Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park
California's farthest-inland coast redwood forest
HIGHLIGHTS: About 30 miles from the ocean, Grizzly Creek is the farthest inland of California's coast redwood forests. Because few people visit, its old-growth forests often can be enjoyed in solitude. Save the Redwoods League and timber magnate Owen R. Cheatham, founder of Georgia-Pacific Corporation, helped establish the park in 1921.
ACTIVITIES: Swimming, camping, canoeing, kayaking. Hiking is limited.
VISITOR CENTER: In the main part of the park, just south of Highway 36.
CAMPGROUNDS: Beside the Van Duzen River, the main campground has 28 drive-in sites. To reserve one, go to the park Web site or call (707) 777-3683. If you're willing to haul your gear a short distance, consider one of the hike-in sites in Cheatham Grove, 4.5 miles west of the main part of the park (first come, first served).
TRAILS: The park has 4.5 miles of trails. The 1.25-mile-long Memorial Trail offers a good introduction to its inland redwoods. Start at the picnic area parking lot and walk across the Van Duzen River on a footbridge to the trailhead. (The footbridge isn't available in the winter, however.)
MUST-SEE UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: In the summer of 2009, visitors found a marbled murrelet chick on the ground - proof this endangered species nests in the treetops. To see some of the park's most impressive redwoods, stroll along the 0.7-mile trail through Cheatham Grove, in a separate park parcel 4.5 miles west of the main entrance. These skyscraping trees were featured in the film Return of the Jedi.
HIDDEN GEM: If you've come all this way, why not cool off while exploring three excellent redwood groves in adjacent Van Duzen County Park? Also known as "Swimmers Delight," Van Duzen has the biggest, best swimming hole around. It's just off Highway 36, next to Cheatham Grove.
MORE INFORMATION: For more information, go to the park's Web site, call (707) 777-3683, or write to Grizzly Redwoods State Park, 16949 Highway 36, Carlotta, CA 95528.
STOP: To the north, be sure to check out the lovely, Victorian village of Ferndale and Fort Humboldt State Historic Park. To the south, a stop at Humboldt Redwoods State Park should include the Avenue of the Giants. To the east, stop at Ruth Lake.
FAVORITE HIKE: Cross the Van Duzen River on the summer bridge and follow a dirt road for a short distance to Memorial Trail on your left.
FAVORITE PARK ATTRACTION: Solitude. Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park covers only a few acres, but it is large enough to provide a sense of seclusion. It receives so few visitors that on a weekday it is possible to be the only person in one of its groves of coast redwoods.
DON'T MISS: Cheatham Grove, a stand of virgin redwoods located three miles west of the main part of the state park.
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