If you've ever driven the Del Norte County coast along US Hwy. 101, you'll remember the wild, wind-battered beaches that lie north of the riverside hamlet of Klamath. You may have even passed by Hostelling International (HI) Redwood National Park, huddled against a backdrop of giant coast redwoods opposite a practically private cove. If you didn't stop to stay overnight, you may have missed your chance, though.
January 18, 2010 is the date that this youth hostel, crafted out of a historic pioneer homestead, is set to close its doors. Why? The century-old, weather-worn buildings need repairs, as well as seismic retrofitting and renovations to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The National Park Service estimates that it all might cost around $1.5 million.
Why not take a road trip this fall or winter to visit the hostel before it closes? It's conveniently near the beaches and hiking trails of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, which claims 50 percent old-growth redwood forest. The hostel has all the cozy amenities you'd expect, including a shared kitchen, fireplace lounge and a 'snack-quoia' shop selling locally made gourmet chocolate bars and bark. Special festivities are planned for the hostel's closing weekend. Dorm beds cost from $21/10.50 per adult/child, while the two private rooms start at $59 each; all have shared bathrooms. Make reservations online or by calling (707) 482-8265 or (800) 295-1905.
You can also support future fundraising efforts by the HI-USA Golden Gate Council, which hopes to one day reopen the hostel's doors. The council oversees nine other Northern California hostels, including the historic lighthouse hostels at Point Montara and Pigeon Point, south of San Francisco; the off-the-beaten path Point Reyes and Marin Headlands hostels, north of San Francisco; and the little-known Hidden Villa, on a working organic farm tucked into the Santa Cruz Mountains. All have dorm beds costing from $22-25/night.
Photo: Coast redwoods (Michael Connolly, Jr.)