The Redwood Trail
Take a deep breath. That's cedar and spruce you smell, along with the subtle scent of an ocean breeze. Welcome to the Redwood Trail, which takes you from the hilly streets of San Francisco to the soaring heights of the Giant Redwoods as you explore the rugged beauty of Northern California. Charming Victorian villages and historic timber towns are intermingled with dramatic views of ocean bluffs, forested headlands, and awe-inspiring mountain panoramas. Driving around Lake Tahoe, you'll experience one of the most peaceful and beautiful routes in the country. Lassen Volcanic National Park provides incredible contrast with its bubbling mud pots, lava fields, and ragged mountains. Now, take another deep breath. You'll conclude your journey in Napa and Sonoma, where the woodsy smells of nature blend into the complex nose of some of the world's best wine. Enjoy the beauty and contrast on this exceptional journey.
- San Francisco
- The Redwood National Forest
- Lassen Volcanic Park
- Lake Tahoe
- Yosemite National Park
- Napa Wine Valley
The world-famous Golden Gate Bridge welcomes you to San Francisco, the most-visited and beloved American city. Prepare to lose your heart as you explore delightful and diverse neighborhoods, take in breathtaking views from the tops of crooked streets, wander through Fisherman's Wharf, and sample a fabulous variety of cuisines.
Begin your stay in San Francisco by walking the Barbary Coast Trail, a wonderful 3.8-mile overview of the city ranging from Nob Hill to Ghirardelli Square. Spend a day exploring the Golden Gate Recreation Area, which includes the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, Muir Woods and more. Jump on the ferry at Pier 39 for a trip to Alcatraz, the famous island prison that also has spectacular gardens, bird colonies, and views of San Francisco Bay. Stop in one of Boudin's famous sourdough bakeries for a true taste of San Francisco, and be sure to visit Chinatown for great food and atmosphere to match.
The town of Mendocino is known for its spectacular rugged coastline, beautiful wine country, and quaint oceanfront Victorian villages reminiscent of 19th century New England. It is the only town on the California coast to be designated a Historic Landmark. Dramatic ocean bluffs, known as the Mendocino Headlands, surround the town on three sides and provide scenic walking trails with exceptional views.
Russian Gulch State Forest, just north of Mendocino, features a heavily forested headland with a 36-foot high waterfall and wonderful hiking trails. En route to Mendocino, you can stop to visit the lighthouse and diverse landscape at Point Reyes National Seashore, as well as a number of coastal state parks and beaches.
Step back in time in Old Town Eureka, a National Register Historic District and virtual open-air museum of beautifully restored and preserved Victorian buildings. While the town had a wild past, with roots in the timber industry, these "painted ladies" now house a unique assortment of shops and galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, and museums. Don't miss the Carson Mansion and the Pink Lady. The Eureka Boardwalk affords visitors picturesque views of fishing boats and marine wildlife. This beautiful Victorian seaport is located on Humboldt Bay, within an easy drive of some of the most impressive ancient redwood groves in the world. On the way to Eureka, you can drive the scenic 31-mile Avenue of the Giants, with its aisles of massive redwoods, sleepy towns and direct access to Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
As you travel north to Crescent City today, plan to stop at Lady Bird Johnson Grove, a gorgeous ridge top stand of old-growth trees that you can explore on a one-mile walking loop. Crescent City hosts the must-see Redwood National Park, home to the magnificent Giant Redwood trees. The northern, wet climate nurtures these great trees in ridge top, streamside, and coastal environments. To truly experience the grandeur of the park, take the "Trees of Mystery" and "Trail of Tall Tales" walking trails through the forest. If you feel like driving, there are a number of scenic drives around Crescent City that allow you to take in the area's stunning natural beauty. Outside the park, the Del Norte Historical Society Museum and the Battery Point Lighthouse Museum illustrate the intriguing history of the city, which includes shipwrecks and tsunamis.
