Visit Redwood National & State Parks- “The Kingdom of the Giant Redwoods”
“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you forever -the feeling they produce is unique and not transferable, they are ambassadors from another time!” John Steinbeck
Redwood National Park Adventure is the ultimate outdoor getaway, a unique travel experience to see California’s giant redwood trees and much more! Embark on this once-in-a-lifetime journey to marvel at the majestic ancient groves of the redwoods. These are ‘ambassadors from another time’, as John Steinbeck once called them, they are magnificent and ancient. When in the presence of these giants, you may feel like you are amongst the ferns where dinosaurs once roamed and co-existed with these trees. Travel to Northern California and explore in-depth the variety of sights of this lost-in-time landscape that has remained intact for centuries, and visit primitive lands and groves of ancient and towering ‘skyscrapers’.
But there is much more to see in Northern California besides the world’s tallest living tree. This this is the ultimate blog for all travelers, a must read before you visit the Redwood Country and Northern California.
Travel to Redwood Country and visit must-see attractions in Mendocino and Humboldt Counties
Hopland is a countryside rustic farming village in Mendocino County adjacent to the Russian River. The settlement that became Hopland was originally called Sanely and later changed its name to Hopland in 1891. The town’s name originates from the fact that, from the 1870s to the mid-1950s, much of the region’s economy was based on the growing and drying of bitter hops, a key flavoring and preservative in beer. There are notable establishments in Hopland including the Mendocino Brewing Company, and Fetzer Vineyards, a major producer of both red and white wines in North America, and there is also The Hopland Band of Pomo Indians operates the Hopland Sho-Ka-Wah Casino and Bingo on Nokomis which was opened in 1996 to fund health, educational and social benefits.
North of Hopland is Ukiah, which is home to Vichy Springs, known for their champagne baths. Ukiah claims to have the only naturally carbonated hot springs in North America and this small town was visited by many famous people in the 19th century, including the sailor-on-horseback, American author Jack London. East of Ukiah is the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, one of the largest Mahayana Buddhist communities in the Western hemisphere
Willits is 20 miles northwest of Ukiah and is the center of Mendocino County at the beginning of the county’s extensive redwood forests when arriving from the south. An arch donated to the city by Reno, Nevada in 1995 stands in the center of town with Willits’ slogans: ‘Heart of Mendocino County’ and ‘The Gateway to the Redwoods’. Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California is also headquartered in Willits. Picture the old Skunk train line runs 40 miles from Willits to Fort Bragg through the redwood forests.
Leggett is located on the South Fork of the Eel River in Mendocino County is about 80 miles north of Hopland and 90 miles south of Eureka. Visit Leggett’s world-famous drive-thru tree, known as the Chandelier Tree. The enormous branches are balanced on both sides of its massive trunk. Entrance fees for Chandelier Tree are included in the tour price. Since the 1930s, the Chandelier Tree, which is a 315-foot (96 meters) tree with a 6-foot (1.83 m) wide by 6-foot 9-inch (2.06 m) diameter, has had a wide hole cut through its base to allow automobiles to drive through.
Confusion Hill – Make a stop at the Gravity House and roadside attraction known as “Confusion Hill.” Here the laws of gravity appear to not exist, and while on this optional side trip, you can walk through a 1 ½-mile narrow railway that was built in a switchback layout along the side of the steep hill (tickets are not included and may be subject to additional entrance fee). Overall, this will be a nice opportunity to stretch your legs and feel the remote and relaxed atmosphere of this region. Life will seem to move a bit slower as head north to the Redwoods.
The Grandfather Tree is a trunk so large that it takes a dozen people holding hands to form a complete circle around it. The tree is 264-feet tall and the trunk is 25-feet across and 55-feet around. It is a privately-owned redwood tree along California Redwood Highway 101, and considered to be one of the largest and oldest redwoods in the world at close to 1,800-years-old! This is a good opportunity to visit the gift shop, use the restroom, or have a snack.
One-Log House – The Famous One-Log House was created in 1946 and built from a single redwood tree that was 2,100-years-old! This section alone weighed over 42 tons. Two determined carpenters spent months hollowing out a room 7-feet high and 32-feet long. Enough chips came out of it to build a five-bedroom house! The log house includes a living room, dining room, and bedroom area and this popular attraction is mobile, so note that its location can vary along Highway 1.
