Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Primeval redwood groves
When summer fogs cloak the coast, it’s a fair bet that Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park – sited just a few miles inland – will be bathed in sunshine, which is just one of many good reasons for making the effort to visit the northernmost section of Redwood National Park.
Like the salmon-stuffed Smith River that runs through it, the park is named after the man who, in 1827, made the first recorded crossing of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Smith’s spirit of adventure is not something shared by the visitors who make no greater incursion into the park’s 9,500 acres than the Stout Trail, a simple route to the underwhelming Stout Tree, the fame of which is based solely on the 21-ft diameter which makes it the plumpest coastal redwood.
Press deeper into the park, however, and nature reveals itself more impressively with primeval groves of redwood and fern, carpets of wildflowers, and a proliferation of wildlife: raccoons and chipmunks are two-a-cent and, with luck, deer and bears may shyly reveal themselves. On the river, look out for beavers and otters busily rearranging nature’s waterside architecture.