Sitting on the median of Highway 101 in Crescent City, a few miles south of the Oregon Border, just as the road turns east, is a big chunk of concrete, which is worth visiting. It is a piece of rip-rap, a designed concrete piece, that looks like a child's jacks. It's purpose
is to protect a shore front from the erosion of waves. This specific piece of rip-rap was from a project for a jetty in Crescent City, sometime before 1964. As a memorial to the project, it was placed on a concrete pad next to the highway. The project people or the citizens of Crescent City must has thought it was artistic or just interesting to look at. On March 27, 1964, this big chunk of concrete become much more interesting. It's about four feet tall, with four legs, arranged in a tetrahedron. It weighs several tons and is about a mile from the shore. Originally, it was centered on this purpose built concrete pad, three legs seated, the fourth leg up. It's now several feet from it's original position with one leg off the pad and another at the edge. The force that moved this large mass was the flow of water from the tsunami following the Good Friday Earthquake in Alaska. A visit to Crescent City is about nature and oddly staring at a large inert man-made mass is a fitting way to start. Imagine the wave height and volume that generated that force. Look at the distance. Then you can start mentally forming a picture of the scale and forces of nature on that specific day.
The rest of your time in Crescent City should also be about nature, specifically water and trees. Much of coastal Del Norte County is covered in dense ethereal forest. The groves near Crescent City that are worth a look and hike include Jedediah Smith State Park and Stout Grove. Both contain reasonably easy hikes for views of amazing trees. If you want to just drive for the views, try Howland Hill Road. It is dirt and can be rough, but any car will be fine, if you just just slow down. There are several beach fronts and water areas, all suitable for hiking, watching seals, and tide pooling. Beachfront Park has readily accessible tide pools and a great playground for kids to simply burn off energy. Other waterfront walks include B Street Pier and Lagoon Creek.
A couple of notes about these areas. Leave seals alone. Hopefully you don't need to be told this, but they are wild animals, federal protected wild animals. They have become partially accustomed to people, but not in the same way as pigeons in a park. Lagoons are a North Coast thing. They build sand in the summer. The rainy season breaks them in the winter and they become temporarily part of the ocean again, only to build back to a full lagoon in the spring and summer.
A lot of hiking and awe will lead to hunger pangs. Crescent City has you covered with good local fare. Two very local spots are worth consideration, Chart Room Marina & Restaurant, and Cristina’s. Christina's is a Mexican place. You might be hesitant since you can get Mexican anywhere. True enough, but this is well prepared so don't hesitate if the Mexican urge strikes. The Chart Room Marina & Restaurant is exactly what it sounds like, good seafood with a local kick.
Since that tragic March day, Crescent City has done much to prepare for future tsunamis and a couple smaller ones have occurred. The people who live here accept this as the trade for living in an area with stunning nature and a quiet relaxing calm. It's a perfect mix of being active and simply being.
San Luis Obispo Blog
We look to provide ideas to get folks away from the couch, and out exploring California. We aim to provide day-trips. We want to provide suggestions of things to do, in a single day. Whether you're from out-of-town, or looking to get to know the our magnificent section of California (and beyond) a little better....we want to inspire you to explore.