In a previous post, I mentioned that Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) is comprised of Redwood National Park, California’s Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks. In total, RNSP covers about 133,000 acres which is an overwhelming amount of ground to cover, especially if you’re short on time. In this post, I’m sharing how you can make the most of your visit by highlighting three great ways to maximize your experience amongst the coastal redwoods.
If you’re short on time when visiting the redwoods like we were, then don’t underestimate the value of enjoying these giants from the comfort of your car.
As Jave and I drove through the RNSP, we often found that ours was the only car within sight for stretches at a time which was both daunting and exhilarating. We rolled down our windows and inhaled the damp forest smell while letting the cool air pass through our car. Occasionally, we pulled over to appreciate the silence of the forest and to marvel at trees that had fallen as well as those that are still standing.
While driving through the Prairie Creek Redwoods, we even came across a huge male elk and his three female companions hanging out and grazing on the side of the road. We were able to appreciate this encounter from the safety of our car more so than we likely would have if we came face-to-face with these animals while hiking on a trail as that probably would’ve evoked more fear than awe.TIP: One of the cars in front of us pulled up directly next to the male elk and the passenger stuck her camera out and started snapping pictures. The elk was inches from ramming the car with its antlers and would have if the driver hadn’t sped off. Don’t be dumb like that passenger.
Trees of Mystery
With a huge statue of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe, standing out front, it’s hard to miss Trees of Mystery when driving down US Highway 101 through Klamath. Although some might be quick to write Trees of Mystery off as a tourist trap, I disagree, and I’m going to devote a separate post to this place because I think it’s worth a special visit.
What I will say for now is that Trees of Mystery is a great way for non-adventurous travelers like me and Jave to explore the coastal redwoods and a variety of other trees on foot without venturing deep into the forest. Admission to Trees of Mystery includes a ride up the Sky Trail where you can get an intimate aerial view of the towering redwoods.
Plus, with its End of Trail Museum, Trees of Mystery does a pretty good job of teaching visitors about the Native Americans who once lived freely in Del Norte Coast. More to come!
Stout Memorial Grove
Located several miles within Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park you’ll find Stout Memorial Grove, a half mile loop trail that’s surrounded by ancient coastal redwoods.
To memorialize her husband, Frank Stout, back in 1929, Clara Stout donated this 44-acre grove to the Save-the-Redwoods League to preserve it. Today, this grove is considered to be the heart of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and it’s definitely worth a visit.