Drive through mountain passes and towering woodland in the north’s great outdoors
Northern California has plenty to see beyond San Francisco, and makes for a spectacular self-drive holiday. For outdoor types especially, Lake Tahoe holidays are perfect.
Nature lovers will fall for the forests which sprawl to the borders with Oregon and Nevada. The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is defined by mountains, lakes and woodland. Mount Shasta – the ‘White Mountain’ – looms large on the horizon, tempting climbers to brave its snow-capped peak.
From Shasta, travel westward to the North Coast and one of California’s natural wonders, Redwood National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site protects nearly half of the world’s tallest trees. The canopy is lush and green for a reason – annual rainfall averages 150-200 centimetres. Be sure to bring waterproof outerwear and shoes with decent grip, especially if you’re visiting between October and April.
Nature continues to impress in NorCal’s Gold Country. Straddling the California-Nevada border, sapphire-blue Lake Tahoe is circled by majestic peaks. During winter, schuss down slopes at some of the country’s top alpine resorts here, from Squaw Valley to Heavenly. In summer, many of these same resorts offer fair-weather fun including dizzyingly high gondola rides and great mountain bike trails.
Situated 175 kilometres west of Lake Tahoe, the state capital of Sacramento is famous for its farm-to-fork fare. Here you can chow down on seasonal dishes, browse farmer’s markets full of fresh produce and sample cracking craft beer at the city’s microbreweries.