A Trip Through the Redwood Forest
All the highlights to see as much as possible while in Northern Cali
For the first time ever, I feel deep inside my heart that I can truly say that there is nothing like a vacation in nature. I have never been the camping type, nor do I have any type of grand fantasies of walking around in the woods looking at stuff. When I go on vacation, I would rather spend my time among the city, discovering nooks and crannies, bars and Mom and Pop’s, that have went unnoticed by other tourists and travelers.
I had planned a San Francisco trip, but as it approached it just didn’t feel like it was the right time to go. Something in the air spoke to me, a drift of a Pacific Northwest breeze, that shook me to the bone and made me realize that Redwoods National Park is where I actually needed to visit.
If you are going to plan a visit to Redwoods National Park, you cannot be the faint of heart. It’s not as easy as just going on Travelocity and finding a luxurious hotel that is packaged with a bunch of extras. Especially if you want the most authentic experience of being among these ancient trees. I did a lot of research, and found a PDF of a pamphlet that outlined a few places that were actually within Humboldt Redwoods National Park where you can stay. That is where I found my hotel. I made sure to make plans along the way to see as much as I could starting from the very North tip at Crescent City, California, and going as far south as I could all the way to the south end of the Avenue of the Giants. Here is my 7-day trip making it to the park and back home again, from Portland, Oregon.
I strongly suggest before you go on a trip like this that you plan ahead! Everything that is in this blog, with the pictures, I spent weeks planning. I planned it down to the actual day and made itineraries so I made sure not to miss anything, and I still somehow missed some amazing pit stops that I had planned out along the way. If you want to venture off of the beaten path after you make your itinerary, then added in as you’re on the road. I have some photos of us doing a little bit of that too! This trip was taken April 7th - April 14th, a Saturday to Saturday.
We decided the best way to get to the Redwoods National Park from Portland, Oregon was to drive. We left Portland, Oregon on April 7th in the morning, and headed on our way. I knew that along the way we would be passing the 45th parallel, which is the parallel that hits exactly halfway through the equator and the North Pole! Stuff like this is what makes road trips worth every moment of it to me, and yes I pulled over on the side of I-5 in order to get the picture.
The original plan was to drive straight through to Crescent City, California, with pit stops for food and gas along the way. As we approached Springfield, Oregon, we went into a frenzy, wanting to stop to see The Simpsons mural that is downtown. It was well worth the stop.
The next stop along the way was in Myrtle Creek, Oregon. It was time to stop for sustenance and grab a burger that would stick to the bones and help us make it through the second leg of this trip. We stopped at a burger joint called Tommy’s All American Burger, and noticed a sign for covered bridges. Being from Florida, we had never even dreamed up that covered bridges actually exist, so of course we had to wander over and cross the street to see one in real life. It was closed to traffic use, and placed in a small park on the creek.
After lunch was all wrapped up, we continued on our journey taking 199 out of Oregon and into California. It was raining a little bit along the way, so when we approached this waterfall out of nowhere on the side of the road, it made it seem even more inspiring and angelic. What a sight to stop and take in while on the road.
Before we knew it, we had arrived at Crescent City, California, and to our first hotel, The Oceanfront Lodge. Every room at this hotel is waterfront on the Pacific Ocean, and we were lucky enough to get amazing views of the Battery Point Lighthouse. As soon as we got into town, of course we had to venture down to the beach to check it out, covered in large pebbles as opposed to sand, like I am used to in Florida. Also, I came across a large driftwood log that had a baby sea otter hiding inside of it. I watched it scurry into the Pacific Ocean and fight among the waves. I was not fast enough to catch a picture.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck due to my medical condition, scoliosis, and we had to make a late night visit to the Sutter Coast Hospital at 3 AM. Even though I was on vacation, and it was the middle of the night, they treated me so good and even gave me a sandwich! I took a picture so I could remember this little hiccup in my trip forever, which makes it unique to any other trip.
After returning back to the hotel, and getting a little bit of rest, it was time to hit the road. It was Sunday and the rain had dissipated, sun trying to peak out around rhe clouds and ready for us to explore. Our first stop was at the Redwoods National Park sign with an overlook of the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
We travelled down US 101 for our next discovery into the Prairie Creek Redwoods. This would be our first interaction with the large trees, and we were excited. We tried to take the Newton B Drury scenic route, but it had been closed. On the first Saturday of every month, they close the road for people to bike and walk up and down the road without the fear of traffic. By the time we made it there on Sunday, no one had yet been there to open it back up for us. We had to go back out to US 101 and go in the south way.