Richardson Grove State Park is at the southernmost border of Humboldt County, 75 miles south of Eureka. Home to the ninth largest tree of all remaining Coast Redwoods Trees, Richardson Grove State Park is named after Friend William Richardson, the 25th Governor of California from 1923 to 27. The Bigfoot gift shop has a full-sized carving of this legend, made from one solid redwood tree.
Discover the Majestic Avenue of the Giants. The Avenue of the Giants is a highlight of any adventure to the Redwoods! Enjoy this unique and scenic 30-mile drive and walk or hike to some of the largest groves of redwood trees in the world. The southern entrance of Avenue of the Giants is located north of Garberville where you can have lunch. Then drive to the most famous groves of giant redwoods within this 30-mile stretch. Some of the most famous groves and redwood trees you can visit include: The Chimney, Tree the Immortal Tree located by the visitor’s center, The Founder’s Grove, Eel River, and Shrine Drive-Thru Tree in Myers Flat.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park – California’s 3rd largest state park, with over 53,000 acres, and the largest old growth contiguous redwood forest in the world! Drive along the 32-mile Avenue of the Giants to explore Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and come by the Visitor Center between 10:00-4:00 between the towns of Weott and Myers Flat. For more specific information about the parks, you can call (707) 946-2263.
Humbolt Redwoods State Park is 30 miles south of Eureka and home to the largest remaining old-growth redwood forests in the world, famed for growing to over 106.7 meters (350-feet). Here, you may see the fourth tallest measured living redwood—Stratosphere Giant—which measured 370-feet in 2004. Today, the tallest redwood is the Hyperion, which measures 379.1-feet!
The World-Famous Tree House. Believe it or not, you will also see a house built into a giant redwood tree! This amazing tree house is visible from the road and you can choose to stop here to take a picture and learn more about it from this travel guide. The front of the house is entered through the hollow trunk of a still living tree while the front door and windows are clearly visible and the rest of the house adjoins the rear of the tree.
The Chimney Tree – Make a stop in Phillipsville to see the hollow tree attraction in the redwood country; its hollow living redwood tree that features a 12 and 1/2 ft. diameter room, carved from the center of the tree when it got burned out back in 1914. Visitors can go inside this massive redwood tree and gaze up the sky through this hollow tree.
The Immortal Tree Over 1,000-years-old, this tree stood 250-feet tall when it was still erect, and has survived everything from lightning strikes to floods. The Immortal Tree lies in the northern half of the Avenue. Redwood trees are named for the color of their bark, which is reddish and thick. The tannin in the bark and trunk protects the tree from disease, fire, and bugs, and is a strong building material. Learn more about redwood trees at the visitor center and museum.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center – located 2 miles south of Weott on the Avenue of the Giants. Free natural history museum, outdoor exhibits, publications, maps, camping and hiking information. The Visitor Center is operated by the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association, and all proceeds benefit efforts to expand the educational and outreach goals of the park. There are numerous visual and hands on educational exhibits, a theater, a library, gift shop, and a friendly volunteer staff to answer questions about the park and area. The Visitor Center is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Visitor Center Hours: April-September 9:00 am – 5:00 pm / October-March 10:00 am – 4:00 pm (707) 946–2263 / humboldtredwoods.org
The Eel River is the third largest river in California after the Sacramento and the San Joaquin Rivers. It carves deep down into the canyon through flat valleys and runs along majestic and ancient redwood forests. The Avenue of the Giants follows the south fork of this river.
The Shrine Drive-Thru Tree Located in Myers Flat, the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree is a tight tunnel carved into a naturally angled opening in a trunk. This is a very small grove of redwoods located within the Avenue of the Giant, it has become a popular stop for visitors who want to drive their won vehicles through this tunnel tree redwood. It’s privately owned and fees apply to enter this small park of redwoods.
The Founder’s Grove – walk to see the largest and tallest tree at Avenue of the Giants. Founders Tree is 346-feet tall and the Dyersville Giant stood 370-feet tall before falling in 1991. The Dyersville Giant downfall was so stupendous that locals thought they were experiencing an earthquake!
