79 miles N of Eureka; 375 miles N of San Francisco
Crescent City has little to offer, but it makes a good base for exploring Redwood National Park and the Smith River, one of the great recreational rivers of the West. The Battery Point Lighthouse, at the foot of A Street (tel. 707/464-3089; www.lighthousefriends.com), which is accessible on foot only at low tide, houses a museum with exhibits on the coast's history. Tours of the lighthouse ($2 for adults, 50¢ for children 12 and under) are offered Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm, tides permitting, April through September.
Another draw is the Smith River National Recreation Area, east of Jedediah Smith State Park and part of Six Rivers National Forest. Headquarters is at 10600 U.S. 199, Gasquet (tel. 707/457-3131), reached via U.S. 199 from Crescent City (about a 30-min. drive). You can get maps of the forest at the Supervisor's Office in Eureka, or at either of the Redwood National Park centers in Orick and Crescent City.
The 300,000-plus acres of wilderness have five small campgrounds (with fewer than 50 sites) along the Smith River. Sixteen trails draw hikers from across the country. The easiest short trail is the McClendon Ford, which is 2 miles long and drops from 1,000 to 800 feet in elevation to the river. Other activities include mountain biking, white-water rafting, kayaking, and fishing for salmon and trout.
For information, contact the Crescent City-Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce, 1001 Front St., Crescent City, CA 95531 (tel. 800/343-8300; www.northerncalifornia.net).
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