See the California Redwoods – Tick
There are a few National and State Parks in Northern California where the Coast Redwoods still thrive, the tallest trees in the world. I learned a lot about these majestic trees in the 4 days we explored the parks, one being that there are 3 redwood species: Coastal, the Giant Sequoia in the Sierra Nevada, and the Dawn Redwood in China.
The Coast Redwoods can grow up to 115 meters tall with a diameter of 8 meters, and can live to be over 2000 years old. Most of the big trees that we saw were around the 500-800 year mark, but we did find a few old ones around 1500 years. These trees were given very descriptive names such as Big Tree, Tall Tree, and my favourite, Giant Tree, who was declared the National Champion Redwood by the US forest service. Many of the Redwoods have survived fire, flood and drought, they are pretty hardy trees. It was not uncommon to see living trees completely hollowed out by fire or with other odd looking deformities.
Our first day in Jedediah Smith Redwood SP we found an old road that took us through some of the old growth trees. The road was so narrow in places where the giant trees seemed to be trying to take it back. It was amazing to walk the trails under the canopy of these trees.
It felt strange to drive only a few miles and be on the beach again, but there were some lovely little spots that we found along the way, black sand beaches and calm lagoons.
In Prairie Creek Redwoods SP we found another scenic highway and Fern Canyon. Apparently part of a Jurassic Park movie was filmed here, but it was the wrong time of year to visit, many of the ferns lining the canyon wall were brown after the winter. It was still a great place for a little hike though, and we did see a herd of Roosevelt Elk.
At the Kuchel Visitor Center we got a permit to go into the Tall Tree Grove. They only give out 50 of these a day (but I don’t think they ever run out). We got the combination for the gate and drove down an old forestry road to the start of the hike. The trees in this area are more sheltered along a river, and so have grown taller. We went down first thing in the morning and had the grove to ourselves, the only worrying thing was the bear and mountain lion warnings, but we saw none.
We had been reading about the Lost Coast, an area that became “lost” after the highway department decided there was no way to get a road into the area. We figured that would be just the place to take our little truck and camper. What better way to truly test it out than a good windy road through rugged mountains on a road that would have been better off unpaved? We all survived, my fear of heights was tested, we had an olive and sour cream escape from the fridge incident, and had to reattach the exhaust, but overall a pretty cool road off the beaten track.
Our last stop in the Redwoods was through Humbolt Park along the Highway of Giants. I would highly recommend a trip to see these trees, even if you think you don’t really care to see a bunch of tall trees it is pretty awe inspiring to stand in their shadows. For Luke and I seeing these forests was on our bucket list, and they did not disappoint. We now look forward to seeing their slightly shorter and fatter cousins a little further south.
After leaving the Redwoods behind we drove down Highway 1, a scenic coastal route. We passed through many lovely little seaside towns but found it difficult to explore the coast the way we had in Oregon. California is more populated and much of the land leading to the beach is private. We did enjoy the drive down and found many places where spring flowers were in full bloom.
We are now camped outside of San Fransisco. It was good timing to arrive back into civilization just as the truck started to make a horrible grinding sound. Turned out to be the UV joint, and we were able to get a new part and Luke worked his magic and got it fixed. We’re happy to report that the truck is running better than ever!