The West's best road trips

Satisfy your wanderlust with a Western classic--a great road trip. Get ideas for the best routes and where to eat along the way

Ultimate California Highway 1 road trip

Drive. Dine. Walk. Gawk. Find joy. Explore 735 gorgeous miles of the iconic road with these essential stops along the way

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Sea Ranch to Rockport
Thomas J. Story

Sea Ranch to Rockport

The northernmost stretch of Highway 1 is moody. One hour it’s fog-wrapped and brooding. An hour later, a gentle sun gives highway, forest, and ocean a brilliant sparkle. The road skirts coastal towns that hug cliff tops (Elk) and pose tidily on bluffs (Mendo­cino). Rivers—the Navarro, the Little, the Big—curve beneath bridges as they meet the sea. This remains a working coast. Fort Bragg’s still a fishing port, and you may share the road with a logging truck. Above Rockport, Highway 1 bends inland toward its terminus at U.S. 101 at Leggett. Before that, linger among the redwoods that line its final miles: They’re stunning, unforgettable, like Highway 1.

Miles: 90 | Most recent value of year’s catch from Fort Bragg: $6.8 million | Number of B&Bs in Mendocino Village: 46 | Steps up Point Arena Lighthouse: 145

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