Shoreline Hwy - Mendocino North

Overall Rating:
10 - Bucket List
09 - Dramatic
10 - Relentless
08 - Quiet, with limited passing

This is a great introduction to the iconic California route 1! From Leggett (the southern edge of redwood country), you drive a 22-mile stretch of endless 15 and 10 mph curves, closely following the rugged contours of the land. You’re generally driving through the shade of large trees that are just feet away from your car, and with no shoulder you have very little margin for error. I’ve known people to drive their RV on this highway, and the consensus seems to be “never again”. That’s a testament to the fun part of the drive, at least if you’re not driving something that resembles an ocean liner!

Once at the coast, the drive is a bit more relaxed. You’ll be treated to beautiful, wide-open ocean vistas. You still need to be on your toes however, as there are some great hairpin curves and long drops to the ocean below.

You can’t go wrong with travelling in either direction, but I’d give an edge to driving southbound from Leggett. It’s a bit more dramatic introduction to the Mendocino coast, and once along the coast there are more pull-out areas on the west (southbound) side of the highway to appreciate the views. If heading southbound, keep an eye out for the first pull-out as it gives you a nice view of the rough coastline towards the north.

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