What? : Humboldt
Redwoods State Park is a large park along highway 101 corridor. The park containing
and protecting Rockefeller Forest, the world's largest remaining contiguous
old-growth forest of coast redwoods.
is part of my "Redwood Parks at Northern California Coastline"
road-trip suggestions and trip planner blog.
When? : Year round. Between
October and May, the park receives about 80 inches of rain. Fog is not as
common as at the coastline.
Due note 1: The Park is
located along the main south-north highway 101, this is an excellent place to
plan a short stop, breakpoint at your long drive and enjoy a short hike at the
Due note 2: This area was more
densely populated before European incursion than it is now. Today, more than 10
percent of the population of Humboldt County are Native American, including
many people of Sinkyone descent who live along the North Coast.
My thoughts: I visit this
park on my way north and I found it worth the stop. This is a large park and I
only visit a small section of it, visiting few old-growth Redwood Groves. The
side-drive onto Mattole Rd is an excellent way to see the redwoods from your
car or to enjoy few short redwoods forest hikes.
coast redwoods (sequoia sempervirens) exist in a narrow band that runs for 500
miles from Monterey to just over the Oregon border. The redwoods follow the rain
and fog at elevations below 2,000 feet, where heavy winter rains and moderate
year-round temperatures occur. Trees can grow up to 350 feet tall or more, with
a base diameter of about 20 feet.
“living fossils” dating back 100 million years to the Cretaceous Period- the
time of the dinosaurs. The oldest coast redwoods are about 2,000 years old.
As result of
extensive logging activity in Between 1880 and the early 1900s, thousands of
acres of old-growth redwoods had disappeared; Series of state and national
parks in northern California protect the remaining of the old-growth Redwoods.
In 1994, NPS
and California State Parks agreed to co-manage four parks: Del Norte Coast,
Prairie Creek and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks, and Redwood National
Park. Managing the parks together provides protection and preservation of more
than 105,000 acres of redwood forest.
logging only about 5% of old growth Redwood exist today, 95% of them are in
northern California and 80% of them are already protected in one of the parks.
Redwoods Park spans 53,000 acres, about one third, or 17,000 acres, of the park
is old-growth redwood forest, the largest expanse of ancient redwoods left on
offers one of the best places to see redwoods by car: the 32-mile-long Avenue
of the Giants Scenic Road parallel to highway 101. Another highly recommended drive
is the Mattole Rd., a narrow side road that wind in between the giant redwood
trees and offer several hiking options along the road.
headquarters and the visitor center are located on the Avenue of the Giants,
State Route 254, between the towns of Weott and Myers Flat.
My Park Visit Description:
In my visit
description below I will cover only the locations I visit.
There are many
more things to see and do in this park.
Avenue of the Giants Scenic Road:
from San Francisco using highway 101, 157 miles north of Santa Rosa I took the
south entrance into Avenue of the Giants Scenic Road.
This one lane road
find it path parallel to highway 101 and the South Fork Eel River, wind its way
through the Redwood forests.
5 miles into Avenue
of the Giants drive I took exit to my left into at Maple Hill Rd. (this road can
connect you back to 101).
Just before you
are crossing the bridge over the river there is a small roadside parking and on
your left side a short 4x4 trail that will take you to the river level below
This is a nice
river beach, wide and covered with pebbles, during summer months and if there
isn’t any poison algae restriction you can swim here.
After my river visit,
I kept driving north, passing the Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center, I
reached the South Fork Eel River bridge. I turn left onto Lower Bull Creek
Flats Rd just under the 101 bridge, this road transform into Mattole Road and
enter the danse Redwood forest.
Mattole Road is
one of the best drives I did at an old-grove redwoods, early morning sunlight penetrating
through the tall trees canopy, narrow and winding road between the trees, and
only few other cars contribute to my morning experience.
I stop and hike the Rockefeller
Once driving on
Mattole Rd. you will see sign to a single-lane road to your left (look for
signs), this short road will take you to a small parking.
Grove, at the confluence of Bull Creek and the Eel River, an excellent place to
enjoy old redwood forest. A short 0.7 loop hike start at the small parking lot,
I did it counterclockwise, but it can be done in the opposite direction.
passes between the huge trees, it passes a huge fallen tree, soon after it turn
right near to Bull Creek, this section has many towering, big redwood trees.
walk the trail turns right to the direction of the parking lot. It enter another
dens redwood grove just before the parking.
is a short 20–30-minute hike but very rewording.
Giant Tree Grove:
Keep driving west
on Mattole Road until you will reach the turn left into Big Tree parking.
Here you can
find the Giant Tree that once was considered to be the largest redwood. The
Giant Tree is on the remote, south, side of Bull Creek.
seasonal Bull Creek footbridge and turn left, most people just looking at the
Gian tree and go back but the short loop trail on the far side of the creek offers
impressive views of huge redwoods.