Humboldt Redwoods State Park
On Hwy-101, 68 miles North of Willits/41 miles South of Eureka. Found only in Oregon and northern California, the coastal red-wood trees are the world’s tallest living things and shouldn’t be confused with the giant sequoias, a redwood species common to California’s Sierra Nevada region which is larger in bulk but shorter than the coastal redwoods. Coastal redwood is a prized building material, and a century of commercial logging has greatly depleted stocks. Nonetheless, impressive numbers still cloak sections of the North Coast, including the 50,000-acre Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
Despite the tacky souvenir stalls which crop up along it, the Avenue of the Giants is a splendid 33-mile drive, clearly signposted from the Hwy-101, that weaves through several pockets of the mighty trees. For a fuller understanding of the remarkable redwoods, call into the Visitor Center (www.humboldtredwoods.org/visitor_center), about halfway along the Avenue near the Burlington campground, and be sure to venture on foot through at least one of the groves (the redwoods cluster together in groves for mutual protection – their shallow root systems leave them vulnerable to high winds). The smart choice is Founders Grove, dedicated to the Save-The-Redwoods League, an environmental group active as early as 1918, where you will find the park’s tallest tree – the 358-ft Dyerville Giant – and a self-guided trail describing the forest’s ecology.