I was so excited to go see the giant Redwood trees that I could barely control myself. I had seen pictures of tiny little people standing next to these enormous trees and definitely wanted to see them with my own eyes.
Redwood National Park is laid out a little strange. There are Redwood forests all along the northern coast of California. Some of the forests are state parks and some are national parks, but they all sort of collaborate to make one big park.
We visited the northern most section of the park, called Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. We arrived in the late morning on Labor Day weekend and of course there were no campsites left. The woman at the ranger station suggested a private campground that was located 5 miles down the road called Ruby Van Deventer County Park.
It was great. A really nice couple manages the park. They are incredibly friendly and willing to help with anything you need. The sites are located along the Smith River and among the giant redwood trees. There is running water and flush toilets, but no showers. The sites are only $15 per night though, so I would highly recommend this campground of your planning on visiting the Jedediah Smith section of the Redwood forests.
There are countless trails in Jedidiah Smith Park, but the most popular one is definitely the loop that goes through Stout Grove. This section of the park has some of the largest trees in the area and is famous for being the filming location of the Ewok Village in Star Wars.
It is impossible to capture the size of these trees with a camera. I took this one with the panorama on, and it’s still not doing any justice.
We walked around the look looking up in awe at how tall these trees are. Here is the obligatory picture of me hugging one of the bigger trees that we saw.
Even though these trees are huge and live for a very long time, eventually the do fall over. The size of the roots on them is insane. Here’s me standing next to a root ball of a downed redwood.
Here are some Redwood facts. Redwoods can live to be 2000 years old and grow to be nearly 400 feet tall and 22 feet in diameter. The bark on a mature redwood tree can be as thick as 12 inches. That’s one solid foot of just bark all way around the tree!
In the 1940’s loggers had begun cutting down a large amount of redwood trees to use for building homes in San Francisco. This was upsetting to many people who believed that the giant tress should be protected. In 1968 Congress created the Redwood National Forest to protect these trees from being logged.
I’m so happy that they did because I fell in love with the forest. Walking through these giant trees makes you feel like you’re in another world. It’s a magical experience.
After stout grove we had time to do one more trail. We headed down Howland Hill Road, which is sort of like the scenic drive through the park so there are quite a few people driving on it. It is an unpaved road and is only wide enough for one car in most places. It is a two way road though, so you just have to be careful and pull off to the side if someone is coming from the other direction.
We stopped at the parking are for the Mill Creek trail and decided to give it a try. It’s a long trail so we just planned on hiking out until we got to the creek then hiking back. It was a great trail. It was a little more challenging, which I enjoy, and it had more giant trees, which were quickly becoming my new obsession.
We made it out to the creek and found a little swimming hole spot with a rope swing. It was really cute. The water was crystal clear and was a pretty shade of greenish blue due to so many trees towering above it. It was really pretty.
By that point it was getting late so we headed back to our campground to make dinner and head to bed. I was really sad that we only got to spend half a day with the redwoods. I could have spent a few days there looking at those big beautiful trees.
Have you been to the Redwood Forests? Were you amazed by how big the trees are?