Fortuna is located south of Eureka and the name means ‘fortune or chance’ in Spanish, chosen by settlers who felt fortunate to live near the forest, rivers, ocean, and fertile valley.
Historic Ferndale is Redwoods’ best-kept secret town. Nestled between the California Redwoods and fabled Lost Coast, the Victorian Village of Ferndale is a hidden oasis of small town charm, spectacular architecture, enchanting natural beauty and welcoming North Coast culture. With its fusion of old-fashioned Americana and modern quirkiness – and a scenic setting straight out of the movies – this small but thriving dairy town near Eureka, CA is the perfect destination for a fun family vacation, rugged outdoor adventure or romantic weekend getaway.
Ferndale, sometimes also referred to as ‘Cream City’, is known for well-preserved Victorian store-fronts on main street and homes throughout the community, which are also known as “Butterfat Palaces,” due to their construction wherein considerable wealth was generated in the dairy industry. Many of these buildings date from the 1880s. The entire town is registered as California Historical Landmark. Six historic buildings as well as the Ferndale Main Street Historic District and the Fern Cottage Historic District are within or around Ferndale are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ferndale has been featured in movies including The Majestic with Jim Carrey, Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman, and made-for-television movies Salem’s Lot starring David Soul and James Mason, A Death in Canaan, and Joe Dirt.
Eureka – Eureka comes from Ancient Greek language and means, ‘I have found it’. It is the main city in Humboldt County, situated in the heart of Redwood State and National Park. It is home to hundreds of Victorian homes including the famous Carson Mansion, built in 1886. The land remained undiscovered and was inhabited only by Native Americans, until the 1800s, when Russian mariners reached the bay when they came from Alaska. The discovery of gold in the 1850s also attracted many people because of its proximity to Humboldt Bay and its natural, deep shipping channels. Ask your guide about the impact the Gold Rush had on this area.
Eureka is well-known for its, museums, maritime spirit, rich bay area, street arts and murals, Victorian architecture, and the city’s streets are a treasure trove of elaborate and lovingly restored buildings and arts. You will find examples street arts and interesting murals in Old Town, Downtown, and along the 101 Corridor. There are also famous sculptures in Eureka, the best-known is a sculpture by Dick Crane of a fisherman on Woodley Island in Humboldt Bay. Most of the pieces were donated to the City of Eureka by businesses and artists. The streets and alleyways of Old Town Eureka are also believed to be among the most haunted locations on the entire West Coast.
The Carson Mansion is a large Victorian house located in Old Town Eureka in Northern California. Regarded as one of the highest executions of American Queen Anne Style architecture, the house is ‘considered the grandest Victorian home in America’. The Carson Mansion is said to have employed more than 100 craftsmen at one time for the carving, finishing and installing of its intricate decorative flourishes. It is one of the most written about and photographed Victorian houses in California, and perhaps, in the United States. Originally the home of William Carson, one of Northern California’s first major lumber barons, since 1950 it has been a private club, the house and grounds are not open to the public. Images of the house are prevalent in web site designs and video animations as well as on posters, paintings, and book covers. This popularity also has led to replicas being created in amusement parks, including the clock tower on the train station at Disneyland. The home also serves as a model for haunted house art work and design. The house is a mix of every major style of Victorian architecture, including but not limited to: Eastlake, Italianate, Queen Anne (primary), and Stick. One nationally known architectural historian described the house as ‘a baronial castle in Redwood Country’.
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park is a California state park located in Eureka. Learn about the former U.S. Army fort which was staffed here from 1853–1870, the interactions between European Americans and Native Americans in roughly the same period, where you can also see logging equipment and local narrow-gauge railroad history of the region. Within this collection, there are trains, logging equipment, including a fully functional Steam Donkey engine, and an authentic Native American dug-out canoe. The Fort overlooks Humboldt Bay from a commanding position atop a bluff. The North Coast regional headquarters of the California State Parks system is located onsite. Today, it’s used as museum with exhibits showing the history of the area and how the fort operated. A historic garden has been planted with herbs and vegetables that were available in the 1850s. You can also see 19th and mid-20th century logging equipment, such as ‘Lucy’, a Dolbeer-type steam donkey, and two locomotives. The park is open from 8 am until 5pm daily, free of charge.
