Driving California's Trinity Scenic Byway

This gorgeous route was dubbed "From the Valley Oaks to the Redwood Coast."

Views of Mount Shasta from Heart Lake
Views of Mount Shasta from Heart Lake.
Hotaik Sung / Shutterstock

From a sun-drenched valley near Redding to the fog-cooled coast of Arcata, Highway 299 traverses a rugged slice of Northern California, snaking past forested mountains, Gold Rush towns, roaring rivers, and calm lakes. You can do the 140-mile drive in one day, but an overnight stay lets you enjoy its pleasures at a leisurely pace.

Shasta State Historic Park

The brick ruins of Shasta City still speak of a gold boom. The Blumb Bakery sometimes stokes up its wood-fired oven and the Courthouse Museum displays California art from 1850 to 1950, with works by Grace Carpenter Hudson, Percy Gray, and Emanuel Leutze.


Whiskeytown Lake

This glass-smooth body of water with 36 miles of shoreline and a commanding view of 6,209-foot-tall Shasta Bally invites a dip, boat ride, or fishing. At the visitor center, ask about the hike to the 220-foot Whiskeytown Falls.


Main Street honors its Chinese past at the Joss House, an 1874 Taoist temple, and at the Jake Jackson Museum, featuring weapons from the Tong Wars.

Big Flat

Spot the Strawhouse and you’ve found the area’s best cappuccino. Savor a cup with baked goods on the deck over the Trinity River. You’ll certainly see swimmers, kayakers, and campers; you may spy an osprey or eagle.

Willow Creek

In this region’s “Bigfoot Capital,” the Willow Creek–China Flat Museum preserves signs of Sasquatch: photos, clippings, and footprint casts.

This article was first published in September 2015 and updated in May 2023.