Redwood National Park contains the tallest living things on earth, evergreen trees that grow to 350 feet. The park was established specifically to protect these trees, because it is only here and in Oregon that they now survive. Descendants of the giant evergreens that grew during the age of the dinosaurs, redwoods thrived in moist temperate regions of the world. They take 400 years to mature and some of the survivors are more than 2,000 years old. Their thick, sapless bark protects them from fire, but landslides and wind can topple old trees. The Indians used fallen redwood trees to build canoes and houses; commercial logging began during the gold rush era. Logging of redwoods continues and is debated by the timber industry and environmentalists. The trees stand as majestic reminders of the slow evolution of nature. Redwood National and State Parks represent a cooperative management effort of the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Together these parks are a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve protecting resources cherished by citizens of many nations. (Inscribed in 1980)
Crescent City Area
Enderts Beach Road leads to an overlook some 500 feet above this sandy beach that backs up against tall bluffs. Enderts Beach Trail leads down to the beach.
Coastal Trail enables you to backpack nearly the length of the park
Picnicking and beach combing are popular activities at Crescent Beach, 2 miles south of Crescent City off Enderts Beach Road.
Crescent Beach Overlook is a good place for whale-watching, picnicking, or enjoying the scenery.
|Bald Hills||2.0 mi No. of Orick, off Highway 101||Unpaved||Access to Lady Bird Johnson Grove with 1 mile trail through the redwoods. Elk viewing, oak woodlands, Tall Trees Grove access, prairies. Not recommended for motor homes or trailers because of steep, 17% grade|
|Cal-Barrel||6.0 mi No. of Orick off Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway||Paved||3.0 mi drive through redwoods is open to mountain bikes, but has no turn-around for motor homes or trailers|
|Coastal Drive||So. of the Klamath River bridge||Mixed||8.0 mi drive along the river and ocean. Paved and unpaved sections alternate with coastal views, hiking trails, whale-watching, and picnicking. World War II historic site. Motor homes and trailers turn off at Alder Camp. The unpaved sections can be a little rough|
|Davison Road||4.0 mi No. of Orick off Highway 101||Unpaved||9.0 mi drive through redwood-spruce forest to Gold Bluffs Beach and Fern Canyon, a 0.5 miles walk through a stream-carved canyon lined with ferns. Trailheads into Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (day-use fee is collected). Vehicle length cannot exceed 24 feet|
|Enderts Beach||3.0 mi So. of Crescent City off Highway 101||Paved||Beach and trail access, tidepools, coastal views, whale-watching, birding|
|Howland Hill||Access fm the west by turning onto Elk Valley Road, so of Crescent City, off Highway 101; access fm the east by turning onto South Fork Road, north of Crescent City, off Highway 199||Unpaved||6.0 mi drive through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, providing access to the one-mile trail through Stout Grove. Watch for two-way traffic on this one-lane gravel road. Motor homes and trailers are not advised|
|Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway||4.0 mi No. of Orick, off Highway 101||Paved||Access to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Elk Prairie, a favorite browsing area for Roosevelt elk. For elk information, tune your radio to 1610 AM in this area|
|Requa Road||16 mi so. of Crescent City, just north of the Klamath River||Paved||Hiking trail, picnicking, whale-watching. Steep grades require cautious driving|
Big Tree Wayside
Use Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway to reach Big Tree in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The 100-yard trail to Big Tree is paved. Big Tree is a coast redwood tree measuring 304 feet tall and 21 feet in diameter.
Avenue of the Giants - 50 miles south of Eureka. Look for signs off Highway 101 near the town of Pepperwood. This 33-mile scenic drive through Humboldt Redwoods State Parks offers numerous attractions. Self-guiding auto-tour brochures are available.
Drive Through Trees
Many travelers seek the "drive through" tree. Although there are none in Redwood National and State Parks, three exist in the area. All are coast redwoods and are located along Highway 101. Each charges admission. Listed from north to south, they are:
Klamath Tour Thru Tree - use the Terwer Valley Exit in the town of Klamath.
