Humboldt Redwoods State Park is located in northern California and covers approximately 53,000 acres full of giant redwoods. This is one of those areas where photography just cannot capture the feel and the enormity of these giants. There are campgrounds, hiking trails, and small towns located throughout the park. In winter many of the campgrounds are closed but there are a few RV parks/campgrounds that remain open year round.
Avenue of the Giants
Running through the State Park is the scenic 32-mile long road, called Avenue of the Giants, which provides an awe-inspiring access by road to these tall giants. This road runs parallel to (and crosses a few times) Hwy 101 and is an alternative drive to Hwy 101. We did a lot of research and could not determine whether this is a road you can readily drive a big rig through and whether there was a parking lot to unhook and keep your rig parked while you explore the area in your tow vehicle. Since we were unsure, we decided to error on the side of caution and camp at the local RV park in Myers Flat which sits smack dab in the middle of the Avenue of the Giants. As it turned out, it was the correct decision. While much of the Avenue of the Giants would have been perfectly acceptable to drive a big rig through, there were some other roads that this would NOT have worked!! And we never saw a parking area which could have accommodated a big rig to leave for a few hours to take the toad for a drive. Note to self – always error on the side of caution.
We had read that the southern portion of the Avenue is not as awe-inspiring as the northern part so we just headed north from Myers Flat and made our first stop at the Visitor’s Center to get the lay of the land.
The center has a host of interesting displays and it is where you can pick up your map for where the old-growth, really big trees are located. Note that the ranger needs to draw on your map to really show you where they are located.
The top three places the ranger/volunteer told us to visit was out along Bull Creek Flats Road (Tall Tree, Giant Tree, Flatiron Tree), Founders Grove, and Rockefeller Grove. So off we went!
Bull Creek Flats Road
This road sits north of the Visitor’s Center and runs west to the Albee Creek Campground (one of the State Park campgrounds which is closed in the winter). We drove about 5 miles west on the road from Ave of the Giants to a parking area.
The ranger had told us that due to the recent rain storms the bridge over Bull Creek to the Giant Tree and the Flatiron Tree was inaccessible unless you wantied to wade through the water or build your own bridge with a tree. Okey, dokey, we are up for anything.
We arrived at the parking area for the Tall Tree and took a short little hike through the forest. It was quite easy to find as the trail was marked well. And, yes, it was a “Tall Tree”.
From there we wanted to go find a way over the creek to the Giant Tree and the Flatiron Tree.The parking area provided a good map of the tree’s locations. The map is North down (why oh why!).
The creek was running pretty fast but was only a foot or two deep in places. That’s still enough to knock you over and it was really cold water. That’s no fun. We eventually found a tree laying on it’s side crossing the creek about 7′ off the ground.
The picture doesn’t do the crossing justice. No way was I crossing over that tree. Part of the crossing is over land. It is bad enough to fall in a shallow, cold, rocky creek but to fall 7′ down on land, ouch! So we opted to forgo seeing the “cool” trees. Maybe some other trip. So we just continued to hike around the forest and admire the beauty. Again, there is no way photographs can capture the majesty of the forest.
From there we headed back east on Bull Creek Flats Rd to Rockefeller Forest and parked and hiked for a bit. This grove is claimed to be the “world’s largest remaining contiguous old-growth forest of coast redwoods”. A beautiful forest indeed.
The redwood forests are beautiful, majestic, and we could spend weeks here hiking and exploring. I am sure we will be back one day.