There is simply no place quite like California’s iconic North Coast, home to Redwood National and State Parks, breathtaking ocean views, the tallest trees on Earth, the tranquil Klamath river, and the state’s largest Native American tribe. Yurok Country is within easy driving distance of the more than 200 miles of trails that meander along the beaches and through the old-growth forests, forests where some trees approach over 350 feet in height and 2,000 years of age.
We recommend exploring the Yurok Scenic Byways, an ecological and culturally rich network consisting of five tribally designated roads within the Tribe’s Ancestral Territory. Isaac Kinney, a Transportation Planner with the Yurok Tribe, told the Del Norte Triplicate, “Our mission in developing our Yurok Scenic Byways program is that presence and that native voice that is at the forefront of each and every visitor that comes to our nation’s homeland. We are a nation within a nation and we want to make sure that our interpretations has a process to go through.”
So grab your camera and explore these scenic byways on California’s North Coast for unsurpassed views of the Klamath River, wildlife, California’s Coastal Redwoods and the Pacific Ocean. The five tribally designated roads that make up the Yurok Scenic Byways are:
State Route 101 within the Yurok Ancestral Territory approximately from Little River (south) to Damnation Creek (north). As you travel along this portion of the Byway, it is easy to imagine how the coastal Yuroks were able to live off the land. Look for redwood trees, various lagoons, and the lifeblood of the Yurok People; the Klamath River.
The Highway 101 Byway and Requa Road are the two Yurok Scenic Byways that pass through the community of Klamath. Requa Road turns off Hwy 101 and winds up to the Klamath River Overlook which possesses one of the best locations for sight-seeing of the Mouth of the Klamath River.
BALD HILLS ROAD
Take in the beautiful views of rare oak grasslands, where herds of Roosevelt elk can be seen in their native habitat. The landscape on this drive is more mountainous, with wide open prairies. Bald Hills Road is a primary thoroughfare for inland residents traveling to and from the ocean. In addition, Bald Hills Road connects to Hwy 169 and Hwy 96, also part of the Yurok Scenic Byways system.
This unique highway with windy narrow lanes is mainly residential but is scheduled for major safety improvements between Weitchpec & Wautek. There are two sections of Hwy 169 with access from Hwy 101 and Hwy 96. The northern part begins at the intersection of Hwy 101/169 and follows the Klamath River approximately 4 miles ending at Klamath Glen. The southern part of Hwy 169 begins at the intersection of Hwy 96/169 (confluence of Klamath & Trinity Rivers) and follows the Klamath River north approximately 20 miles. Both Northern & Southern portions of Hwy 169 are on the Yurok Indian Reservation.
Hwy 96 begins northbound from the intersection of Hwy 299/96 in Willow Creek, following the Trinity River through Tribal lands of three Federally Recognized Tribes. Hwy 96 ends at its intersection with Interstate 5 (I-5).
On your drive, don’t miss these “MUST SEE” destinations-
NEWTON B. DRURY SCENIC PARKWAYS
Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is the scenic alternative to Hwy 101. This ten-mile (16-km) drive through old-growth redwood forest in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, takes just a few more minutes and avoids the steep grades of the park bypass.
KLAMATH RIVER OVERLOOK
Drive to Klamath River Overlook, a prime spot for watching the gray whale migration. Look for other marine mammals and a host of seabirds any time of year.
ENDERTS BEACH AND CRESCENT BEACH OVERLOOK
Stand before outstanding Pacific Ocean views from the overlook; you may even see a gray whale! Walk 1-mile to Enderts Beach, an access route to multi-colored, myriad tidepool creatures. Be sure to check low tide times. Trailers not advised.