Since opening to the public in 1926, Benbow Inn has entertained Hollywood elite, foreign dignitaries, and traveling motorists alike with a wealth of both outdoor and indoor pursuits, nestled amid the towering redwoods that share the banks of the Eel River. Early on, the Inn’s prime spot near the Avenue of the Giants made it a popular stopover for tourists traveling up the coast or searching for a more impressive Christmas tree. The sprawling complex’s tranquil gardens and majestic mountain setting provide an ideal respite from the road for weary travelers. Though the hotel’s long-held commitment to upkeep and service has earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places and a four-diamond rating from AAA, its real treasures lie outside its Tudor walls. Visitors while away the time with such activities as swimming and boating on the river, perfecting pitches on the 9-hole Benbow Valley Golf Course, or hiking through the redwoods of the Kings Range while longing for prehensile tales from which to swing.
In addition to hotel rooms and cottages, Benbow Inn hosts campers on more than 100 pull-through and back-in sites at its RV Resort, which won the Best of The West Award in 2004. Here, travelers enjoy the peace and quiet of their spot in the woods, which balances the rusticity of the outdoors with such creature comforts as cement patios, picnic tables, and full hookups, including cable TV.
Course at a Glance: * 9-hole, par 35 course * Total length of 2,674 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 66.3 from the back tees * Course slope of 115 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Five miles north of the resort, a web of hiking trails meanders through the conifer forests and wildflower meadows of Mount Shasta, whose summit towers 14,162 feet above sea level. Hikers can take to the Black Butte Trail—a moderately steep climb—which originates on Everitt Memorial Highway amid an aromatic cluster of pine and cedar trees. About halfway up the rocky 2.5-mile trail, Black Butte unveils a sprawling, westerly view of Mount Eddy, and at this relatively level vista point, hikers often set down their wooden walking sticks and jugs of water to marvel at the Shasta valley glistening below. Within the small clapboard structure that houses the Sisson Museum, permanent exhibits showing off collections of Native American basketry and antique mountaineering artifacts illuminate Mount Shasta's eclectic culture. Families walk through the fish hatchery adjacent to the building, peering into the long, narrow ponds harboring rainbow and brown trout before moving on to the property's three kids' fishing ponds. There, amid rolling coolers and green mesh nets, parents bait hooks for jumping children eager to reel in shiny silver trout, and volunteers stroll the dirt perimeters taking photos of little ones' catches.In downtown Mount Shasta, The Goat Tavern indulges an eclectic crowd with hearty burgers and a beer list scrawled on a chalkboard. Tattooed motorcycle crews sit alongside couples in cardigans on the outdoor dining deck, which is perched above the area's main drag. Waitresses parade through, balancing dishes laden with spicy chicken sandwiches and piles of fragrant garlic fries.