Wait until the winter storms abate — or pull on the rain gear — and enjoy these particularly scenic spots in the little slice of heaven where we live
1 DAMNATION CREEK: Rhododendrons bloom amidst the redwoods on Damnation Creek Trail. Considering the total altitude change of more than 1,000 feet in two miles (downhill going from the trailhead to the beach, uphill coming back), the trail is well-named. Park at the trailhead just off Highway 101 nine miles south of Crescent City. Enjoy the mix of towering old-growth redwoods and Douglas firs, and maybe a picnic on the remote beach. But be sure to schedule some substantial post-hike recovery time.
2 BOY SCOUT TRAIL: This is one of the those hikes where you seemingly have the world all to yourself. From one magnificent vista to the next, the redwoods, Douglas firs and ferns stretch out in utter silence. Indeed, the first auditory interruption might be Crescent City’s distant fog horn. Reach the trailhead from Howland Hill Road, which also leads to Mill Creek and Stout Grove trails. It’s a 2.8-mile hike to Fern Falls before doubling back.
3 SOUTHERN OREGON COAST: This view of Arch Rock was taken from an easily accessible picnic area off of Highway 101 in Oregon’s Boardman State Park north of Brookings. Other park attractions, each with its own off-highway parking, include Natural Bridges, Indian Sands, Whalehead Beach, House Rock and Cape Ferrelo. Stay on foot long enough, and Oregon’s Coast Trail connects all of them.
4 PEBBLE BEACH NORTH:Pelicans and seagulls intermingle in the Pebble Beach surf. If you time it around a low tide, you can walk a long way to the north from Pebble Beach, cutting inland only to get around Point St. George. After that, the northward stretch of sand is seemingly endless. Just allow yourself enough time to get back before the incoming tide cuts you off.
5 ENDERTS BEACH: Last year a travel Web site named Enderts one of the “World’s Top 10 Secluded Beaches.” Drive out Enderts Beach Road off Highway 101 just south of Crescent City and you’ll discover the attraction’s charms remain secluded — sometimes you won’t see anyone else. Follow a stream-side labyrinth of moss-covered trees on the trail down to a raw, rocky coastline. Take a side trail wildflowered with a canopy of ferns that cover the ground and climb high into the trees.
6 OFF WALKER ROAD: Vines cling tenaciously to a fallen redwood along the Leiffer-Ellsworth Loops, which compose the northernmost trails in the Redwood National and State Parks. From Highway 199 just west of the Simpson-Reed Grove, take Walker Road north and then go left at the fork. Along the way, you’ll pass several other groves of redwoods. This is an especially colorful area in the fall, with the green of California bay, the yellow of bigleaf maple and California hazel, and the red of poison oak.
7 SOUTHERN COASTAL TRAIL: A lush section of the Coastal Trail stretches north of the Klamath River overlook on the three-mile trek to Hidden Beach. The path stays within sight of the ocean at all times instead of veering inland. The effect is like traipsing through a backyard path landscaped right to the edges with all manner of greenery, except on one side there’s a drop-off to the Pacific the length of a couple of football fields. Hidden Beach is also accessible from the north and east.
8 PRAIRIE CREEK REDWOODS STATE PARK: A stairway allows hikers to scale a fallen redwood on the Prairie Creek Trail in a state park situated in Humboldt County but considerably closer to Crescent City than to Eureka. Elsewhere in the park, pedestrian tunnels have been cut through fallen giants. To get to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, take Highway 101 south to Newton B. Drury Parkway, then park along one of the pull-off points or in the visitors center, where you can pick up a trail map.
Related hikeing stories 'Winter in Fern Canyon' and 'Trees are literally part of the trails looping through Prairie Creek Park '.
9 TOLOWA DUNES STATE PARK: Ancient sand dunes, a dramatic, driftwood-strewn beach, wooded ridges and one of the North Coast’s finest wetlands comprise Tolowa Dunes State Park two miles north of Crescent City. A diverse assortment of birds, animals and plant life thrive here, and the area serves as an important stopover on the Pacific flyway for thousands of migrating ducks, geese and swans. From Sand Hill Road to Dead Lake is two miles round trip; to the dunes it’s a 3.5-mile round trip.