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Redwood National Forest Northern California Nature

Northern California Redwood National Forest Photo

It is hard to describe the feelings you get when appearing in the old-growth Redwood National Forest. Klamath region of the Redwood National and State Parks feature a real tourist trap, Redwood Forest Sky Trail which is a multi-million dollars gondola that shoots up the hill, offering an exclusive bird-eye view of the towering trees. If you look Northwest from the Sky Trail on Inverness Ridge, you will see a forest of burnt trees that stretches toward the coast. Along the way, you can also marvel ornate costumes, baskets and tapestries displayed at a small Native American Museum.

Redwood National Forest Northern California Trees

The End of the Trail Museum is attached to the north end of the Trees of Mystery gift shop and is one of the largest privately owned world class museums found there. It has been painstakingly assembled over a period of about 40 years by Marylee Thompson, and her heart is in every item on display here. The museum is constantly being upgraded and improved, so even if you were here as recently as last year, there is now much new information and more displays.

The museum is organized into six rooms of specific interest. The entrance and gallery is devoted to a collection of baby carriers. Also on display here are many of the animals used by the tribes for food and raw materials for crafts, clothing and shelter.

The other five rooms in the museum are organized by geographic area and all have extensive labelling and informative placards to guide you through the detailed and informative exhibits. This is a lovingly maintained museum, and there is no charge for entry.

Redwood National Forest Nature

After visiting the museum, have lunch in the Forest Café to have an amazing dining experience. Its dining room reflects the natural wonders and beauty of the Redwood Country. In the forest environment, a 26 foot high mural depicts the "Monarchs of the Mist", one of the most wondrous scenes of nature in the world. The ceiling is covered by foliage giving the feeling of dining in the forest. Immerse yourself in the sense of being under water in the unique "Under River Area" looking at steelhead trout and salmon with a special perspective of the ducks swimming on the surface. With its relaxed atmosphere, great scenery and fine food, the Forest Cafe offers a unique and enjoyable dining experience.

Redwood National Forest Photo

One of the most spectacular routs in the West, the Avenue of the Giants was left intact for sightseers when the freeway was built. 33 miles long, the Avenue of the Giants features majestic coast redwoods, with more than 50,000 acres of them stretching in the most fantastic display in the redwood belt of the Humboldt State Park. Their rough-bark trunks alone can reach 100 feet and the branches soar to more than 340 feet. Possessing fire-resistant bark and immunity for insects, these huge trees have survived for thousands of years, with the oldest coast tree dating more than 2,200 years old.

Redwood National Forest Tree House

The Avenue features some of the attractions not to be missed. The first one is the Chimney Tree which is rumored to be the home of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit. This living hollow redwood tree is more than 1,500 years old. You can buy souvenirs and have a snack in the burger nearby. Then there is One-Log House which is a small apartment-like dwelling built inside the log. You can also drive through the living redwood at Shrine Thru-Tree at Myers Flat.

Redwood National Forest Northern California Photos

Other must-sees of the Avenue include the Founders Grove, just a few miles North of Weott and the Immortal Tree which is 950 years old, just North of Redcrest. Two fantastic short hikes, the Drury Trail and the Percy French Trail, are near Pepperwood at the end of the avenue.

The 51,000-acre Humboldt Redwoods State Park is also good for mountain biking as well as camping, featuring three campgrounds with 248 campsites.

Redwood National Forest Picture

From Eureka to Crescent City, you will find about half of the state remaining old-growth forests in preserves and parks. The 71,715-acre Redwood National Park is the Southern cornerstone of this necklace of parks. Running from South to North are Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwood, and Jedediah Smith Redwood State Parks, all offering fabulous options for taking a hike and pitching a tent. In this part of the state the world’s largest trees preside over a gorgeously beautiful landscape. Rough coast redwoods stand impossibly straight in the North Coast fern-covered canyons and ridgetops, begging for exploration. But the state expansive Northern parks are the best places to get a jaw-dropping look at the primeval beauty of these ancient trees.

Northern California Redwood National Forest Nature

The coastal redwood empire extends from Southern border of Oregon to the B&B haven of Mendocino. Nature is divine here. Winter rains and dense summer fog are important for these famous inhabitants that can reach 300 feet and some of them are more than 2,000 years old.

Redwood National Forest Pics

Just as important to this area is craggy coast which is home to hundreds of bird species. You can spot migrating gray whales in winter and spring from the bluffs North of Trinidad. If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of grazing elk in the silent sanctuaries of the old-growth forest.

Redwood National Forest Oceanfront

Just North of Mendocino is Russian Gulch State Park which is one of the most spectacular parks of the region. Here waves crash against the cliffs that protect the coastal redwoods of the park. The hottest attraction of the park is Punch Bowl, a collapsed sea cave forming a tunnel through which crashing waves create throaty echoes.

California Redwood National Forest Photo

Inland, there are numerous trails which are perfect for hiking, biking and horseback riding, including a gentle, well-maintained 3-mile long Waterfall Loop that winds past tall redwoods and damp green foliage and reaches a 36-foot high waterfall.

One of the largest tourist attractions of the North Coast, vintage Skunk Train takes the visitors on a scenic route through the magnificent redwoods forest. It crosses 31 bridges and trestles, cuts through two deep tunnels and chugs past giant trees that are more than 1,000 years old and finally reaches a secluded forested glen which you can get to only by train. Built to transport log in 1885, the Skunk Trail Line was originally used for moving massive redwoods logs from the rugged back country to the Mendocino coast sawmills. The train runs daily from the Fort Bragg Depot at the foot of Laurel Avenue from March to November, and on Saturdays December through February.

