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Trinity Scenic Byway

Designated a scenic highway in 1991, this gorgeous route was dubbed "From the Valley Oaks to the Redwood Coast."

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  • two rafts floating on the Trinity River, image
    Photo caption
    A kayak and a raft float lazily through a gentle stretch of the Trinity River.
  • outside of Weaverville Joss House State Park, image
    Photo caption
    Decorative red doors welcome visitors to the Weaverville Joss House, a Taoist temple from 1874.

 

From a sun-drenched valley near Redding to the fog-cooled coast of Arcata, Highway 299 traverses a rugged slice of Northern California, snaking past forested mountains, Gold Rush towns, roaring rivers, and calm lakes. You can do the 140-mile drive in one day, but an overnight stay lets you enjoy its pleasures at a leisurely pace.

Shasta State Historic Park The brick ruins here still speak of a gold boom. The Blumb Bakery sometimes stokes up its wood-fired oven and the Courthouse Museum displays California art from 1850 to 1950, with works by Grace Carpenter Hudson, Percy Gray, and Emanuel Leutze.  parks.ca.gov.

Whiskeytown Lake This glass-smooth body of water with 36 miles of shoreline and a commanding view of 6,209-foot-tall Shasta Bally invites a dip, boat ride, or fishing. At the visitor center, ask about the hike to the 220-foot Whiskeytown Falls.

Weaverville Main Street honors its Chinese past at the Joss House, an 1874 Taoist temple, and at the Jake Jackson Museum, featuring weapons from the tong wars.

Big Flat Spot the Strawhouse and you’ve found the area’s best cappuccino. Savor a cup with baked goods on the deck over the Trinity River. You’ll certainly see swimmers, kayakers, and campers; you may spy an osprey or eagle.

Willow Creek In this region’s “Bigfoot Capital,” the Willow Creek–China Flat Museum preserves signs of Sasquatch: photos, clippings, and footprint casts.

Arcata Back at sea level (on Highway 101, two miles south of the junction with Highway 299), grab a creative pizza at Folie Douce.

Photography by Zack Frank/Shutterstock (Joss); Pecold/Shutterstock (Trinity River)

 

This article was first published in September 2015. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.