Discover the Adventure
Del Norte County California Attractions

Explore Del Norte County California!

Del Norte County California is all about the outdoors! Its attractions include old-growth Redwoods and meadows; tide pools and sea stacks; wild and dam-free rivers...

It's a place to commune with nature, and to challenge yourself. Whether you're camping in the Redwoods, fishing the streams and rivers, or exploring the kitschy roadside attractions, you'll love Del Norte!

Some people even go so far as to call Del Norte County the real Northern California because so much of it is still so wild, rugged, and untouched! Traveling through Del Norte, you could almost imagine what NorCal was like a hundred or two hundred years ago!

Do you have a favorite NorCal story?
From a family visit from years ago to something
you discovered last weekend,
Share it with the rest of us
- we'd love to learn about it!

Finding the right hotel just got a whole lot easier -

The Redwoods of Del Norte County California

Sequoia sempervirens, AKA Coast Redwoods, or just plain Redwoods, range from southern Oregon to Central California, but nowhere are they more prolific or more beautiful than in Del Norte County California!

The tallest trees in the world, and the oldest, Redwoods thrive in the moisture and moderate temperatures of coastal Northern California.

The natural fog belt of this area allows Redwoods to thrive for up to 2500 years, and reach heights of over 360 feet! Imagine - 2500 years; that's 25 centuries!

Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

Established in 1927, Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP is approximately 50 percent old growth Coast Redwood and has eight miles of wild coastline. It's a foggy coastal rainforest consisting of dense forest, open meadows, magnificent ocean views, sandy beaches, and lively tide pools filled with mussels and barnacles, sea anemones and starfish.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Established in 1929, Jedediah Smith is primarily an old growth Coast Redwood forest named after Jedediah Strong Smith, the first white man to explore the interior of northern California. It's bisected by California's only remaining free and wild (i.e., no dams) river.

Because Jedediah is further inland and has no ocean access - and most visitors don't venture too far inland), this park is sparsely visited - think Waldon Pond privacy! You'll find quiet Redwood groves and peaceful meadows, abundant wildlife, summer swimming holes, and rhododendrons bursting with bloom in the Spring.

Redwood National Park

Straddling Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, Redwood National
contains not only the beautiful, awe-inspiring, tallest trees in the world, but vast prairies, wild coastline, deeply cut valleys, and ancient oak woodlands as well. It's also home to majestic herds of Roosevelt elk!

Del Norte parks, Prairie Creek Redwood SP (in Humboldt County), Jedediah Smith, and Redwood National Park (in both Del Norte and Humboldt Counties) are intertwined both geographically, and in their management. All are managed jointly by the National Park Serve and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Six Rivers National Forest

Comprised of both National Forest acres and acres of other ownership (such as Smith River National Recreation Area, below), Six Rivers lies in Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity, and Siskiyou Counties.

And, unlike some housing developments that are named for things that never existed within them (even before the houses came along), Six Rivers actually does have six rivers: the Smith River, the Klamath River, the Trinity River, the Mad River, the Van Duzen River, and the Eel River.

Smith River National Recreation Area

Set within Six Rivers National Forest you'll find the Smith River National Recreation Area, with the wild and scenic river it shares with Jedediah Smith Park, its old growth Redwoods, and water sports, its trails for horseback riding, biking, and hiking, and its wilderness.

Trees of Mystery

Trees of Mystery is one of those iconic kitschy roadside attractions that we occasionally run into along the highways and byways of American culture - sort of our little guilty pleasure. This one was once featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not).

Starting its life over 50 years ago as a tribute to the myth and mythology of Paul Bunyan, you're greeted today by giant replicas of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox, Babe, waving and welcoming you to the Redwood forest.

This picture was taken in 1953, before Paul's figure was built.

You'll want to stroll through Trail of Tall Tales with it's chain-sawed Redwood characters that represent various Paul Bunyan legends, visit the End of the Trail Indian Museum (one of the best collections in the world), and ride the Skytrail aerial gondola through the Redwood forest canopy!

Tour Thru Tree

One of three trees with tunnels in the North State, the Klamath Tour-Thru-Tree is the only one in Del Norte County California (the other two are in Humboldt County CA).

The tunnel was created in 1976 with a chainsaw, and the tree is purportedly over 700 years old.

Although, in light of today's enlightened thinking, I'm not hugely in favor of chainsawing holes through perfectly healthy trees to create a tourist attraction, no matter how lucrative - especially trees that have attained the ripe young age of 700 plus years (young in Redwood years) - Redwood trees are amazing creatures.

