Humboldt Redwoods State Park
The largest continuous stretch of old-growth redwoods on Earth
HIGHLIGHTS: A visit to the Eel River's magnificent redwoods inspired John C. Merriam, Madison Grant, and Henry Fairfield Osborn to establish Save the Redwoods League in 1918. Only three years later, the fledging organization won protection for the area. Today Humboldt Redwoods State Park covers about 53,000 acres-including 17,000-acre Rockefeller Forest, which is the largest continuous stretch of old-growth redwoods in the world. Save the Redwoods League has protected more than 50,000 acres in this park.
ACTIVITIES: Drive the 32-mile-long Avenue of the Giants auto tour. Take one of the mostly short but beautiful hikes that start from (or near) this road. In the spring and early summer, kayak or canoe through the redwoods on the South Fork of the Eel River.
VISITOR CENTER: "One of the best in the state," says Ranger Emily Peterson. Park headquarters and the visitor center are located on the Avenue of the Giants, State Route 254, between the towns of Weott and Myers Flat. For more information, call (707) 946-2263.
CAMPGROUNDS: Humboldt Redwoods has more than 250 sites in three locations. Flush toilets and showers. No electrical hookups or dump stations. At Cuneo Creek, there's a fourth campground for visitors with horses. For reservations at any of these sites, call (800) 444-PARK or visit www.reserveamerica.com.
TRAILS: The alluvial flats of Bull Creek provide perfect growing conditions for coast redwoods. See some of these spectacular trees on the easy 0.7-mile Rockefeller Loop. The trailhead is 1.1 miles west of the Avenue of the Giants on Mattole Road.
MUST-SEE UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: At 362 feet, the fallen Dyerville Giant was once one of the tallest trees in the world. If you'd like to walk its length, try the 1.3 mile-long Founders Grove Trail, which was named for the founders of Save the Redwoods League, and lies about 4 miles north of the visitor center, on the Dyersville Loop Road. One mile south of the Founders Grove is the Women's Federation Grove, which features the "hearthstone," a 4-sided fireplace designed by famed architect Julia Morgan, and one of the best swimming holes in the park. Also, look for pink redwood lilies (also called chaparral lilies) and purple calypso orchids in the park in the spring.
HIDDEN GEM: Once you're halfway around the Founder's Grove Loop, take the turnoff to the Mahan Plaque Loop. If you're lucky and observant, you might spot the alabaster leaves of a 50-foot albino redwood. It's a parasite that grows out of the root collar of an adjacent tree. The Founder's Grove/Mahan Plaque hike is about a mile and a half.
EAT: Christine Aralia, Land Project Manager, recommends eating at Cecil's for New Orleans fare or having dinner at the Benbow Inn.
On the drive to the park, Regan Ranoa, Outreach Manager, loves to stop at Bluebird Cafe in Hopland (along 101 heading north to Mendocino or Humboldt) and order some pie.
Dave Stockton, Humboldt Redwoods, suggests eating at the Avenue Cafe in Miranda.
STOP: If you need a place to stop and rest your head, Christine suggests the Benbow Inn.
FAVORITE PARK ATTRACTION: The Humboldt Redwoods Visitor Center or the Dyerville Giant.
DON'T MISS: Dave recommends the drive-through tree in Leggett.
Regan recommends exploring the Avenue of the Giants. Check out our 50 ways to celebrate the parkway!
Tell us your favorite stops, hikes, places to eat, and more when visiting this park!
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HIGHLIGHTS: As the story goes, in 1852 a hunter named Augustus T. Dowd wounded a grizzly and chased him into this forest, only to find trees that were three times bigger than any he'd ever seen before. When he returned to civilization, he began spreading the word about the tall, red-barked giants.