If I was hoping to kick off our 2012 Northern California road trip on a high note, Humboldt Redwoods State Park couldn’t have been a more perfect choice. I loved our brief stay so much that I dare say it now occupies the top position on my list of favorite California State Parks.
I blame it on the trees.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is the third largest California State Park, encompassing nearly 53,000 acres – of which more than 17,000 are old-growth coast redwoods. The environment found within the park is unique to anywhere else on earth. Which makes it pretty special in my book.
The trees are indescribable and being surrounded by them … well, that’s just something I hope each of you has a chance to do someday.
You can learn lots more about the redwoods here, but let me just skip to the chase: The California Coast Redwood is the world’s tallest known tree and one of the world’s oldest trees. These beauties are truly awe-inspiring. Even the kids can sense there’s something special about this place.
But the trees aren’t the only thing to marvel. The lush redwood undergrowth includes several species of fern and the pink and white blossoms of ever-present redwood sorrel.
If you only have one day to explore Humboldt Redwoods State Park (as was the case for us), don’t panic. To make the most of it:
- Take an auto tour along the Avenue of the Giants (the scenic route through the park), which features eight stops along the 32-mile route
- Stop in at the Visitor Center
- Hit the trails – there are more than 100 miles of them in the park
- Take advantage of an interpretive program such as a nature walk, junior ranger program, campfire programs & more (usually limited to the summer months)
Our agenda? We arrived late afternoon in time to pitch camp at Hidden Springs Campground. The next morning, we started at the Visitor Center, then drove a good portion of the Avenue of the Giants (minus the audio tour) and hiked The Drury-Chaney Loop.
- Visitor center, which includes several exhibits & displays, a theatre, bookstore, & the Kellogg Travel Log – a 1920’s era motor home with a body carved entirely from one single redwood log
- The 32-mile scenic Avenue of the Giants
- More than 100 miles of hiking, biking & riding trails
- Three family campgrounds
- Water activities such as swimming, fishing, kayaking & canoeing
- Entrance to Humboldt Redwoods State Park is free and the park is open open year-round
- The Visitor Center is open every day except Thanksgiving & Christmas: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., April through October, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through March
- Download the official Humboldt Redwoods State Park brochure here
- Pick up a brochure for the auto tour of the Avenue of the Giants at the north & south ends of the Avenue or at the Visitor Center
- There are small general stores with snacks & supplies located in several small towns within the park
- Camping fees vary from $20/night at environmental camps to $35/night at family campgrounds
- Nearby state parks: Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, Benbow Lake State Recreation Area & Richardson Grove State Park
Humboldt Redwoods State Park headquarters and visitor center are located in Northern California on the Avenue of the Giants (State Route 254). This is scenic road that runs parallel to Highway 101 approximately 230 miles north of San Francisco/45 miles south of Eureka.
For more on our 2012 Northern California road trip adventures, check out:
- 4 Family-Friendly NorCal Pit Stop Adventures
- Exploring McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park With Kids
- Exploring Lava Beds National Monument With Kids
* This post originally appeared on GoExploreNature.com.