Discover a hidden California along Highway 20

Lisa Taggart  – September 1, 2004

The layers of fog off the coast of Fort Bragg amplify and diffuse the light from the setting sun, each becoming a luminous streak on the horizon. I’ve driven 214 miles across California to arrive at this spot on Glass Beach.

After hiking in the High Sierra, wine tasting in Nevada City, sipping a smoothie in sweltering Marysville, and picnicking by Lake Mendocino―crossing six counties and about 60 creeks, dropping nearly 6,000 feet, and cutting through forests, foothills, flatlands, and fog―I sure do appreciate soaking my feet.

Much has been written about traveling up and down California, tracing its coast or mountains. But an east-west voyage offers a more expansive and more reflective experience. From Yuba Gap in the Sierra to State 1 on the coast, State Highway 20 meanders through a less-glorified cross section of the state, past small mining, farming, timber, and fishing towns that have quietly shaped California.

Next: Start in the Sierra

Across the Great Valley

Lake Country to the Coast

Backroad Discovery


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