Shrine Drive-Thru Tree - Use the Avenue of the Giants exit near the town of Myers Flat.
Chandelier Tree in the Drive-Thru Tree Park - follow signs off Highway 101 in the town of Leggett.
There was once a drive through giant sequoia tree in the Mariposa Grove of Yosemite National Park. This "Tunnel Tree" fell over in 1969 due to heavy snow.
Roosevelt elk are the largest and most visible land mammal in the northern redwood region. Elk watching "hotspots" in Redwood National and State Parks are at Davison Road (one hundred yards from Highway 101) and Elk Prairie along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway (.5 mile from the southern junction with Highway 101). The open prairies in each of these places allow safe, close viewing of elk herds from your vehicle. Never approach elk on foot; they are wild animals and become aggressive during courtship and when protecting calves. Humans who have crossed the low wooden fences and entered elk prairies have been charged in Redwood National and State Parks. Tune in to AM 1610 at Elk Prairie along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway to learn more about seasonal behavior and ecology of elk.
Numerous historic structures have been documented within Redwood National Park. Tese structures range from the Old Redwood Highway (running north and south of the Klamath River), to structures such as ranching features and barns. Some structures are part of the larger cultural landscape.
Segments of the Old Redwood Highway and Radar Station B-71, a World War II radar station disguised as a barn, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Prairie Creek Fish Hatchery, located off Highway 101 near Orick, was one of the first small local hatcheries developed to improve sport and commercial fishing in the area. The hatchery, constructed in 1936, is one of only three remaining hatcheries that were built in California from 1871 to 1946. The hatchery is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Six sites in the Bald Hills near Redwood Creek are associated with late 19th century cattle and sheep ranching. The Lyons' Ranches Rural Historic District includes eight structures dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Each structure has been stabilized, and some of the structures are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
East of Crescent City in the Little Bald Hills is Murphy�s Ranch and outlying barn site, which dates circa 1884 to the 1920s. The ranch was established along the historic Kelsey Trail, a pack route linking Crescent City with the Salmon and Trinity gold mines.
A remnant of the Trinidad Trail joins the Tall Trees Grove Trail. The trail connected coastal supply centers with early gold mining sites, and was later adopted by homesteaders in the Bald Hills.
Several sites associated with the Union Gold Bluffs Placer Mine, which was in operation from 1872 to 1901, have been identified in the Gold Bluffs Beach area.
Radar Station B-71, which sits atop an ocean bluff south of Klamath, is a rare example of a World War II early warning radar station. The site consists of two structures and other military features, including radar antennas and two machine gun emplacements.
Camp Lincoln, which consists of four structures located east of Kings Valley Road, is designated a California State Historic Landmark for its significance as one of the major 19th century military outposts in the vicinity of Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Only a house and outbuilding date from the 19th century.
Walker Ranch, dating from the early 20th century, rests along the west side of the Smith River and consists of concrete foundations, walkways, and walls.
Huffman Ranch, on Howland Hill Road, consists of a house and large garage.
Nickerson Ranch, along Mill Creek, was established during the late 19th century. Once a cabin, garden, and orchard existed here, but no physical remains of the cabin are visible today. Other historic buildings within Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park are Lincoln School built in 1871, the Tracy Property from the 1920s or 1930s, and the Hickock House from the 1970s.
The Old Redwood Highway, originally constructed in 1923, traverses the western section of the park.
Remains of the Del Norte Southern Railroad can be found along the Trestle Loop Trail. The railroad was a subsidiary of the Hobbs,Wall and Company, which controlled large land and timber holdings throughout the region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The railroad was used to transport lumber from the forests to the company�s mill in Crescent City.
The Boyes House and associated structures are in the northeastern section of Elk Prairie. The site consists of an early 20th century Bungalow Style residence, several other structures, and a small orchard.
Other historical buildings and structures within the park include the Huggins Homesite (occupied from 1914 to 1967 by Frederick Huggins), Caruther�s Cove Cabin, the Indian Tree House (a hollow, burned out redwood), and the Old Cabin and Store Site.