Driving into Elk Prairie, we had high hopes of seeing the elk wandering around as we had read in many internet blogs. That day must have been an off day because there were none, so we pulled off and headed to the trailhead. The trailhead is not marked the best for novice hikers like myself, and we ended up hiking almost four miles that day, but well worth every step that we got to spend in there. This place is famous for banana slugs, and we almost missed them. You really have to keep an eye out to see them. We were able to find one of the attractions of this trailhead, The Big Tree. We started our search for the other attraction, Corkscrew Tree, but never came across it during this visit.
After our long hike, we decided to head back towards the hotel, and passed by Trees of Mystery on the way. I had done some research on the place and wanted to do the gondola rides up into the trees. We stopped and had a chat with Paul Bunyan and his big blue “cow”. You can ask the statues questions, and they will answer you back. A child walked up to the statue and reported, “ you have a big cow.” Paul Bunyan responded with, “I am not a cow, I am an ox, and that’s no bull.” I decided against the gondola ride after seeing how pricey it was, as I was trying to make this a budget friendly vacation. I did take a tour of their gift shop in search of a magnet, and found a really cool one that said redwoods on it.
After heading back to the hotel, we did more exploring on and around the beach. There were so many treasures that we found down there, including flowers that I have never seen before, a bird enjoying the sunset, sasquatch, and a tide pool.
On our third day it was time to depart the Oceanfront Lodge and continue on our trip in to Humboldt Redwood National Park. Before leaving town, we realized that Andrew had lost his wallet. We traced our steps back to the Apple Peddler Restaurant, and found it shoved up underneath the table, thank goodness! Another fun blooper on our trip that made it so unique. Our first stop was in Klamath to try out the Tour Thru Tree.
We did not want to leave the area without the opportunity to see elk, so we decided to head back to Elk Prairie, taking the Newton B Drury scenic route in hopes that we could also see the corkscrew tree along the way. When first entering the Newton B Drury scenic route, we passed a fire truck and an ambulance that was pulling someone out of the forest. We still wonder if this is someone that got lost during their hike or had something go wrong. As we continue down the scenic route, there was a large sign for the corkscrew tree. We were able to pull over and take a few pictures.
We headed to Elk Prairie and we’re so happy that we were able to happen upon a small group of elk having an afternoon snack.
Next on the itinerary was to head down to Patrick’s Point to see wedding Rock. We took us 101, but along the way had to stop because we found more elk! With these ones, I actually got out of the car to photograph, but was instantly spooked when one started to walk towards me. It was plainly explained both in the parks and on the internet that these elk can be aggressive, and I didn’t want to find out if that was true or not.
When we made it to Patrick’s Point Wedding Rock, we discovered that it was a moderate to hard hike if you have any type of disabilities. Even though my scoliosis was annoying me a little bit during the week, I was able to get to the top. It was worth every step.
We took Patrick Point Drive to our next destination, the Trinidad Pier. This road is not easy to navigate, full of twists and turns, also with some rough asphalt spots. This is where we stopped for lunch at a little seafood restaurant that was actually on the pier, Seascape Restaurant. After finishing up some fish and chips, we meandered around the area and found that they use old car engines to hold down the crab traps in the area. I also learned that this used to be a popular area for catching whales in order to use for soap.
After a beautiful day on the coast, it was time to head inland towards the Humboldt State National Forest. Along the way we stopped at Lost Coast Brewery so I could get a draught root beer float.
We headed down US 101 and finally made it to our destination, Redcrest Resort. This resort is in the city of Redcrest, which is about the middle point of the Avenue of the Giants. We had rented a cabin from them for a few days, and found a walk through tree on the grounds.
The fourth day of the trip was dedicated completely to exploring the Avenue of the Giants. We drove to the very southern end of it to begin our trip, With no plan to stop at specific areas. we were ready to be one with nature.
The Living Chimney Tree
The Skinny Man
A Lone Chimney
A Fantastic Trail
Avenue of the Giants
Another Redwood Trail
Founder’s Grove and the Dyerville Giant
The next day we continued to head north on the Avenue of the Giants. We went to Rockefeller Forest, but the bridge had been washed out so we could not pass the creek. We checked out the Eel River, then the Immortal Tree. We stopped at a strange monument in the shape of corn, then headed to Ferndale to see the Victorian style housing.
Our last two days for going to be spent in Grants Pass, Oregon, and I will quickly share just a few photos from our drive back from California. We ended up hitting snow and it was not expected.
Thank you so much for joining me on my journey through Redwoods National Park. I love traveling the United States, taking any chance I can in order to do it as much as possible. Stick with me, because you never know where I will end up next!