Founded as a classic gold-rush town in the 1850s on "the richest square mile on earth," Yreka later evolved into a thriving and stable farming and timber community. Today, Yreka is a quaint and historic town surrounded by three gorgeous mountain ranges and with stunning views of Mt. Shasta. More than 70 well-preserved pre-1900 houses, many of them Victorians, make the town feel like a living history museum, while outstanding recreational opportunities, shopping and restaurants make it a beguiling present-day destination.
Lassen Volcanic Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park was created in 1916 to protect the landscape surrounding Lassen Peak, which was dramatically changed by a series of volcanic eruptions that began in 1914. As you can imagine, the scenery in the park is dramatic: vast lava plateaus, lava pinnacles, enormous mountains created by lava flows, jagged craters, and steaming sulphur vents. Spectacular glaciated canyons cut through the landscape, which features small lakes, clear rushing streams, forested valleys and beautiful meadows. Hot springs dominate areas of the park, while in other places snow banks last all year. Lassen geothermal area, which includes Sulphur Works, Bumpass Hell and Little Hot Springs Valley, offers up bubbling mud pots and boiling water.
Originally a sacred summer gathering place for tribes of the peaceful Washo Indians, Lake Tahoe evolved through the turn of the century from a silver mining destination to a luxury summer vacation spot for San Francisco's elite. The opening of gambling establishments in the mid-1900s spurred the development of year-round facilities and when the 1960 Winter Olympics were held here, Lake Tahoe made its name as the skiing center of the western United States. Despite the incredible growth of the area over the past century and a half, the beauty and charm of the lake has been maintained through environmentally responsible development. As a result, Lake Tahoe continues to offer visitors the sense of peace that so inspired the Washo. Spend one of your days here on "The Most Beautiful Drive in America," the 72-mile loop around the lake that takes you to dozens of historic sites, state parks, museums, vantage points, and of course, the site of the 1960 Olympics. Several magnificent pre-1900 summer homes, including Vikingsholm and the Hellman-Erhman Mansion, are open for exploration, providing a glimpse of a charming and unique time in American history.
Yosemite National Park
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the US, Yosemite National Park offers an amazing variety of landscapes. Best known for its magnificent waterfalls, glacial rock formations, and groves of giant redwood trees, Yosemite also delights visitors with gorgeous meadows, reservoirs, overlooks, and a collection of historic 19th century pioneer buildings. The most scenic route through the park is the 39-mile Tioga Road, but the best way to explore the park is on foot. Hiking trails through the main areas of the park allow for an up close and personal experience of Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Road, Wawona and Mariposa Grove of Giant Redwoods, Hetch Hetchy, and Tuolumne Meadows. If you'd like a guide, sign up for a two-hour Valley Floor Tour with a National Park Service ranger.
Napa / Sonoma
You'll know Northern California's wine country by the acres of vineyards lining the roads and the rows of vines covering the hillsides. The Mediterranean climate in Napa and Sonoma Valleys produces the best wine- grape growing conditions in North American. Visit world-famous wineries and boutique vineyards for tours and tastings, enjoying the scenery as much as the wine. If you visit between late August and October, you'll witness the wine harvest and crush, a thrilling experience for any true wine lover. Take a scenic drive along the historic Silverado Trail, which parallels beautiful California Highway 29 through Napa Valley. Wander through the Sonoma's historic Town Square or visit Yountville's rustic Vintage 1870, a collection of 30 specialty shops and galleries. For a glimpse of the area's history, visit Jack London's pristine Beauty Ranch and Museum, and the Sonoma Mission and Barracks.
San Francisco & Home
Enjoy one more day in the Wine Region before you leave for home, knowing that you've experienced the trip of a lifetime in the land of the Redwoods.
- Direct return flights from London (Please ask about other departure airports)
- 14 nights accommodation and room tax
- Fully insured compact car hire (larger vehicles are available)
- A detailed travel pack with itinerary and maps
Daily departures from May to September.