The first time I drove on the 101 through Crescent City in Northern California I was singularly unimpressed. At the time it seemed to be just another one of those towns on the 101 that slowed traffic because the highway just had to go through downtown. Well, times change, and so do opinions, and my feelings about Crescent City have definitely changed.
In September of 2016 I decided I needed to go hiking where there were trees… lots of trees… big trees! So, I did some research, found that Crescent City was the place to go for easy access to most of the Redwood forests, booked several nights at a local hotel there just off the 101 near the marina, and off I went!
I was still unimpressed as I entered the town once again, but I remembered the wonderful Redwood groves I’d driven through on the 101 to get here and decided to put appearances aside and see what the place had to offer.
Surprisingly, Crescent City offers a lot, aside from easy access to some of the most popular Redwood groves in Northern California, but let’s start there, for that’s the reason I came here in the first place.
Crescent City is headquarters to the Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP), a forest management cooperative of federal and state parks comprised of Redwood National Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks. Most trails and attractions in the parks are within a 30 to 45 minute drive.
Fishing and crabbing are also popular here and the city hosts many commercial fishing vessels. Climate, geology, location, and currents all contribute to an abundance of marine life.
Overall, the weather consists of a cool-summer Mediterranean climate, albeit a wet one, for the area has the highest rainfall in Northern California, a contributing factor to the prevalence of the Redwoods in the area.
Upon exploring the city, I found that once you get away from the 101, it is a really nice town, with many city and roadside parks, which every one enjoys.
And there are also the wonderful beaches… plenty of small ones and two very large ones both North and South of the city, the latter being what the town was named for.
The sound buoy (fog horn) took some getting used to. It goes off every 10 seconds, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Fortunately, it’s a gentle sound, like a soft electronic beep–not a jarring foghorn blast like you hear in movies. You even grow accustomed to it after a while, and the barking of the seals at night is much louder. Still, it can be a bit annoying when you’re miles away enjoying the trails and solitude in the Redwoods and hear the faint beep of the buoy from Crescent City off in the distance.
All-in-all, if you like hiking, exploring, fishing, surfing, or any kind of water sport, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what Crescent City has to offer.