No longer even a proverbial wide spot in the road since the US-101 freeway was diverted around it, Leggett marks the southern end of the Humboldt redwoods. At the south end of “town,” a mile from the US-101/Hwy-1 junction along the old highway, stands one of the redwood region’s most venerable and worthwhile roadside attractions, the “original” Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree (daily dawn-dusk, $5). In addition to the famous tree, which had the six-foot, nine-inch tunnel cut through it in the 1930s, there’s an above-average gift shop with a broad range of books, postcards, and schlocky souvenirs.

Nearby, the 14-acre grounds of Big Bend Lodge (707/925-2440, summer only, $149-159) has nine quaint riverfront cabins, perfect for lazy days floating, swimming, or fishing. South of Leggett, US-101 runs inland, racing toward San Francisco, while scenic Hwy-1 cuts west over the coastal mountains to Mendocino, winding slowly south along the Pacific.

Map of Pacific Coast through Northern California.
Map of Pacific Coast through Northern California.