Redwood Grove

Seven Wonders of the Coast Redwoods

Continued from: Coast Redwoods

Copyright 2012 by Mario Vaden

Some of the finest forest in the world are the Coast Redwoods of northern California and southern Oregon. The largest and tallest of these redwoods even rival the Giant Sequoia which grow on the mountains to the east. Coast Redwoods, which grow close to the ocean, have been measured at over 379 feet tall, and over 26 feet wide. And the best of the best places to see them are concentrated in northern California between Garberville and Crescent City.

I am providing 7 places among the northern coast redwood forests that can be considered Seven Wonders of the Coast Redwoods. Determined by special forest qualities, the potential to awe visitors, and adequate distance from large populated cities. Following the photo of Howland Hill Giant below, you will find all 7 or those special redwood areas. These 7 are different from the Best Places to See the Redwoods, because this list if much more refined. If you could only visit the coast redwoods once in your lifetime, I think these 7 are the ultimate for enjoyment, hiking, photography, learning and sharing. They are presented starting from the north.


Howland Hill Giant redwood

 

#1 ... Howland Hill Road & Stout Grove at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Howland Hill Rd. is a small curving historic road that passes right through the heart of the redwood park. Old growth redwoods and forest flank both sides of the road which provides glimpes of the Smith River and Mill Creek. The drive can be approached from the east or from Crescent City to the west. This route passes a driveway for Stout Grove, a huge stand of redwoods which takes just a few minutes to walk too. For directions, contact the redwood parks visitor centers.

#2 ... Damnation Creek Trail in Del Norte Redwoods State Park

This trail leads from Hy. 101 to the ocean. The trailhead is about 8 miles south of the beach at Crescent City, CA. The highway on both sides of the trailhead and the trail itself are famous for photography opportunities. The stands of redwoods, rays of sunlight penetrating fog, Rhododendron blossoms in late May, plus the ocean destination. The trail crosses and intersects the Coast Trail too.

#3 ... Fern Canyon of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

South of Klamath, CA. Fern Canyon is accessed by taking Highway 101, turning left on Davison Rd., and driving along Gold Bluff Beach. It only takes a few minutes from parking to reach the mouth of the canyon. The sides are virtually sheer vertical walls cloaked with ferns. Up above, there are a lot of Sitka spruce which eventually blend with coast redwoods. The paths in and around Fern Canyon allow visitors to wander onto several other trails, and it's highly recommended to add an extra mile or two, like hiking part of James Irvine trail and backtracking.

#4 ... The Heart of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Between Klamath and Orick, CA. The entire park is considered by some to be the gemstone of all the Coast Redwood forests. And the heart of the park is somewhat of a connected network. Most of it can be reached, even if a storm closes Drury Parkway, by using the south entrance. That side has to remain open because it accesses the ranger facilities, visitor center and campground. Best I can describe it, here are some fo the ultimate areas of the park ... mark them on a map and you will see how they interconnect.

James Irvine Trail
Prarie Creek Trail ... at least 2 miles worth, north of the Visitor Center
The Expansive Elk Prairie in the midst
Foothill Trail, the first 1/2 mile or so, starting near the Visitor Center
Cal-Barrel Rd., the first mile
Brown Creek Trail. Park along Drury Parkway, or cross over the road from Prairie Creek Trail.
Most of Drury Parkway, whether on foot, bike or vehicle. Many turnouts and memorial groves

Again, for specific directions, maps or details, contact the visitor centers.

#5 ... Tall Trees Grove in Redwood National Park

Note: the access road was closed to vehicles indefinitely, June 2013, but there are ways to get there by hiking or biking. For more about this grove, use this link to the page for that grove

The grove is reached from Orick and Highway 101 by about 7 miles of Bald Hill Rd., and 7 miles of decent gravel road that meanders down to parking closer to Redwood Creek. The trail is not very long, about 1.3 miles one way. There are mixed species along the way, including Douglas fir, Tanoak and some Rhododendrons. The main grove is predominantly Coast Redwood. But there is also a Cathedral-like grove of Bigleaf maples that you just have to see to appreciate. The bottom loop of the hike is on an alluvial flat of Redwood Creek. The grove feels big, ancient and tranquil. Not very many people go down here during a single day. And it has a bit of a Wilderness feel to it. You can also walk out to the edge of the river. Up and down the gravel bars, overnight camping is permitted, but most campers wander quite a ways from the grove. It's nothing at all like seeing a campground.

#6 ... Avenue of the Giants at Humboldt Redwoods State Park

By Myers Flat, south of Fortuna and Eureka, CA. This is a spectacular scenic drive, about 30 miles long. The route runs crudely-parallel to Highway 101. Mattole Rd., possibly shown as Bull Creek Flats Rd. intersects this State Route 54 near Founders Grove. Consider going a few miles down Mattole Rd. too. This wonder is more of a drive, but there are plenty of places to park, hike around and enjoy photography.

More details, see: Avenue of the Giants

#7 ... Bull Creek Flats at Humboldt Redwoods State Park

This are has a substantial elongated hiking loop. All of it can be hiked in summer, and the north side in winter, unless you can find a safe way to cross once seasonal bridges are removed. There is a higher concentration of Coast Redwoods over 350 to 360 feet in this area than anywhere else. This an expanse of tall canopy like no other. Bull Creek passes down the middle of this forest which has survived many severe floods during centuries of the past. The area is more open and flat than Prairie Creek, but spectacular and unique in it's own way.

For a map and more information, let me recommend you to Redwood Hikes Dot Com

***********************************

Those are Seven Wonders of the Coast Redwood Forest. If you want a place to enjoy praying to God, relaxing or capturing good photography, those are all spectacular.

Enyoy your visit,

Mario D. Vaden

***********************************