3 pro tips for visiting the world’s largest ancient redwood forest

From hiking and biking to celebrating women conservationists, here are some travel tips for exploring Humboldt Redwoods State Park

About a four-hour drive from San Francisco, Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a fantastic destination for a weekend road trip for many people living in Northern California. Exiting the 101 North toward Myers Flat, taking the scenic route through Avenue of the Giants feels like a flight through the mythical forests of Endor, with the glorious turquoise-hued Eel River snaking alongside the road.  

Here on the traditional lands of the Lolankok Sinkyone people, there is so much park to take in—at 53,000 acres, it’s more than twice the size of San Francisco! About one-third of that (17,000 acres) is old growth, making up the largest contiguous expanse of ancient redwoods on Earth. 

Having helped to establish the park 100 years ago, Save the Redwoods League has protected more than 51,000 acres of the park. And so, we are more than thrilled to celebrate the park’s centennial this year. With a little help from our friends at Humboldt Redwoods, here are some of our best tips for enjoying the park. 

Take a bike ride along Avenue of the Giants

There’s more than one way to enjoy the ride along the 32-mile Avenue of the Giants. If you’ve got a road bike, bring it along and spend a morning or afternoon breezing through the tall trees. Stop at one of the many scenic day-use areas along the way for respite. Keep in mind that Avenue of the Giants is a two-lane highway with no shoulder in some areas. If you’d rather stick to a low-traffic area, try Mattole Road; it is pretty curvy and has some rough sections to look out for. Stay the night in one of three hike-and-bike camp sites at Burlington Campground.  

Lunch and learn about some of the women of redwoods conservation

The California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove is a lovely place for a picnic, and it includes ADA-accessible sites. Learn about the women’s clubs that were instrumental to redwoods conservation and helped to protect this grove. The iconic Julia Morgan Hearthstone featured here was designed by and named for the first licensed woman architect in California. 

Hike to a secluded forest recovering from fire

A grove of old-growth coast redwood trees with green leaves and green on the forest floor
Children’s Forest in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Photo: David Baselt, redwoodhikes.com

The Children’s Forest Trail is only accessible in the summer months when the Eel River is low and a seasonal footbridge is available. Across the river from the Williams Grove, this is an easy approximately 2-mile hike to a quiet, sunlit old-growth grove. This area was hit by the Canoe Fire in 2003, so it’s a great place to see redwood regeneration and plant diversity after fire.  

To celebrate and spread the word about the park’s centennial, hike the trails anytime during August, snap photos from your hike, and post it to social media with the hashtags #HikeUnited21 and #HumboldtRedwoods100. 

Unable to make it to Humboldt Redwoods State Park this month? No problem! The park is hosting virtual events every day on its Facebook page. 

About the author

Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish.

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