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What To Know About Hiking California's Stunning Pacific Coast

The Western 1 / 2 of america boasts many massive and stunning mountain ranges. You will find the Rockies, the Sierra Nevadas, the Cascades, and the Coast Ranges – they are all geologically distinct ranges with their own geologic histories. Hiking with these different ranges provides for very different experiences.

California is a truly remarkable state with incredible diversity. Its Sierra Nevadas are full of natural wonders like Yosemite, the Sequoia Giants, and King's Canyon National Park. It may be argued that California and also the North american are the most useful places on the planet for any road trip.

Options to consider About California's Coast Ranges

California boasts the stunning Coast Ranges. These mountains span some 400 miles or 644 kilometers and stretch from Del Norte or Humboldt Country to Santa Barbara County both in California.

The four coastal ranges in California are:

  • The Coast Ranges
  • The Transverse Ranges
  • The Peninsular Ranges
  • The Klamath Mountains

The northern end of California's Coast Ranges overlap using the southern end of the Klamath Mountains and satisfy the La Transverse Ranges at their southern terminus.

  • Length: 400 miles or 644 kilometers

The rocks within the range represent a variety of geological periods such as the Tertiary, Cretaceous, and Jurassic periods. Whereas much of the rock of the Sierra Nevada Ranges is hard granite, most of the rock from the Coast Ranges was formed from sea bottom sediments. Although there will also be places of igneous rock infused into crevices and cracks.

Over the millions of years, the range continues to be folded and faulted and far of the softer rock has been eroded away. The Coast Ranges are stunning and part of UNESCO's “California Coast Ranges Biosphere Reserve” since 1983.

The California Coast Ranges can be split up into the Northern Coast Ranges and also the Southern Coast Ranges.

Northern Coast Ranges:

The Northern Coast Ranges are subdivided into the Outer and Inner ranges running parallel to each other. Typically, U.S. Route 101 runs in the valley between these ranges.

The Outer range is filled with lush forests of Coast Redwood and Coast Douglas-fir (because the range extends into the California coastal forests ecoregion). The inner range is dryer and it is a part of the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion.

  • Mount Linn: Highest Point Of The Northern Coast Ranges At 8,098 ft. (2,468 m)

Southern Coast Ranges:

The Southern Coast Ranges begin around the San Francisco Peninsula and extend right down to Santa Barbara County. These ranges include the Berkeley Hills, the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Diablo Range, and others.

  • Junipero Serra Peak: The Highest Point Of The Southern Coast Ranges At 5,862 feet (1,787 m)

The Southern Coast Ranges have mostly a Mediterranean climate.

Pacific Crest Trail

For those wanting to discover a lot more compared to Coast Ranges, there is the massive Pacific Crest Trail. This trail spans 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers) and stretches from Mexico to Canada.

  • Length: 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers)
  • Extends: From Mexico To Canada Through California, Oregon, and Washington

The Pacific Crest Trail slices very diverse terrain and ecosystems. It runs through deserts, the Sierra Nevada, through forests, and round the eye-catching volcanic peaks in the Cascade Range.

While most people only hike small segments of the trail. There are several die-hards who manage to hike the entire period of it in one season.

The Pacific Crest Trail features its own dedicated website where one can learn more information about the scenic trail.

Hikes In The Coast Ranges

There are lots of hikes throughout the ranges which is difficult to list out them out here. But listed here are an example from the Southern and northern Ranges.

Peter Douglas Trail:

The Peter Douglas Trail is located in Mendocino County and is a 2.3 mile extension of the Lost Coast Trail. Along this trail one will discover ancient redwoods shaped like candelabras by wind and salty air.

  • Access: From Usal Road, from Highway One
  • Tip: Camp In the Primitive Campsites In Sinkyone Wilderness State Park

These trees aren't similar to their staight towering column-shaped relatives, but they are forced sprout branches close to the ground that droop like velvet ropes in a theater.

Along this trail you will see dramatic views of the rugged Lost Coast, old-growth Douglas first, plus much more.

Wilder Ranch State Park & Old Cove Landing Trail:

The Old Cove Landing Trail in Santa Cruz, is one of the most scenic in the region and offers a 2.5 mile coastal trek. It's called an excellent spot for wild flowers and it is in the Wilder Ranch State Park. The trail results in the beach and something can walk across the bluff towards the cove.

The park is a majestic region boasting grasslands, oaks, knobcone pines, coastal redwoods, douglas firs, rugged coastline, tidepools, hidden beaches, Victorian farmhouses, and more.

  • Length: 2.5 Miles – Old Cove Landing Trail
  • Wilder Range: Total of 34 Miles of Trails

In all the Wilder Ranch includes a total of 34 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails winding through coastal terraces and valleys.

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