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In Your Backyard: Northern California Road Trip

A road trip along the Northern California coast will require a good number of hours behind the wheel, but the views are worth it.

In this edition of "In Your Backyard," FOX26 Sports Anchor Nick King is on a road trip along the Northern California coast. It's an area that's much less quieter and less crowded than the rest of the state, but certainly holds its own in natural beauty.

The idea for this trip was to do a whole bunch of hiking and exploring, while mixing in some rest steps at craft breweries. The reasoning behind the breweries was twofold - for one, the outdoors ties into the beer on multiple levels. Let's let folks at several of the breweries explain:

Eel River Brewing's Matt Vivatson: "A lot of new school, active people are also into the beer culture. I don’t know how exactly it gets so intertwined, but it absolutely does. It's something that, it's not just for old drunks. It's a culture unto its own now."

North Coast Brewing's Joe Seta: "It takes a certain kind of individual to be up here. We’re caught between the Pacific to our West, mountains to our East...Redwoods...where we are helps define the beer. If we weren’t here, it wouldn’t taste the same.”

Additionally, some of the best breweries in the country are in Northern California. Eel River was the country's first certified organic brewery. Lost Coast and North Coast, as well as Bear Republic, were on the Brewers Association list of Top 50 craft breweries in the country for 2016. If you include the Bay Area, you'd also find Gordon Biersch, 21st Amendment and Anchor Brewing.

So, with a sober driver of course, here's what the 3 1/2 day trip looked like, starting and ending in Fresno. Most of the stops the first two days are interchangeable, as you'll be coming back down the 101 on day two.

Day One - Fresno to Patricks Point (just north of Eureka), via Highway 101 - about 7.5 to 8 hours without the stops

Drink stops: Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa; Bear Republic Brewing in Healdsburg; Mendocino Brewing Company in Hopland

Hike stops: Patricks Point State Park

Camping: Patricks Point State Park, Agate Site

Day Two - Patricks Point to Jug Handle Creek Farm (just south of Fort Bragg), via Highway 101 and Highway 1 - about 3.5 hours without the stops

Drink stops: Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka; Eel River Brewing in Fortuna

Hike stops: Elk Head Trail; Trinidad Head Loop; Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Camping: Jug Handle Creek Farm

Day Three - Fort Bragg to Point Reyes National Seashore, via Highway 1 - about 3.5 hours without the stops

Drink stops: North Coast Brewing

Hike stops: Jug Handle Ecological Staircase Trail; Glass Beach; Point Arena Lighthouse area; Gualala Point Regional Park; Sonoma Coast State Park; Point Reyes Cypress Tree Tunnel; Point Reyes Lighthouse

Camping: Samuel P. Taylor State Park


Day Four - Point Reyes National Seashore to Fresno - about 3.5 hours

Drive home!


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