Because of their unique structure, they can fall victim to all sorts of natural and man-made disasters and still survive!

You can bear testament to this remarkable fact if you walk through the tunnel and look up - the tree was struck by lightning at some time during its long past (perhaps even multiple times), and you can see the sky out through the top of the tree.

The Waters of Del Norte County California

Water plays almost as big a role for Del Norte County California visitors as do the Redwoods. Starting with the Pacific Ocean, which has such a profound influence on the weather patterns of the area, and ending with the many lakes, rivers and streams, water provides livelihoods as well as recreation.

The Pacific Ocean

In addition to providing the moisture, fog, and temperate climate necessary to the health of the Redwoods, the ocean and its plates make the area susceptible to tsunamis (as happened in 1964), and the occasional freak typhoon (1971).

The weather here is never easy, but it's what makes Del Norte County California the uniquely wild and beautiful place that it is.

All along the Pacific Coast you'll find coastal birds and fish, rocky primitive beaches, unique plants and flowers, tide pools and sea stacks, hiking trails, historic lighthouses, cliff-top vistas, and even Redwoods running right up to the sea.

Crescent City Harbor

Visit Crescent City Harbor - home to commercial fishing fleets (they seek, at various times of the year, salmon, shrimp, tuna, cod, and Dungeness Crab). You'll also find whale watching, scuba diving, and fishing charters, sailing, access to two historic lighthouses - you can even partake of some excellent crabbing from Citizens' Wharf.

Northcoast Marine Mammal Center

Located in Crescent City's Beachfront Park, the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center rescues and rehabilitates stranded, sick or injured Seals, Sea Lions, Dolphins, Porpoises and Whales. Visit the kiosks and outdoor pens to learn about the importance of our marine environment, and about the rescue operations.

Ocean World

Just off Highway 101, not far from Crescent City Harbor, you'll find Ocean World (once called Under Sea Gardens and then Undersea World). Take an interactive guided tour of the facility to visit the aquarium and experience the interactive tide pool and shark-petting exhibits. Don't forget to take a look around the extensive and well-stocked gift shop.

Tide Pools

Tide pools dot the coastline around Crescent City, and indeed all of Del Norte County. Walk along the Coastal Trail to Hidden Beach, explore Pebble Beach - which is also a good spot for agate hunting - Point St. George, and Redwood National Park Crescent Beach are just a few of the spots that offer excellent tide pool opportunities. Visit Discover Northern California's Tide Pool Tips because life in a tidal pool is harsh.

The Rivers and Streams

Del Norte County California rivers and streams offer camping sites, salmon fishing, birding, kayaking and rafting, jet boat tours...

Everything from calm and peaceful eddies to white water excitement.

Best known of Del Norte's rivers are the Klamath River - named for the Klamath Indian tribe - includes many of the longest free-flowing stretches of river in California...

And the Smith River - the only river left in California that is completely wild and free (meaning no dams or other man-made structures to get in the way of its free-flowing waters).

The Lighthouses of Del Norte County California

Mural of St. George Reef Lighthouse; Photographer UnknownMural of St. George Reef Lighthouse;
Photographer Unknown

Battery Point Lighthouse

One of the first lighthouses on the California coast, Battery Point Lighthouse was built on a tiny islet that is surrounded by the ocean except at low tide, when it's possible to walk out the islet and back. Time your visit to the lighthouse and museum with care or you may not make it back to shore!

St. George Reef Lighthouse

Even more remote and harder to reach is the St. George Reef Lighthouse! It sits on a tiny Northwest Seal Rock (only 300 feet in diameter), and is regularly battered by storms with waves that sometimes exceed 70 feet.

How do you tour such a remote lighthouse? By helicopter, of course!

Weather permitting, your tour will take off from the Crescent City Airport, land you on the caisson roof near the base of the tower where you'll be greeted and shown around for about an hour.

Believe it or not, I've merely scratched the surface when it comes to Del Norte County California attractions, but I think you can see what a special place this is - and why some folks call it the real Northern California!

For more about Del Norte County Attractions, visit:

Please continue your exploration of what Northern California has to offer by using the Nav Bars in the left and right columns or by using the links at the bottom of the page.

Search this Site

Like what you're finding here at Discovering Northern California? Then please share with the Social Network of your choice.

And thanks for coming!