopes -- but my advice this year -- is head north.


  5. #5

    Default Point Reyes for Elk

    I would recommend Point Reyes National Seashore to see elk.

    Herds of elk populate Tomales Point at the northern end of Point Reyes.
    To see elk, you'll probably have to hike a bit to run into the herds.

    I've seen them within a mile of the Pierce Point trailhead.

    Muir Woods can be visited along the way to Point Reyes.

    If you drive further (much further) to Prairie Creek State Park (north
    of Eureka), you'll also see elk and redwoods.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default If it's elk you are seeking....

    Alvin, Thanks for the memory tingle....

    Actually, if you as far north as Eureka -- the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway is one of my favorite places for elk. Here's one field report.

    And since Alvin logged in here -- we should point out that there is one incredible view on the Big Sur coast that Alvin has made famous around here... Check out Alvin's shot of the waterfall falling into the surf...

    The Avenue of the Giants is another fun place to wander on the North Coast!


  7. Default

    Thanks for all the quick answers. Im coming from Denver where there's plenty of Elk ,so im looking more for the costal experienc{Seaotter/whales/sealion}. Are wahleboatingtours worthwile for the money and time.We will be looking for some bed & breakfasts around Big Sur . Any suggestions?
    We will only to be able to do moderate walking. Is there easy beach access along hwy 1 ?

  8. #8

    Default Wildlife

    In San Francisco, sea lions hang out at Pier 39. Very popular with

    South of San Francisco is Ano Nuevo State Park where elephant seals
    gather every winter to breed. I've not personally been to Ano Nuevo so
    I don't know how many elephant seals are there outside of the breeding
    season which starts around December.

    Monterey Bay area is rich with sea life. If you can get out on the water
    that's probably the best way to see otters and sea lions, but you can
    see them from the shore, but they'll look pretty small.

    Otters often hang out in the calmer waters of Elkhorn Slough. There
    are boat operators that explore the slough. I have no personal experience
    with this boat operator, but saw it featured on one of the local outdoor TV

    I've never gone whale watching but it's on the things to do list for me.

    One place that's always been intriguing to me is to visit the Farallones
    Islands. The Farallones are a group of islands 27 miles west of the Golden
    Gate Bridge. The islands themselves are protected and closed to the public,
    but boat operators will tour around the islands. Check out the
    Farrallones Marine Sanctuary Association web page. They run trips out to the islands.
    Here's a video about the islands.

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