Redwood National Forest Ocean

Lying on the narrow strip near the coast of Northern California, about 375 miles North of San Francisco, Redwood National and State Parks features the old-growth forest as well as the ocean setting and the bald hills called the prairies here. Like a tropical rain forest, Redwood National and State Parks is multilayered, with the tall trees forming only the top layer.

Redwood National Forest Photos

The grounds are covered by flowering bushes while 10-foot-tall ferns line the creek. The smells are so rich that they pervade all the area in and near the park. Here everything is big, misty and primeval, as though you stepped back to the Jurassic epoch, lacking only dinosaurs to make a vivid picture. Surrounded by huge trees, you can’t but feel being small and shrunk or have a feeling that the rest of the world has suddenly grown.

Northern California Redwood National Forest Photos

To see the largest trees in the world that can reach up to 360 feet and some are more than 600 years old you will have to hike the Tall Trees Trail. After slow driving to the trailhead, you will have to walk a steep 1.3 miles down into the grove, so in the drive and hike it will take you at least 4 hours to get to the trees. But what a small price it is to see the largest trees in the world!

Northern California Redwood National Forest Picture

If you prefer driving, the most car-friendly trail in the Redwood National and State Parks is the hidden but well-maintained gravel 12-mile Howland Hill Road winding through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. This spectacular journey through magnificent old-growth redwoods is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful areas in the world.

Redwood National Forest Northern California Photo

Besides just hiking Redwoods National and State Parks offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Though most of the hiking trails are off limits for mountain bikers, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park features a fantastic mountain-bike trail through dense forest and elk-filled meadows.

Redwood National Forest Northern California Oceanfront

There are also several beaches in the park. Long and sandy, located just 2 miles from Crescent city, Crescent Beach is a popular spot among beachcombers, surfers and surf fishers. Just South of Crescent Beach is Enderts Beach, which is a protected area with a hike-in campgrounds and tide pools at its Southernmost end. Park beaches are also good for surfcasting and there is nothing to wonder about, because Redwood Coast streams are some of the best steelhead trout and salmon-breeding habitat in California.

Redwood National Forest Bear

Have a tour aboard a jet boat that will take you 22 miles upriver from the Klamath River Estuary to view bears, deer, elk, osprey hawks, otters and more along the river banks. Klamath Overlook and Crescent Beach Overlook are great outposts for whale-watching during the migration period. The sea cliffs in the North also provide valuable nesting sites for diverse marine birds. Bird-watchers will love the coastal freshwater lagoons of the park as well, which are some of the most pristine shorebird and waterfowl habitats left, flocking with hundreds of species.

Redwood National Forest Pictures

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is famous for its herd of Roosevelt elk, usually found in the Elk Prairie in the Southern end of the park, as well as at Gold Bluffs Beach, though occasionally. These gigantic animals may weigh up to 1000 pounds. The bulls carry huge antlers from spring to fall. It is an incredible rush to suddenly come upon them out of the fog or after a turn in the trail. The park is also home to nearly 100 black bears which are rarely seen and are afraid of people.

Northern California Redwood National Forest Pictures

With so many parks, campers have got great chances of finding a secluded campsite. Summer campgrounds in Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park are close to Mill Creek, the place where wild salmon spawn. Driving along Howland Hill Road in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park provides a good introduction to the primeval beauty of these ancient trees.

Redwood National Forest Northern California Tree

Sleeping underneath quiet giant has many advantages, not the least of which is the carpet of soft and springy needles, offering a restful foundation after a long, but exciting day of hiking. But if you prefer to sleep in luxury, a Victorian-era town of Ferndale located about 60 miles South of Orick will be a good base, with its cute shops, great dining options including super-fresh seafood and quaint B & Bs. The town of Ferndale is located beyond the Avenue of the Giants and is a National Historic Landmark due to its Victorian homes and storefront. About 5 miles inland from the coast and so near to the redwood belt, Ferndale is one of the best-preserved Victorian hamlets in Northern California.

Redwood National Forest Northern California Pictures

Such notable guests as Eleanor Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and Charles Laughton used to stay in the elegant Benbow Inn, which is now a National Historic Landmark. Overlooking the Eel River and surrounded by gardens, it was constructed in a mock-Tudor style and is named after the family that built it.

Northern California Redwood National Forest Pics

The lobby features huge fireplace surrounded by cushy sofas, grandfather’s clocks, Oriental carpets and cherry wood furniture. The hotel offers various rooms that differ in size and amenities, but all they are furnished with antques of that period, with the deluxe rooms featuring fireplaces, Jacuzzis, private entrances and patios.

Redwood National Forest Northern California Pics

The most popular accommodations are in Honeymoon cottage, with vaulted ceilings, a canopy bed, wood-burning fireplace and private patio overlooking the river. The front door faces the beautiful Benbow Lake State Park which is just steps away. The dramatic dining room with high ceilings opens onto a spacious terrace and offers internationally inspired, and naturally expensive, main courses. Complimentary afternoon tea and scones are served in the lobby.

Northern California Redwood National Forest

No matter where you stay, either in the tent or in a luxurious hotel, being in the redwoods area is like appearing in some kind of a fairy-tale world. All Redwood National Forest features primeval nature, lush, cool and damp, which is all brimming with giant ferns and majestic redwoods. Just being here is a truly emotional experience.