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John B. Dewitt Redwoods State Natural Reserve

Explore ancient groves off trail

John Dewitt Redwoods, Photo by Pernel S Thyseldew
Photo by Pernel S Thyseldew

Park Information

HIGHLIGHTS: This 578-acre reserve near the southern Humboldt County town of Redway was named in honor of John Dewitt, the secretary and executive director of Save the Redwoods League from 1971 to 1995. The property protects three fine groves of massive ancient redwoods in two unconnected sections. The larger of the two is located west of Redway and contains the Whittemore Grove and the O’Meara Grove. The Whittemore Grove gets more visitors, but both are well worth visiting. The second section, north of Redway, includes the Holbrook Grove. There are no developed trails in the reserve, but access is easy under the big trees, and the northern portion has a short section of fire road for strolling.

ACTIVITIES: Only 10 minutes from Highway 101, the mostly undeveloped reserve is a good place for exploring among some of the largest living things on Earth.



TRAILS: The reserve does not have a developed trail network. A 300-yard stretch of decommissioned fire road allows access to the Holbrook Grove. The largest trees in this grove are around the parking lot and just past the gated road. The understory is lush, consisting largely of ferns and sorrel (also some poison oak). Follow the path at the end of the road to reach the Eel River.

The O’Meara and Whittemore Groves are just west of Redway; their adjacency to town means they generally get more visitors than the Holbrook Grove. Briceland Road runs through the Whittemore Grove, providing good views of some of the largest trees. A small parking lot also allows visitors to get out of their cars and explore by foot. Paths lead to Redwood Creek, a tributary of the Eel. Of the three groves, the O’Meara Grove is closest to town. Visitors typically park on Eel River Lane; short paths through the redwoods lead to the Eel River, and may be walked in a loop.

MUST-SEE UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: A trip to Redwood Creek or the Eel River will heighten appreciation of the reserve, particularly on warm days.

HIDDEN GEM: O’Meara Grove is unusual among old-growth redwood reserves in that it is also a residential neighborhood. The rustic cabins of Lower Redway are scattered throughout the grove, giving it a charming, fairy-tale feel.

FEATURES ACCESSIBLE TO DISABLED PEOPLE: No accessible facilities are provided, but visitors with disabilities can enjoy good views of ancient redwoods from the parking lot of the Holbrook Grove.

DOGS: Not allowed.


MORE INFORMATION: Call 707-445-6547.

PLACES TO EAT AND STAY: Redway and the nearby town of Garberville have restaurants and motels.

Trip Ideas from Our Staff and Friends

California’s Redwood Coast website (external site) offers resources to help plan your trip to Humboldt County.

EAT: Christine Aralia, Land Project Manager, recommends eating at Cecil’s (external link) for New Orleans fare or having dinner at the Benbow Inn (external link).

On the drive to the park, Regan Ranoa, Outreach Manager, loves to stop at Bluebird Cafe (external link) in Hopland (along 101 heading north to Mendocino or Humboldt) for pie.

STOP: One Log House (external link) for gifts, coffee and fun photo-ops.

Bob Hansen, former President at The Yosemite Fund, suggests staying or dining at the historic Benbow Inn (external link). The Benbow has a great restaurant, bar and outdoor plaza and offers deals off weekends for events like a murder mystery, etc.

DON’T MISS: Regan recommends going farther north and 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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Extend Your Visit

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