In the cool, moist climate of the California coastline, redwoods have thrived for 20 million years. While redwoods must have plentiful moisture and mild temperatures to survive, they can live in different microclimates within the forest ecosystem: along ridgetops, beside fluctuating rivers, farther inland (with drier temperatures), and close to the ocean (with a buffer of salt-tolerant trees).
Each area provides subtle differences in redwood groves. Riverside redwoods benefit from flooding which brings in rich alluvial soils. Standing tall, redwoods won't flare out at the base as in other groves, because the base is covered from hundreds of years of floods. Notice the lack of understory plants. Sword ferns may be the primary compliment to the redwoods.
During your walk within ridgetop redwoods, look to the sky. Where more sky appears, more wildflowers, bushes, and ferns receive light to grow on the forest floor. Streamside redwoods have more vine and bigleaf maple, tall shoots of the salmon berry, and western hemlock or octopus tree.
Redwood groves close to the ocean have a rich understory of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, tanoak, huckleberry and evergreen bushes, sword fern, salal, and an abundance of greenery; Sitka spruce and red alder face the ocean salt spray to protect these redwoods.
As you visit and walk through the various redwood groves, notice the subtle differences.
|Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park||Take the Howland Hill Road or Highway 199 to reach several groves and trailheads.||These redwoods stand in a drier climate but along streams and rivers. Look for Simpson-Reed Grove, the Hiouchi Trail, and the Boy Scout Tree Trail.|
|Stout Grove||In the summer, campers at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park can reach the Stout Grove by crossing the Smith River via the seasonal foot bridge. Also, Howland Hill Road (gravel) provides year round access.||An easy 0.5 mile (1-km) loop gives visitors a chance to experience a riverside stand of giant redwoods.|
|Del Norte Coast Redw State Park||Six miles (10 km) south of Crescent City on Highway 101.||The old-growth stands found along the Damnation Creek Trail are at the heart of this state park. These trees are very near to the coast and are often shrouded in mist. The cool, moist conditions have resulted in a lushly vegetated understory and immense redwoods.|
|Prairie Creek Redw State Park||Take the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway just south of the Klamath River on Highway 101.||13,000 of the 14,000 acres in this state park are covered with old-growth redwoods. Seventy miles of trails take you through quiet stands where only a bubbling stream can be heard. Stop by the Prairie Creek Visitor Center for a trail map.|
|Big Tree||The turnoff to the Big Tree Wayside is just north of the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Visitor Center. Take the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.||This impressive example of a giant coast redwood is 100 feet (33 m) from the parking lot. The old-growth groves of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park are connected by a network of trails.|
|Lady Bird Johnson Grove||About 2.5 miles (4 km) up the Bald Hills Road.||This ridgetop grove features a gorgeous stand of old-growth redwoods and an easy 1 mile loop trail. In August 1969, President Richard Nixon dedicated the grove to Lady Bird Johnson.|
|Redwood Creek||Redwood Creek is in the southern part of the park and is accessed either by the Bald Hills Road or by the Redwood Creek trailhead.||The old-growth redwood stands along Redwood Creek are impressive for their size and location. Redwood Creek is a large drainage with sweeping mountainsides. The rich soil along Redwood Creek has produced some of the tallest trees in the world.|
|Tall Trees||At the southern end of the parks, take the Bald Hills Road to the Tall Trees Access Road (gravel); also accessible from the Redwood Creek Trail. Tall Trees Access Road requires a free permit, obtained at the Redwood Information Center in nearby Orick. A maximum of 50 permits per day are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.||A 3-mile (5-km) round trip trail leads down a steep grade to the Tall Trees Grove. When you visit, notice the built-up sediment at the base of the trees. In the 1960s and 1970s, efforts to protect the surrounding Redwood Creek drainage from logging focused on the the Tall Trees Grove. Upstream logging threatened the grove by increasing sediment flow in the creek. With the creation of Redwood National Park in 1968 and with added park lands in 1978, the Tall Trees Grove and lower Redwood Creek were given protection.|
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