Many people don’t mind paying to enter California’s wonderful national parks. After all, this money goes to maintaining the beauty of the parks! However, sometimes you are in the mood for a simple walk, during which you do not want to worry about entrance tickets or parking fees. Here are some of the natural wonders of Northern California you can see for free, writes Only in Your State.
1. Mount Shasta
Visible from almost anywhere in Northern California, the beauty of Mount Shasta cannot be underestimated. Rising above the landscape at 14,179 feet (4.3 km), it is considered the fifth highest peak in the state of California and definitely one of the most beloved. The mysterious power of the mountain over people is nothing new. The knowledge of Mount Shasta has been used by the Klamath tribes for thousands of years and is still the site of sacred rituals among the indigenous tribes of the region to this day. There are endless ways to enjoy everything this incredible mountain has to offer. Hiking, wildlife watching, fishing can all be done in the mountain area. From hiking and cycling in the summer to snowmobiling, skiing and sledding in the winter, there’s always something to do here.
2. Redwood National Park
Northern California’s most famous natural wonder is the redwood forests. There are many places in the region where you can enjoy the majestic beauty of the tallest trees on Earth, but Redwood National Park is one of the best. In addition to these beautiful trees, the park also boasts vast prairies, oak forests, rivers, and 40 miles (over 64 km) of rugged coastline. National and Redwood State Parks are free, except for some day-use areas. No entry fee is required to drive the scenic roads or visit the combined three state parks and the national park, making these places perfect for a carefree adventure.
3. McCloud River Falls
Waterfall lovers should definitely visit the McCloud River Falls outside the city of the same name. Finding each waterfall of the three cascades will be an unforgettable adventure in a beautiful setting. They are easily accessible via the McCloud River’s Three Falls Trail. The trail follows the river and leads directly to the lower, middle and upper falls. Although the waterfall is not the largest in the area, its unique beauty is certainly worth seeing.
4. Trinity Alps Reserve
As the second largest wilderness area in California, the Trinity Alps is a place of awe to anyone lucky enough to explore it. Known for their carved granite peaks and alpine lakes, they have an area of 500,000 acres (202,342 ha). There is no fee to visit the reserve and it is open all year round. However, be aware that some trails may not be available during the winter months. During the summer, trails like Canyon Creek are very popular and visitors should plan their visit accordingly.
5 Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Coast, located on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, is a nature reserve on the coast of Northern California. In addition to breathtaking ocean views, Point Reyes also boasts rocky headlands, sandy beaches, hillsides, forested ridges, and over 1,500 plant and animal species! There is no better place to enjoy the beauty of the magnificent coastline. The entrance is free.
6 Sacramento River
California’s largest river, the Sacramento River, flows south for 400 miles (644 km) from the Klamath Mountains to San Francisco Bay. In addition to its stunning beauty, the river is incredibly important to much of California due to its water supply and hydroelectric power. The river provides water for more than half of the state’s population and supports the most productive agricultural areas in the country!
7. Lake Tahoe
The jewel of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, Lake Tahoe is a natural wonder like no other. Second in size only to the five Great Lakes (and second deepest to Crater Lake), Tahoe is one of Northern California’s most popular tourist attractions. While much of the lake’s shoreline has been developed with resorts and parks, you’ll find that there are plenty of places where you can enjoy the crystal clear beauty of the lake for free, such as B State Park Van Sickle, Commons Beach Park, or Lake Forest Beach. .
8 Cypress Tree Tunnel
The famous Cypress Tree Tunnel is technically part of the Point Reyes National Seashore, but it’s such a cool place that it deserves a separate mention! You may have seen pictures of this unique place on the web as it is one of the most photographed natural wonders in Northern California. Comprised of Monterey cypress trees, the tunnel is spectacular at sunset as the light hits the trees at this beautiful moment.