I finally made it out to Usal Beach. It’s a trip I’ve wanted to take for a while to exercise my right as a backwoods country bumpkin, driving on the beach! I recommend going to Willits and cutting over on HWY20 so you can hit Fort Bragg on your way through. It’s a beautiful town. As soon as you hit it, you’ll be charmed by the ocean-side appeal. Here is the route I took (click link to open map in a new window).
This is the first rest stop I took. It is actually a few minutes north of Fort Bragg on HWY 1. Another reason I recommend cutting over on HWY 20 is because of the scenic drive up HWY 1. It’s an awesome ocean view.
After a quick break I headed up HWY 1 until I reached the Usal Road turnoff. It’s pretty easy to miss. This is about 28 Miles North of the intersection of HWY 20 and HWY 1 at Fort Bragg. Here is what the turnoff looks like:
The road quickly turns to dirt, and gets interesting for street machines and lowered Civics, but will be no problem for any car with stock clearance if you drive carefully. This is a good route for Overlanders who don’t feel like scratching their rigs! 🙂 The trail is very nice, and surrounded by redwoods.
After 15 to 20 minutes of driving, you emerge high above Usal Beach on a tall bluff. The view is amazing.
From here it is a short trek down the rest of the road to the beach. As you go, you will pass a few camp sites and be able to scope out the area. In a couple campsites, there were what appeared to be long-term residence, the only downside to this otherwise epic scenery.
As we headed down the road, we crossed this awesome bridge just before the main camps.
We crept along the way, and must have been behaving decently because we surprised a herd of great elk. An awesome treat. I believe this is their feeding ground, and it is like you will see them too!
The beach did no disappoint. Without airing down, we traveled out on the beach and were absolutely alone.
It was a great trip. It’s hard to find a beach with so few people relatively close to the hustle and bustle of city life.