Outdoor adventures in Northern California is as diverse as its people.
There’s many great places to go for... swimming, canoeing, sea kayaking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, camping, backpacking, fishing, road biking, horseback riding, and even snow skiing, and more.
With so many outdoor adventures to do... we thought we’d just pick five activities and start exploring.
So, ready to get started?
Okay... first, for all you rock climbing enthusiasts... here’s...
This is an exhilarating outdoor adventure. But did you know that Northern California has some of the most diverse rock climbing areas in the United States? Well we do.
From bouldering on the beaches, to spending days on the towering walls of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, the Golden Gate state offers a variety of unique climbing experiences.
Take the Lake Tahoe area - for example - outdoor adventures here... includes generous access to impeccable granite and basalt climbing; ranging from mild to moderate to extreme.
Climb the multi-pitch classics on clean granite and test your strength and endurance working out on sport routes.
There’s lots of great rock climbing opportunities just minutes from South Lake Tahoe.
Experienced climbers - visit one of several local sport shops to get detailed information about climbing routes.
Beginners - quickly build your skills and confidence by following the lead of an experienced climbing guide on your first few outings.
The Sunset Boulders - in Goat Rock State Park, about 2 miles south of Jenner on Hwy.1 - lies in a quiet pasture overlooking a lonely stretch of beach.
It was the first climbing area on the Sonoma Coast; also the first bouldering area and is still the most popular.
Its easy access and short top ropes makes it a great place for beginners as well as hardcore boulder climbers.
The rock’s crimpy, sharp, and solid with good incut edges and slopers.
Castle Crags State Park - on I-5 between Redding and Mt. Shasta in the town of Castella - has granite domes, walls, and spires. Some 40 or more established traditional routes and many undeveloped areas as well.
Feather River Canyon area on Highway 70 - like Grizzley Dome has some 25 or so established routes. A great place for outdoor adventurists of all levels.
By the way... there’s a guidebook for Northern California rock climbing called... "California Road Trip - A Climber's Guide to Northern California" by Slater and Summit; about 450 pages covering some 2,000 routes - with maps, photos, and more.
Might be a good addition to take with you before heading out. You can get it at maximuspress.com.
Now here's another fun outdoor adventure. It's for you whitewater rafting adventurists...
Try the American River - a great outdoor whitewater rafting adventure for the whole family.
Fun and excitement to enjoy with your kids; while creating wonderful memories of time spent together on the river.
Truckee River - the closest summer whitewater rafting near Lake Tahoe and Reno.
It’s fun and exciting. Take in a guided 7-mile whitewater adventure… with many Class 2-3 rapids for the first 6 miles and an exciting Class 3+ rapids during the last mile.
North Fork Yuba River - offers both veterans and active first-timers, a variety of Class 3 - Class 5 whitewater rafting thrills.
Gold Country and Sierra Nevada California whitewater rafting trips run all summer. And they’re close to great vacation areas like Lake Tahoe, Reno, Sacramento and San Francisco.
Escaping to some beautiful uncrowded Northern California rivers like in the Trinity Alps - try the Smith River Recreation Area and the Siskiyou Mountain areas near Mount Shasta.
The Lower Klamath River and the main Trinity River has some of the best rafting trips for families as well.
Okay... now for you mountain bikers who enjoy exciting outdoor adventures, how about...
Touring the wide open spaces of Modoc County... up in the north-eastern part of California. Get really close and personal with the High Desert Outback.
The Modoc Wildlife Refuge is a 12-mile route suitable for beginners.
Alturas, California has lots of county roads used for mountain biking. Just ask the locals or check with the local sporting goods store.
Dry Creek Basin's - a longer, steeper 26-mile loop.
Ft. Bidwell/Eagleville - Offers a nice ride from Fort Bidwell south through Cedarville and Eagleville - a flat and scenic route.
Enjoy the spectacular views of the Warner Mountains, and the Upper, Middle and Lower Alkali Lakes.
Mountain biking on the trails in the Shasta Cascades - Like Bailey Cove Loop, for example. Ranked a class 3 trail... some of the parts are filled with cliffs, others... rocky and rooty. Enjoy the views of Shasta Lake on this well-built trail.
Humboldt County has some challenging mountain bike trail in areas such as...
The Paradise Royale Mountain Bike Trail - in the King Range National Conservation area
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park - that adjoins Redwood National Park
And the fireroads in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
The coastal area in Mendocino County has some great mountain biking if you know where to look.
Local bikers share their knowledge of the many miles of biking trails. And if you ask, they’ll happily take individuals and small groups on beginning, intermediate, or advanced rides.
Okay... for you hiking enthusiasts who like the fresh air and mother nature, how about...
Crooked Lake Trail to Penner Lake - about a six-mile, easy hiking trail, with many lakes to relax by or swim in... located near Emigrant Gap California.
McArthur Burney Falls State Park Loop - located in the Shasta Cascade mountains - just forty miles north of Lassen Volcanic National Park - this one mile hike starts at about 2,750 ft - loops around Burney Falls in a clockwise direction... overlooking the waterfalls from above - peaking out at about 2,900 ft - and descends down into the valley. You’ll enjoy the force of nature - up close.
The hike back takes you along a short set of switchbacks... letting you capture more views of the falls.
Mount Tallac - Lake Tahoe - starting around 6,400 ft - this 9½ mile journey takes you to the top - showcasing the most breath-taking views from its summit 9,735ft above sea level. This jewel in the crown of the mountain... rings Lake Tahoe.
Getting trail maps from trailspotting.com - takes you through lush forest, along scenic ridgelines... across lush high-altitude meadows... past small alpine lakes.
Yes... the 3,500 ft elevation gain might be greater than you’d experience on most day hikes, but both the journey and the destination are worth every single thigh-burning step.
Remember to register for your Desolation Wilderness permit - FREE to day hikers - at the Mount Tallac trailhead.
And backpackers... be sure to arrange for your REQUIRED permits to be paid for in advance.
Mackerricher State Park - 3 miles North of Fort Bragg, off Highway 1 - has a maze of canyons abundant with sea life. The swim out is just as interesting as the dive.
The south side can be treacherous, but... diveable during calm seas; great for abalone divers during ab season.
An excellent site for beginners as well as advanced. Good for snorkelers, too.
Glass Beach - the North end of Fort Bragg, turn West from Highway 1 on Elm Street - has a lot of rock fish, crabs, abalone and kelp.
Colorful as the surf-polished glass that covers it, Glass Beach was once the site of a glass bottling factory. Many years ago, it served as the town dump. But there are still many treasures to uncover on this dive!
When it's calm... it’s just like diving in a well maintained aquarium.
Be careful of sharps sticking out of rocks near & on shore. It's still a very interesting place to dive!
Caspar Bay - 5 miles South of Fort Bragg on Highway 1 - on a good day, it's BEAUTIFUL!
It’s about 30 or so feet near the mouth of cove. The south side is very interesting... sandy bottom with huge rock formations, some jetting straight up to the surface. And lots of fish like... abalone, huge sea urchins, star fish, anemones, and kelp.
Russian Gulch State Park - 8 miles South of Fort Bragg, and 2 miles North of Mendocino on Highway 1.
The underwater scenery along the left side of the cove near the entrance is remarkable... valleys and huge boulders with lots of fish like... kelp, nudibranch and more.
There’s many, many more adventures to explore in Northern California. And we’re just getting started.
Later... we’ll explore fun things to do like... kayaking, sports fishing, bungee jumping, parasailing, hang gliding, water skiing, jet skiing, cross country skiing, panning for gold, and more...
So keep checking back.