When it comes to scenic views and epic vistas, Northern California offers some of the best destinations across the nation. It’s no surprise to anyone that we live in one of the most beautiful places, but one of the best things about this part of the country is that there is always something new to discover. Here’s a list of some of Northern California’s lesser known scenic spots that will amaze you even if you have already seen them 100 times.
1. Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwood State Park
This magical hike takes you over a creek's path through a fern laden canyon. The walls are completely covered with plants and everything surrounding you as you walk this one mile trail is green and alive.
2. Castle Lake
Located in the Trinity Cascades, this picturesque subalpine lake is known for its crystal clear water and a border of gold and green forest. It's an amazing place to go for a dip after a hike.
3. Turtle Bay Exploration Park.
Sure, by now you have probably heard of the Sundial Bridge in Redding, but did you know that it is located in an amazing natural setting called the Turtle Bay Exploration Park? It features lots of interesting things to explore, like the McConnell Arboretum.
4. Sky Trail, Trees of Mystery
One of the most appealing and exciting features of the entire Trees of Mystery experience is the nearly 1/3 mile journey through the forest treetops via the unique SkyTrail gondola ride. See the redwoods and even all the way to the ocean from a new perspective.
5. Lakes Basin Region, Lost Sierra
The Lost Sierra is what the mountains of Sierra and Plumas county have been called over recent years, and if you find yourself in this neck of the woods you need to visit the Lakes Basin region. It holds as much beauty as other parts of the Sierra, such as Yosemite and Tahoe, but significantly lacks the crowds.
6. Lava Beds National Monument
This stunning national monument offers an up close and personal look at some crazy features, like the Crystal Ice Cave, pictured here. A tour of these caves or a mellow walk through less creepy ones are both mind blowing.
7. Horse Tail Falls, Desolation Wilderness
This stunning waterfall hike starts in El Dorado County right off Highway 50. You will follow a creek and hike over granite into Desolation Wilderness area and to the base of the falls. It's a spectacular hike, but be careful on the slippery granite!
8. Knights Ferry
This Stanislaus County community is simply stunning. It's home to the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi at 330 feet in length. Visitors will also appreciate the surrounding wildflowers.
9. Bowling Ball Beach, Schooner Gulch State Beach
This notable beach in Mendocino County features interesting spherical rocks that resemble bowling balls. They were formed thanks to an interesting geological process, but make for a photographer's dream location.
10. Empire Mine
In addition to housing a historic gold mine and its facilities, this state park features 850 acres including miles of scenic trails for hiking, biking, dog walking and horseback riding.
11. Battery Point Lighthouse, Crescent City
This old, lovely lighthouse is located on a peninsula that turns into an island when the tide comes in. It's still open for tours, but you can also enjoy the scenery from the mainland.