Del Norte County is a county in California, in the northwestern corner of the state, bordering the Pacific Ocean and Oregon. Its name is from the Spanish "of the North", but it is not pronounced in the Spanish fashion, but simply as "Del Nort".

Most of the land area in California is in areas that do not fit people's idea of "California", although only a small amount of people live there. Del Norte County does not look like the Los Angeles area, or even the San Francisco Bay area. Bordering Oregon, it is part of the Pacific Northwest bioregion, with thickly forested hills and a very wet climate. Most of the county's residents live close to the Pacific Ocean, where the weather is mild year round. Inland, in the Siskiyou Mountains, there can be heavy snows during the winter time. Del Norte is not a large county, its land area of 1,000 square miles means that it is a little smaller than 1% of California's land area. But in terms of population, it is even smaller: around 28,000 people live in Del Norte, compared to California's 38 million, meaning less than 1 in 1000 Californians come from Del Norte. Also, compared to the rest of California, Del Norte is less ethnically diverse, although it does have sizable Hispanic and Native American populations.

Del Norte has only one incorporated place, Crescent City, although it has a number of smaller unincorporated towns.

Del Norte County is home to Jedidiah Smith State Park, one of the old growth redwood forests remaining, as well as the furthest north major redwood forest along the Pacific Coast. This forest, although hard to access, is one of the major draws of Del Norte County.

But the major industry of Del Norte County is that it is the location of Pelican Bay State Prison, a supermaximum security facility located as far away from the major centers of California's population as possible. This is done not so much to protect against escapes as to isolate gang members from lieutenants and deputies. However, what this has led to is inmates' families moving to Crescent City, bringing along attendant drug and crime problems. Many of the residents of the city, and the county, are either the families of California's most dangerous inmates or the people hired to guard them. This leads to what I find to be a depressing atmosphere.

Del Norte county is also part of northern California's large illiicit cannabis industry, with the wet and isolated mountains being an ideal place to grow marijuana. This adds to the sketchy atmosphere.

It is over 100 miles to an urban center that is substantially larger and has more services. Del Norte County, despite being in the country's most populous state, is in geographically and culturally a very isolated niche of its own.

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