I think I like this park more than the Redwood National and State Parks because I was able to see some of the coolest and giant trees on earth here in this state park. Though this state park is not under any of the National Park, I think you should keep it on your list. This state park is California’s third-largest state park and is also designated as both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. With over 53,000 acres area including 17,000 acres of old-growth coast redwoods, this state park has a lot of trails that you can explore with kids and family.
Do you think it would be amazing to stay among the giants? I think it is. We have stayed the night here in this state park. It’s fascinating to the huge trees during the daytime. But during the night, whenever I woke up and saw the huge trees, it felt kind of weird. I felt a little bit scared for a moment- what if the giants start walking! I was already imagining the talking giant trees from the 'Lord of the Rings' movie. I know this feeling is really weird and amazing at the same time. I think the night and the giant created a scary environment. Also, it was winter, not so many people around. So, you can imagine my condition. But yes, you can stay here. The only campground where you can stay year-round is the Burlington Campground. All other campgrounds start to open in May. In total, there are more than 250 campsites in three different campgrounds which you can reserve here:
California State Parks - California State Parks Reservation System (reservecalifornia.com)
Not only that, but also you can do group camps, trail camps, environmental camps, and a horse camp here, which make this park more interesting. While staying at the park, you can explore different activities including more than 100 miles of hiking biking and riding trails, fishing, boating, picnicking, etc. all year round.
The first thing I would recommend is to drive ‘Avenue of the giants’, which is a 32-mile drive and a great way to explore this state park without hiking. Along the way, you may check out the Founder’s grove which is popular for its fallen 362-foot Dyerville Giant. You can also include the Hearthstone ‘The Four Fireplaces’ by the California Federation of Women’s Club, designed by the famous architect Julia Morgan, in your list. This four-chimneyed hearthstone is quite a sight to see and a nice place to walk in a grove. The interesting fact about the Redwoods is that these trees are the ‘living fossils’ that date back hundred million years to the time of the dinosaurs- the Cretaceous Period. Some of the redwoods are even 2000 years old, which is amazing. Redwoods need a warm, foggy, and moist environment. That’s why most of the redwoods are confined to a certain area mostly coastal and with an elevation under 3000 feet.
There are more hundred miles of hiking trails in this state park which gives the visitors ample options for hiking. Right across the visitor center, there is a short trail that will take you into the woods and you will be able to see multiple fallen Redwoods. The huge roots are quite fascinating to look at and you cannot imagine how huge these roots are until you see them. You will be able to see how huge these giants are and how tiny we humans are! You should also check out the Founders Grove Nature Loop trail, which is a very beautiful trail through the huge trees and over two-thirds of a mile in total. You will see many openings in the middle of the fallen huge trees. Whenever a tree falls across the trail, they just cut an opening so that people can walk through it without any kind of interruption. Check out the Big Tree Trail where you will find much bigger trees. Some of the other trails you can also check out for longer hike and backcountry- Johnson Camp Trail and Grasshopper Multiuse Trail.
You probably wondering about the pictures you have seen of a car in the middle of the open trunk of a large tree. There are three trees with open trunk remains, but all of them are privately owned and you have to pay an entrance fee to visit. The actual drive-thru tree in Myers Flat is known as the ‘Shrine of the Redwoods’ which is family-owned since 1958. The ‘open-trunk’ was created naturally by a fire centuries ago and large enough to fit a full-size auto or a pickup to drive through.
If you are particularly interested in water activities such as boating, swimming, and fishing, you should visit the South Fork of the Eel River. A large part of the Eel River runs through the Avenue of the Giants and the South Fork of the river borders the eastern edge of this state park. During the summer months, the slow-moving stream of the Eel River becomes a great place full of natural pools and safe swimming holes. People enjoy swimming, picnicking, fishing activities in Eel River especially in Dyerville Flats, where you will to able to find an overlook, picnic tables, restrooms, and parking spots.
At a glance
- Activity: hiking, sightseeing, camping, biking, horse riding, fishing, boating
- Address: 17119 Avenue of the Giants, Weott CA 95571
- Best time to visit: summer
- Park hours: open year-round, Visitor center open every day (except Christmas and Thanksgiving)
- Visitor center hours: 9:00 am-5:00 pm (April-October)
- 10:00 am- 4:00 pm (November-March)
- Contact: 707-946-2263
- Please help the park to protect the wildlife by not feeding them.
- Always, store all of your food items in animal-proof containers including your trash.
- Please practice leave no trace principles while visiting the park.
#travel #explore #hike #california #roadtrip
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