Reaching the Pacific through the Strait of Magellan, Drake proceeded northward along the west coast of America, resolved to attempt the discovery of a northern passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic. The coast from the southern extremity of the Californian peninsula to Cape Mendocino had been discovered by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and Francisco de Ulloa in 1539.
Drake's discoveries extended from Cape Mendocino to 48° N., in which latitude he gave up his quest, sailed across the Pacific and reached the Philippine Islands, returning home round the Cape of Good Hope in 1580.
Captain Vancouver was sent out to receive the cession, and to survey the coast from Cape Mendocino northwards.
The Canadian zone crosses from Canada into northern and northwestern Maine, northern and central New Hampshire, northern Michigan, and north-eastern Minnesota and North Dakota, covers the Green Mountains, most of the Adirondacks and Catskills, the higher slopes of the mountains in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, the lower slopes of the northern Rocky and Cascade Mountains, the upper slopes of the southern Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains, and a strip along the Pacific coast as far south as Cape Mendocino, interrupted, however, by the Columbia Valley.
The Pacific Coast Transition life-zone comprises the region between the Cascade and Coast ranges in Washington and Oregon, parts of northern California, and most of the California coast region from Cape Mendocino to Santa Barbara.