Nov 13, 2011

Redwood National Park



View Redwood National Park Road trip in a larger map


Entering the Redwoods National Park Area
In September 2010, we travelled to the northern most part of California to see and enjoy the tallest trees in the world. It is located in the Redwood National Park between Eureka, CA & Crescent City, CA. We decided to spend 2 days there. This place intrigued me more as I always wanted to see Roosevelt elk ! Our journey here gave us more than what we expected... elk at a safe yet close distance, the tallest trees in the world, an unforgettable experience going to fern canyon, some great views of the Crescent Bay and some old Victorian houses in Eureka.

Cars on the Redwood Highway
We stayed in Arcata, a pretty town which was close enough for an early start the next morning to the National park. Our first stop was at the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Centre ( 2 miles south of Orick ) along the redwood highway to get some more information regarding the park.This is a great place to start with great information provided by the park rangers. The drive to our first stop Lady Bird Johnson Grove was pretty picturesque as we were driving along on 101 North along the Pacific Ocean just meters away. You will also see many bluffs along the shore and an avenue of redwood trees in most places.
  • LADY BIRD JOHNSON GROVE TRAIL:
The trail is located on the Bald Hills road where there is a signed trailhead on the right. A great trail to start off with and to experience the majestic trees overhead, with thick brush alongside. It was a very easy walk with a paved path great for strollers and wheelchair accessibility too. You will walk through old redwood fallen trees that are covered in moss and look green as ever even in summer due to the cool, crisp year long weather here.

Lady Bird Johnson Trail



Thick moss on old fallen trees

The entire trail is lined with dense ferns. Here is one tree that we found with a hollow trunk. The pic is taken looking skywards.
View from inside of a hollow bark of a burnt Redwood tree

Lady Bird Johnson Trail
  • REDWOOD CREEK OVERLOOK:
This is a short distance from Lady Bord Johnson Grove Trail. From the parking lot, there is a small lookout. Vert beautiful as it gives you a glimpse of the entire redwood forest with a peek at the pacific ocean in the background. It is at a higher elevation and it may be windy or cold. Gorgeous view awaits you here.


  • REVELATION TRAIL:
This trail is short yet very informative. Located on the scenic Newton B. Drury Scenic Highway, this was very interesting as we were able to touch and feel the trees and experience it with your whole self. great for everyone. There were uprooted trees with roots that were gigantic, trunks of trees that were massive and sunlight that hardly penetrated the pathway leading to lots of ferns and regrowth of trees all around.

A fallen redwood tree. That's the uprooted root!
Octopus Tree.. got its name as the tree sprouts on downed log and sends roots over to the ground.

Against the roots of a redwood tree!! See how massive they are!
  • CIRCLE TRAIL:
This short trail leads to Big Tree one of the largest in the park. It is located on the scenic Newton B. Drury highway and is easily accessible. Great for a short family hike.

  • FERN CANYON:
Single lane road to Fern Canyon
This is one drive that will linger in our minds forever! The entrance to Fern Canyon is from Davison Road. The entrance is unassuming as the road actually continues behind the sign board. It can be tricky as the road behind the sign board is steep, dark and unpaved. We came to this point 2 times and turned around. Yes this is the actual and only route to Fern Canyon for private vehicles. The road is unpaved and single laned. Trailers are definitely not recommended. The route has thick redwood tree growth on either side with absolutely no trace of sunlight in many places making most of the route look as if its nearing dusk. Since it is single laned, it is necessary to have an unspoken understanding with the oncoming car ( they usually are ) as to who will yield first. It is less than an hour if there is a lot of traffic on the route to the canyon.
There is a day use fee ( carry cash ) to fern Canyon and to Gold bluffs beach area. You may have to pass over streams on the way. It is a gravel road from start to finish. There is a lot of parking but can be very dusty around this area. The trail is very scenic with lots of footbridges all around to get onto the path as there is a stream that runs through the canyon. From the trail up, you will gently be introduced with luxuriant ferns on canyon walls that are densely covered that have water dripping all around with old fallen redwood trees that give it the perfect appearance for a prehistoric rustic feel. No wonder Steven Spielberg found this to be the perfect location for filming the movie Jurassic Park.

Fern Canyon Trail

The entire canyon is pretty dark so bring a lens that will take great pictures in low light. Temperatures are very low here, carry warm clothing. The drive up to the entrance of Davison road was easy as we finished here quite late and there was less traffic.


  • KLAMATH RIVER OVERLOOK VIA NEWTON B. DRURY SCENIC HIGHWAY:
We planned to go further north and visit the Klamath overlook point. The route was unbelievably beautiful along the Newton B. D highway which runs parallel to US 101 N. Lined all the way with redwood trees towering above our sun roof, it was spendid and marvellous seeing these gigantic trees all around.

Elk Prairie situated along the Newton B D Highway, is one of the many locations where you can observe elk. A large meadow makes it a great viewing area for the Roosevelt elk from the main road. The highway is around 10 miles one way and has signed exits to various trails and lookout points.

In Klamath, we took Requa road to the overlook. The road is steep, sheer dropoffs and a little windy. The views from the top are amazing! The bluffs on one side, the ocean and the mouth of the Klamath river with the Redwood forest in the distance make it one fantastic viewpoint.

Klamath River Overlook
  • DRIVE THROUGH TREES:
If you want your car to be driven through a red wood tree, there are 3 places namely Klamath, Myers Flat and Leggett. We had already done this drive through in Sequoia National park hence skipped it. There is a fee for this and some restrictions regarding the size of the vehicle. Please check on the same.

  • ELK VIEWING PLACES:

 -Elk Prairie
- Elk Meadow
- Gold Bluffs Beach
- Davison Road
  • VICTORIAN HOUSE VISIT: 
On our return we made a pitstop at one of the Victorian houses in Eureka. This place is famous for its Victorian houses. One of the most popular houses visited is the world famous Carson mansion which is just one of the 800 Victorian houses found there. The mansion is private, no tours are conducted however those interested can take pictures from outside and enjoy its beauty like we did. This is located on 143 M Street, Eureka.

Carson Mansion





This was indeed one of our splendid weekend getaways. If you are unable to go all the way to see the Redwoods, there are places around the Bay area where you will still be able to enjoy the views. Namely Muir Woods in Southwest Marin north of San Francisco, Henry Coe State Park in Felton and Big Basin Redwood State Park. But mind you, it is a completely different experience visiting the Redwoods National Park, not replaceable by visits to any of the above mentioned!
 
Way to Fern Canyon, Along the Coast

Dusk behind the Visitor Center

2 comments:

  1. The Redwood National park is such a great place to visit. The trees have been there for years and are amazing to see. There is so much great history here to see. Definitely take the kids here. A truly amazing article. Thanks for sharing you’re wealth of knowledge with us once again.

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