Redwood National Park

Chandelier Tree
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The old giants of the Sierra, the sturdy sentinels of this coast, the last stands of Sequoia… I’ve written about trees before (here & here).

Visiting the Redwoods on our Pacific Coast Road Trip was a lot like seeing Sequoia National Park again, but there was more fog, and we already knew the feeling of being shrunk down and shoved back in time.

Chandelier Tree
Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree

Redwood isn’t like most parks in the NPS. It’s not one park with well marked boundaries, and it’s not laid out for the motor-tourist with easy stops and paved trails to the largest trees.

Instead, it is fragmented into several national and state parks. Pockets of old growth trees are protected, but around them Redwoods are logged and milled into great stacks of fragrant lumber. (The old trees that still stand are the tallest on earth.)

Roads do traverse the parks, but fog often shrouds the groves of trees and makes the forest feel mysterious. The locations of many of the tallest Redwoods are kept secret to protect them, and others are difficult to hike to.

Putting in effort to see the park pays off though. Even without much time to hike, Jesse and I explored some trails and got up close and personal with the world’s tallest trees.

We stopped at a visitor center on the coast to get a map (and a stamp in my National Park Passport, of course) and spent most of a day basking in the powerful size and beauty of California’s Redwoods.

Our favorite part though, was the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwood’s State Park. This road is phenomenal on a motorcycle. 

The trees and their immense presence, the shadows and light, the quiet forest floor and velvety road curving through sections of forest with a sliver of sky above and gaps of bright sunlight… it’s an incredible ride.

Nothing makes you feel small and full of wonder like an enormous forest! I’d come back here in a heartbeat for more hiking and another afternoon cruise on this perfect road. But on this trip we were forging south for San Francisco and Yosemite, with permits to climb Half Dome. More on that later…

 

 

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