Redwood Coast Road Trip
Visitors from all over the world go to California’s Redwood Coast because of its spectacular beauty. Visitors will find themselves surrounded by towering, ancient redwood groves, pristine coastlines, and historic cities with their own distinctive charm after a five-hour drive north along scenic Highway 101 from Sacramento, California, and a five-hour drive north from San Francisco. This is a fantastic place to spend a long weekend taking in the beauty of nature, learning about the local culture, and getting away from it all.
Day 1: Drive-Through Trees and Ave. of the Giants
Be sure to stop at one of the Drive-Thru Trees as you travel north on the picturesque Highway 101 to Humboldt County. The Chandelier Tree is in Leggett, just south of Humboldt Redwoods State Park on Highway 101, and the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree is in Myers Flat (take the Myers Flat Exit on Hwy 101). You will get the opportunity to pass through one of these enormous towering giants here.
Drive the magnificent Avenue of the Giants, which is located just north of Garberville, on your trip north. In California’s 500-mile redwood belt, this 31-mile stretch of Highway 101 has by far the best collection of these enormous trees, and it is open to the public and offers convenient services along the way. The biggest remaining stand of virgin redwoods in the world may be found in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which is located around the Avenue of the Giants. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon in the shade of these wonderful trees.
The greatest lodging options along the Redwood Coast are in Eureka or Arcata because they are in the middle of the county. If you plan to remain in Eureka, go to Historic Old Town for dinner and take in Arts Alive, a monthly celebration of regional art and music, which takes place on the first Saturday. Enjoy dinner and a stroll on the famed Arcata Plaza if you’re staying there.
Day 2: Trinidad, Fern Canyon, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Enjoy a brisk morning walk on the Arcata Plaza, through Old Town Eureka, or along the Eureka waterfront before heading north for the day. As you drive north on Hwy 101 be sure to stop in the beautiful coastal town of Trinidad for breakfast, or a relaxing morning walk on Trinidad State Beach.
After arriving at Gold Bluffs Beach, keep driving to Fern Canyon. Take a lovely stroll through a little canyon where ferns and mosses fully cover the canyon walls (as seen in the movie Jurassic park II). Keep an eye out for the Roosevelt elk herds that frequent this area.
Spend the afternoon walking through the Redwood Groves of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, home of the world’s tallest trees. Hike along one of the many trails that branch out from the Visitors’ Center in Elk Meadow. Or drive out to the Ladybird Johnson Grove, named after the former First Lady and naturalist. Just 1 mile north of Orick, turn right onto Bald Hill Road go approx 2 miles. This is a 1-hour flat stroll through an old-growth redwood grove.
After a long day of hiking and sight-seeing, visitors may want to spend a relaxing evening at their campground or hotel or enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants in Eureka, such as Cafe Waterfront, or Hurricane Kate’s, or Arcata restaurants such as Tomo’s Japanese Restaurant, and Abruzzi, and the Plaza Grill. Visitors may also want to catch a show at the North Coast Repertory Theater, the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts, or a movie at the historic Minor Theater in Arcata.
Day 3: The Samoa Cookhouse, The Madaket, Eureka, and Ferndale
Early morning breakfast at the Samoa Cookhouse, a “lumber camp” style restaurant with hearty portions will get your day off to a wonderful start. After breakfast, visitors may want to take a stroll and visit the many shops in Old Town Eureka (most don’t open until after 10 am). Be sure to get a look at the Carson Mansion, the former home of Lumber Barron William Carson, a frequently photographed Victorian mansion (Located at 143 M Street, Eureka).
Be sure to take a cruise on Humboldt Bay aboard the Madaket, the last survivor of seven original ferries that transported mill workers and families around Humboldt Bay. These 75-minute narrated cruises run from JUNE thru SEPTEMBER –
Drive to the Victorian Village of Ferndale, in the South in the afternoon. A living history museum of Victoriana and other architectural gems, Ferndale, California (pop. 1,382) has remained almost untouched since the 1800s. Ferndale was established in 1852 and swiftly developed into one of the major agricultural hubs of the area. It is tucked away in a lush, pastoral valley next to redwood woods in Northern California.
Have dinner at the VI Restaurant after spending the day viewing these historic Victorians, and browsing quaint shops and museums. Visitors may also want to take in a play at the Ferndale Repertory Theater, the oldest community theater on the beautiful northwest coast of California.
We hope you enjoy your trip to the Redwood Coast. Whether you spend three days here or three weeks there is always plenty to see and do. We hope you will come back and visit Humboldt County many times in the future.