Redwood National Park
Located: California - Established: October 2, 1968
The Park: Congaree may be home to “Championship Trees,” however, the Coastal Redwoods in Redwood National Park stake claim to be the world’s tallest living things! Reaching heights of over 370 feet, these giants are found only along a narrow strip of coastline in southern Oregon and northern California.
The lifespan of the Coastal Redwood averages 500 to 700 years, although some are known to live over 2000 years. Their 12-inch thick bark protects them from diseases and insect infestation. The tree’s main marauder – mankind!
Between 1880 and the early 1900’s, thousands of acres of old-growth redwoods were cut to the ground. Alarmed citizens formed the Save the Redwood League in 1918 to protect the remaining groves from complete decimation. Of the over 2 million acres of coastal redwoods that once graced the coastline, only 5% of these majestic trees remain!
Getting there: Redwood National Park is located in the northernmost section of the California coastline adjacent to the Oregon border. The park is 325 miles north of San Francisco along Hwy 101.
When to go: The influence of the ocean provides fairly constant weather along the coastal sections of the park with mild temperatures throughout the year - (40°- mid 60’s° F). Summer months are the most popular.
What to do: By all means, trek through the trees on over 170 miles of groomed trails found within this fantastic park. Take a hike through Fern Canyon, a spectacular shaded canyon with 50-foot walls draped with 7 different kinds of ferns.
Walk along the seashore or hike the park’s most popular trail - the 1.3-mile Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail, which passes by Hyperion – the largest of the trees rising 380 feet above the forest floor.
If time is limited, take one of the many scenic drives though the enchanted forests of Redwood. The Howland Hill Road scenic drive is a 10-mile, one-way drive from Crescent City to US-199. Mostly unpaved, this road leads you through the towering trees found in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Motorhomes, RV’s and Trailers not advised.
Favorite Hikes: Hike about the giants and Fern Canyon.
An alternative to US-101, take the 10-mile Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, which passes through the heart of the old growth redwood forest found in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
Wildlife: To observe Roosevelt Elk grazing in a meadow (pictured above), take the 7-mile Davison Road scenic drive. Once endangered, these majestic creatures can typically be found grazing throughout the park. At roads end you’ll find the Fern Canyon Trailhead.
Where to stay: Redwood hosts four developed campgrounds with over 300 campsites available all of which have flush toilets and showers! For backpacking enthusiasts, Redwood offers over 200 miles of backcountry trails with 36 tent sites.
There is no lodging available within the park boundaries; however, nearby Crescent City has plenty of options.
Trivia: These tallest of living things begin sprouting from a seed the size of a tomato seed, which comes from a pinecone the size of an olive!
Banner: Walls of the Fern Canyon.
Experience these Check List:
- Stop by any of the park's four Visitor and Information Centers
- Stand next to a majestic Redwood
- Hike Fern Canyon
- Hang out inside a hollow Redwood
- Drive the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway
- Drive the Howland Hill Road (dirt road)
- Stroll Gold Bluffs Beach
- Shoot a Roosevelt Elk (with camera!)
- Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Grove
- Check out the coastline from the Klamath River Overlook