Northern California & Southern Oregon National Parks Tour
A wild coastline, the tallest trees on the planet, natural caves, volcanic lakes, waterfalls, mountains, pioneer history, steam trains, active geothermal activity and cosmopolitan cities; there are few destinations where you find this all together in one region, but the neighbouring region of Northern California and southern Oregon is one of them.
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Here's a day-by-day guide to your itinerary. Feel free to ask us to add other days or ideas and excursions by adding them to your wishlist, so we can give you the best price.
During your three days in San Francisco you will have plenty of time to explore this glorious city. Whether you want to explore the shops around Union Square or stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf, be sure to ride the world famous cable cars over the hills. A guided city tour is a good idea for new visitors and a ferry across the Bay to Sausalito gives a grand view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
TIP. If you want to visit Alcatraz, Ask Frontier to book it in advance as it does get very busy.
3 nights in San Francisco
San Francisco to Mendocino
Pick up your car in the morning and drive out of town over Golden Gate Bridge. Head north on highway 101, taking a break in downtown Petaluma in Sonoma County. Continue north on Highway 101 where you will experience rolling hills of beautiful vineyards as they give way to majestic redwoods. The road meanders through the famous Anderson Valley wine region to the Pacific Ocean leading you towards the coastal town and artists’ colony of Mendocino. If the time is right you may even see whales from the Mendocino Headlands State Park. Whilst here why not take a Solar Eco Cruise on Big River? This ultra stable outrigger utilizes wind, solar, electric and paddle power to effortlessly cruise the peaceful and undeveloped Big River Estuary. Watch for otters, seals and a variety of birds as you silently glide along. It covers 7 miles and lasts about 2 1/2 hours. Great fun!
1 night in Mendocino areaClose
Mendocino to Eureka
Today you head through Humboldt Redwoods State Park on your route north; but first you should stop in Fort Bragg to ride the Skunk Train as it snakes its way along the Noyo River, zigzagging through the redwood-thick Noyo River Canyon.
1 night in Eureka
Eureka to Crater Lake
You will continue to follow the coastal Highway 101 until Crescent City where you branch inland through the Siskiyou Mountains, over the Oregon border to visit the Oregon Caves National Monument. You will spend a couple of days in the area which will give you time to explore Crater Lake and the Cascade Mountains. Crater Lake, one of the 7 wonders of Oregon was formed over seven thousand years ago by the collapse of the Mount Mazama volcano. It has no rivers flowing into it, the water comes from the melting snows of the surrounding mountains so only the very hardy will want to swim even though the cobalt water looks inviting.
TIP: White Water Rafting on the Rogue River is an awesome experience. Ask Frontier about day and overnight trips.
2 nights at either Running Y Ranch or Crater Lake Lodge.Close
You will have a full day to experience this incredible natural phenomenon by hiking the local trails or perhaps taking a cruise on Crater Lake. This operates from the north side of the lake at Cleetwood Cove from late June to mid-September and is guided by an Interpretive Park Ranger but does require a strenuous hike.
As you head south from Crater Lake you’ll have joined the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, a 500 mile (804 km) route that takes you from Crater Lake to Mount Lassen. Along this route you will find live volcanoes, amazing waterfalls, and a natural history millions of years old.Close
Crater Lake to Redding
Today will be a full day as we suggest you take a 150 mile detour to visit the phenomenal Lava Beds National Monument. Make sure to hike the 0.75-mile trail to the top of 5,260-foot Schonchin Butte. From the summit there’s a glorious view of the lava Then you have a choice, you can continue along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway through McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park to Redding or you can retrace your steps and take the main road south past Mount Shasta one of the highest peaks in the USA. Stop in the pretty town of McCloud and enjoy many views of the mountain before heading south to Redding, “the second sunniest city in the US”.
TIP Stay a while! Rent a house boat on Lake Shasta or Trinity Lake.
1 night in ReddingClose
Redding to Sacramento
An easy drive south along Interstate 5 unless you feel like further exploration along the side roads.
2 nights in Sacramento, California’s Capital CityClose
Sacramento was at the forefront of the pioneer expansion and the ’49 Gold Rush, when pioneers travelled to the town by boat from San Francisco. A day walking tour of the city is a must, from the Capital building, modelled on the Washington DC Capital building, to the famous riverfront “Old Town”, one of the few remaining original wooden townships left.
This tour will highlight the old west for you, as will the beautiful Delta King paddle steamer moored at the dockside. Alongside is the superb railway museum, celebrating the expansion of the railway through the High Sierra Mountains, an incredible feat of engineering.
TIP If you want to explore the Sierra more, we suggest a day trip to Lake Tahoe via the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park.Close
Sacramento to Napa Valley
A very pretty drive today through the Californian vineyards. Many of the vineyards open their doors for wine tours although you may be better to take the excellent Napa Valley Wine Train as the samples are very generous.
3 nights Napa ValleyClose
Take a couple of days to wind down after a busy holiday; enjoy a wine tasting, relax in one of the many spas or just enjoy the glorious countryside.Close
This is a selection of hotels for this itinerary. Some areas have many more choices; please use the search function above if you wish to find an alternative hotel.
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