4 of the Best Scenic Drives in Northern California
Do you need to escape for a bit and experience some stunning scenery? A scenic drive in Northern California is what you need. After all, it’s not always just about the destination. It’s also about the journey. Pristine lakes, rolling hills, towering trees, and wildlife will encompass you along the way! Below, you’ll find some of our favorite scenic drives in Northern California.
If you’re seeking additional activities and places to see, check out our Sierra Foothills Vacation Guide. It’s free to use and will save you lots of time when you’re planning your trip.
Scenic Drives in Northern California
1. Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway
Best Drive: Taking day trips from Murphys to a state park.
This route begins in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and flows through the state for 61 miles. It links up with essential Northern California attractions, such as Calaveras Big Tree State Park and Grover Hot Springs State Park. As you travel along this scenic byway, views of ancient volcanic peaks, majestic giant sequoia, and flowing rivers will enthrall you. You might even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle!
2. Highway 26
Best Drive: Traveling to Murphys from San Francisco.
This drive is unique because it has an amazing standout attraction along the way: Valley Springs. Valley Springs is an area in Gold Country that is home to three beautiful reservoirs. When traveling from San Francisco, it only takes about two hours to reach this pit stop, and then another 30 minutes to reach Murphys.
3. Redwood Highway
Best Drive: Anytime you’d like to take a road trip to see the Redwoods.
The Redwood Highway is easily one of the best driving roads in Northern California. The drive starts at the Oregon border on US-199 and travels south to US-101, which makes for a beautiful ride along the Pacific Coast. Along this route, you’ll be mesmerized by the towering Redwood trees and breathtaking forests. Feel free to stop along the Avenue of the Giants to see some of the most noteworthy Redwoods.
4. The Yosemite Valley Loop
Best Drive: Taking a day trip from Murphys to Yosemite National Park.
The Yosemite Valley Loop is the ultimate way to soak in the park’s most stunning landmarks. You’ll pass the iconic El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall, and maybe a mountain lion! You can also park at various trailheads along the way to go hiking, climbing, fishing, or biking. In the center of the loop, you’ll find interesting shops and restaurants.
Begin (or End) Your Adventure at Courtwood Inn
Whether you’re coming or going, Courtwood Inn needs to be a stop on your itinerary. Our tranquil, cedar log lodge is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate after a long drive. We offer an array of packages so you can make the most out of your stay.
Our tennis packages are a ball! They include free play, lessons, and specials for groups or couples. We also have a massage package with personalized treatments to give you a truly therapeutic experience.
When you stay in our Davis Cup Room, you’ll have a private entrance with a patio on the lower level. This room is an ideal spot to enjoy the views of the gorgeous mountains. Check our availability and begin planning your scenic drives in Northern California. We can’t wait to have you!