Exploring the Eel River Valley

The Redwood Forest

The Avenue of the Giants

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The 33-mile Avenue of the Giants drive offers one of the most spectacular views of the Redwoods. At one time this was the only highway linking Humboldt County to the rest of the world. Some of the trees alongside the road still bear the scars where logging trucks loaded with these behemoths (one log to a truck) jostled for the right of way.

When the freeway was built this road was left open for sightseeing, and it brings visitors through grove after grove where the trees that crowd the road may be wider than the car. Stops include Founders Grove, the Visitor Center near Weott and several places that provide trail access. The auto tour can be taken either northbound or southbound comfortably in one to one and a half hours. The north entrance begins at the Pepperwood/Jordan Creek exit off Highway 101 and the south entrance begins at the Phillipsville exit off Highway 101, and an Auto Tour Map can be picked up at both entrances.

The Avenue of the Giants in Northern California. These protected redwoods are thousands of years old.

Along the Avenue of the Giants in Northern California. These protected redwoods are thousands of years old. Image courtesy of Precision Intermedia.

Small communities are located on the Avenue, and sections of some are located in the flood plain areas of the Eel River. Occasional high water during the wet season is a way of life.

Every year, nearly a million visitors from all around the world enjoy the towering and spectacular redwoods. The Avenue is surrounded by federal and state land, and as a result has not been exposed to commercial interests. There are no theme parks or commercial facilities other than small inns and other local businesses found in a typical small town.

Many groves along the Avenue feature well-marked and maintained trails of all sizes, allowing the visitor access to features along the road. Richardson Grove State Park (a half-dozen miles south of Garberville) offers an interpretive loop describing many the features of a redwood grove. The park also provides campsites and a visitor center.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Old book cover "Touring the Old Redwood Highway".

Northern California's largest redwood park covers over 51,000 acres and stretches along Highway 101 for 40 miles. The Park has more than 17,000 acres of old growth redwoods and the largest remaining stand of ancient redwoods in the world. The oldest recorded redwood tree, more than 2,200 years old, was found in the Park. Most of the Park's spectacular redwood groves are accessible by car or short walks.

The Visitor Center is located two miles south of Weott on the Avenue of the Giants. The Center has many displays that interpret the redwood environment. A slide show captures the beauty of Humboldt redwoods throughout the seasons. There are also videos that explain redwoods, plants, animals, and river floods of the region.

Natural history books, field guides and over-the-counter information is available. In the summer, ranger-and naturalist-led activities are scheduled daily. The Visitor Center is open seven days a week and you can call 707-946-2409 for information on the summer interpretive programs.       Continued

NEXT: Return of the Jedi.


The Redwoods


Related Items

Avenue of the Giants.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

"Four Fireplaces," on the Avenue of the Giants in the Women's Federation Grove one mile south Dyerville, was designed by renowned San Francisco architect Julia Morgan, who also designed Hearst Castle.