After we took off from the Sacramento area in mid-September, we made our way up to Humboldt County. Eureka, which is the main city in Humboldt, is the largest coastal town between Portland and San Francisco. It is a gateway into some of the most beautiful coastal forest, and is situated right on waters of the Pacific. We had driven through Eureka last summer on a road trip, and hadn’t given it much thought. On a gloomy overcast day, the city is easy to overlook. After some discussion, we decided to give this city a second chance and we are thrilled that we did! We met some bloggers that we have followed for a good while (Pat and Ali of Bumfuzzle), ate some delicious food from Brick and Fire Bistro (do not miss this if you’re in the area!…a hidden gem), and last but not least, explored the redwoods!
If you are planning a visit to Northern California, whether you choose to spend time in nearby Eureka or not, Humboldt Redwoods State Park is not to be missed. The 53,000 acre park holds over 17,000 acres of old growth redwoods. In fact, the Rockefeller Forest (located inside the park) is the largest remaining old growth forest on earth. State Route 254, which is commonly called the Avenue of the Giants, is a 32-mile stretch of road that parallels Highway 101, and is an internationally known scenic byway. Fun facts aside, it is overwhelming and humbling to explore these natural giants.
If you are planning a trip to see the NorCal redwoods, keep these tips in mind:
- Even if you don’t have time to stop, hike or further explore, driving the full length of the Avenue is really worth experiencing. There are plenty of pull offs to take if you want to snap a few pictures as well. Even though the Avenue is only 32 miles long, plan on spending a couple hours at a minimum. The speed limit is slow, and there is plenty to see and do to keep you busy along the way!
- Do not carve into any of the trees! You would think that common sense would prevail here, but alas, it does not. This is unfortunately common throughout the park. Please help to preserve these incredible giants for generations to come… just respect nature and don’t ruin it for others.
- Plan your trip in the middle of the day, and if possible, when it is sunny! The trees are tall enough to block out a lot of light, and if you go on an overcast day, your photo opportunities will not be as plentiful.
- Save your money on the drive through trees and the “tourist traps.” These may sound enticing, and are marketed as being amazing experiences, but in my humble opinion, the real ‘redwoods experience’ does not require these gimmicks.
Regardless of all of the beautiful places that we see, I often find myself looking at pictures from the days we spent walking amongst these jolly green giants (I can’t help myself; cheesy puns are my thing).