Samoa Dunes Recreation Area in Samoa Peninsula
Just west of Eureka, wide grassy dunes and windswept beaches extend along a mile-wide and 10-mile long Samoa Peninsula, in Humboldt Bay’s. This park is a sandy strip of land extending between Humboldt Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The Samoa Dunes Recreation Area is a multi-recreational popular park for off-road motorcycle, ATV riding, hikers, surfers, beachcombers and fishing enthusiasts. This area was an old US military property and even the site of a lighthouse in the 1800’s. Remnants of the ammunition bunkers and lighthouse can be found if you search around.
Samoa Cookhouse – Located north of Eureka, the Samoa Cookhouse, the last surviving cookhouse in the West, continues the tradition of serving lots of tasty food – lumber camp style! After a hearty meal, take a step back in time by visiting the Historic Logging Museum and gift shop full of relics and photographs from the old logging and Cookhouse days.
The Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary – The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, is a remarkable natural habitat and recreation area built around a cost-effective and environmentally sound wastewater treatment facility. This is a prime spot for birding and wildlife watching hiking and offers great views of the Arcata Bay.
In Arcata, Fire & Light is a handmade glassware traditional family business that makes colorful handmade, recycled glassware and dinnerware.
Humboldt County Wine Country – Humboldt is a county of diverse grape growing regions and wine making areas from the vineyards and wineries, scattered among the redwoods of Southern Humboldt to those in the winding river and forest canyons of the East county, and those of the Northern county that feel the cool breezes of the Pacific Ocean. These diverse regions produce a variety of grapes ideally matched to the cool micro-climates and soils of these areas. In Humboldt and surrounding counties, there are over 35 wineries that offer tastings and plenty of room for a picnic. There are also breweries, cideries and distilleries in Eureka oldtown.
The Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation is the Port of Eureka and adjacent to Samoa peninsula, Humboldt Bay, California’s second largest enclosed natural bay, located on the Northern California coast after San Francisco Bay Area. This is where visitors can take a guided tour on Madaket Humboldt Bay Harbor Cruise for 8.5 mile one-hour cruise tour, it travels along the Eureka Waterfront with narration about all points of interest, including the discoveries of Humboldt Bay, timber industry, wildlife, shipping, maritime history and activity, Indian history and more. This is a wonderful way to learn about the Humboldt Bay area!
The Madaket is the last survivor of seven original ferries that transported mill workers and families around Humboldt Bay. Since the completion of a local bridge in 1972, that put the ferry business out of business, the vessel regained a new life as Humboldt Bay’s harbor cruise flag boat.
Woodley Island Marina is the largest marina on Humboldt Bay. This site offers awesome harbor bay views of Eureka, a fun and relaxing atmosphere to hang out at Cafe Marina and Woodley’s Bar. ‘The Fisherman’ sculpture by Dick Crane adjacent to the lighthouse in Woodley Island is a popular stop for visitors.
Where to stay in Eureka Area
Humboldt County Casinos and Lodging – There’s always something happening in Humboldt County and Eureka Bay Area. There are plenty of attractions and hotels to say. Some of the hotel casinos that offer entertainment, shows, and events include Bear River Casino Resort and includes the Arcata area like Blue Lake Casino, Eureka, Ferndale, Fortuna, Garberville, Loleta, McKinleyville and Trinidad, CA.
Loleta Cheese Factory –The Artisan Cheese Factory in Loleta strives to be the industry leader in producing superior quality, all-natural, small batch, artisan cheeses. To keep our cheese pure, creamy and consistent it takes the milk from cows chewing on the green grass, with high level of clover, found in Humboldt County.
That being said, our goal will never be to produce millions of pounds of cheese or distribute nationwide but rather to put the best tasting, freshest cheese in the hands of the people who appreciate it.
Blue Lake Casino and Hotel in Blue Lake is one of the premier casinos in Humboldt County. This gamer’s delight features 800 slots, slot machine such as ‘Lucky Frog’ and ‘Bigfoot’, comfortable bar-top video poker, keno in their WAVE lounge and more. Many of other hotels can be found along highway 101, but look for hotels away from the highway to enjoy tranquility.