The West has more than its share of secret spots, and we’re guessing there are a few you don’t know about—yet. In a nod to 1930s WPA guidebooks, we offer these updated Alta California Guides to wacky, wonderful, and off-the-grid sites you shouldn’t miss across 10 regions of the state. (And be sure to pick up the Summer Issue—we even created a beautiful foldout map to help you find your own way!) Just check ahead to make sure your destinations are open, given the fluid nature of things—and keep your eyes on the road. There is much to see, if you know where to look.
This article appears in the Summer 2021 issue of Alta Journal.
Alta California Guides
The remote northern coastline is a foggy, funky place, filled with art and oddities and enchanting open land.
Centuries-old towns and hidden mines survive to prove it: this is where the state’s boom began.
It’s become synonymous with tech innovation, but food, art, and all that water are what define the Bay.
Dense forests, plush vineyards, and, oh, that stretch of Highway 1, which offers postcard-perfect vistas.
Beyond the farms that feed the country, you’ll find a diverse landscape of communities rich in history.
From cold slopes to hot springs, one of the world’s most spectacular ranges is a land of contrasts.
Journey into our prehistoric past—and hike to one of the oldest living things on the planet.
The good life endures in the remote desert, despite some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded.
Forget the glitter-and-asphalt clichés: the nation’s most populated county is full of unexpected delights.
The laid-back surfer life meets the by-the-book military life, yet somehow it all works together in harmony.