The Yuba River winds gently through the heart of gold country. A gentle trail follows the cliffs along the river, leading to spectacular views. And yes, there is still gold to be found in the river if you want to go panning.
Plumas Eureka is a hidden gem of granite cliffs and quiet rivers, nestled in the Sierra Mountains. We found ourselves completely alone in the park on a cold winter day, an eerie reminder of how it must of been when the gold miners left, and perhaps an eerier foreshadowing of a day when these parks are closed.
Henry Coe is one of the largest state parks. The beauty of Henry Coe lies in its simplicity. Rolling green hills spotted with gnarled oaks, soft forests, wildflowers in bloom, acorn woodpeckers filling trees with holes to store their acorns, wild turkeys running across the fields, ponds full of tadpoles. None of this seems out of the ordinary, and yet the balance of elements is near perfect here.
UPDATE: Returning to Henry Coe, we found some wild tarantulas, and managed to get a better look at the ubiquitous acorn woodpeckers. We also learned that Coe will remain open for at least 3 more years thanks to the efforts of a non-profit organization.
Point Cabrillo is one of the few remaining active lighthouses along the Pacific coast. A quick glance at the sharp rocks jutting from the waves explains why this beautiful building is still used as a navigation aid.
Jug Handle provides a small but impressive sampling of the varied terrain of Northern California. The highlight of Jug Handle is the ecological staircase trail, a gentle climb from the rocky coast leading through a remarkable variety of flora to a quiet redwood grove.
Greenwood State Beach is ugly. Don’t go visit it. It is not a quiet, beautiful cove with native plants and ornate driftwood, waves crashing against the delicate rock arches. In fact, we should just close it so no one else has to come here.
There’s a steep trail from the parking area at Standish-Hickey down to the Eel river, and some of the visitors seemed none-too-pleased on the way back up, but the reward is a perfect summer spot for swimming, hiking and fishing.