Redwood National and State Parks, California

Thirty miles (50 km) north of Arcata, the small town of Orick marks the southern limit, and the busiest section of the Redwood National and State Parks preserve. The Tall Trees Grove here is home to America’s most famous natural treasures, the tallest trees on earth, the coast redwoods. A mighty 367 footer (112 m) is the highlight of the park, amongst other attractions.

Many visitors to the park hike to it on the 8.5 miles (13.7 km) trail from the information center, from which you can obtain the needed free permit to drive and camp the back roads leading to the Grove. Of the three state parks within the Redwood National Park Area, Prairie Creek is the most varied and popular, and while bear and elk roam in plain sight, you can also be taken around by the rangers for a tour of the wilderness.

redwood forest

Other highlights of the park include the meadows of Elk Prairie, in front of the ranger station, where herds of Roosevelt Elk, massive beasts weighing up to 400 pounds (180 kg), are seen wandering freely. Spectacular coastal views can be had from trails in the Klamath area, especially the Klamath Overlook, on Requa Road about three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) down to the sea.

You can drive through, jump over, or walk under all the sculpted Trees of Mystery, except the impressive Cathedral Tree. The latter is a collection of nine trees, which have grown from one root structure to form a spooky structure. The park headquarters are in Crescent City. There are campgrounds everywhere. Information about these sites can be picked up anywhere in the park.

Tall Trees Grove

Tall Trees Grove is located right at the heart of Redwood National Park and it is part of the large stretch of really tall redwoods called the Emerald Mile.

In Tall Trees Grove, the sunlight filters in dimly through the dense foliage to give a surreal feeling of constantly being in the twilight. The temperature under the green canopy is always cool, and the mystery of Tall Trees Grove is further enhanced when the fog comes in from the nearby ocean to envelop the giants.

towering redwoods

Tall Trees Grove has several hiking trails and one of the best is the Coastal Trail, which takes you through the redwood groves, which is located near the Pacific shore side of Redwood National Park.

The park is home to the black-tailed deer, Roosevelt Elk, rabbits, bobcats and hermit thrushes. The grove is also home to the Tall Tree. This tree once measured nearly 367.8 feet (112.1 m). However, in the 1980s, the crown of the Tall Tree fell off, but one can still find many exceptionally tall trees here. The Tall Tree is estimated at about 600 years old.

Tall Trees Grove is well worth a visit, and many inland visitors are amazed by the remarkable trails that are found among the streams and rivers. In order to see the grove, if you are planning a visit by car, you would need to get a permit at the Redwood Information Center. Once armed with the permit, the vehicle heads down a winding dirt road off Ball Hills Road. The vehicle has to be left here and you would have to hike to the bottom of Redwood Creek. This hike is nearly a mile (1.6 km) long. Be prepared to spend a minimum of half a day to explore the wonders of the grove.

  • Address: 1111 Second Street, Crescent City, CA 95531
  • Telephone: (707) 464-6101
  • Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM daily
  • Website:

Trees of Mystery

Trees of Mystery welcome you with the giant statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Standing guard at the entrance of the Trees of Mystery, these statues attract visitors into the last remaining contiguous stretch of virgin Redwoods in the world.

Trees of Mystery is located on Highway 101, 36 miles (58 km) south of the Oregon border and 320 miles (520 km) north of San Francisco. It is right on the Pacific Coast and adjacent to the famous Klamath River.

babe, the giant ox

Trees of Mystery is full of trails through the Redwood forest. You will find trails with magical and mystical names. But before you actually get to the mystery trees, you have to go past Paul Bunyan’s statue and into a giant hollow redwood log. Once you emerge, you are amid the actual mystery trees which are shaped by nature into unique and distinctive shapes.

The trail leads to the Cathedral Tree, which is a cluster of six Redwoods growing out of single root and forming a semi-circle. The Lightning Tree is shaped like a lightning bolt; the Upside Down Tree is a thin Redwood that has grown sideways and then has two sheer 90 degrees bends in the trunk and then grows upwards again; the Candelabra Tree is a small Redwood growing sideways and has seven smaller Redwood trees growing from its trunk.

The trail then takes you to the gigantic Brotherhood Trees which stands 297 feet (91 m) tall and has a diameter of 60 feet (18 m). The name has nothing to do with its size; rather it is a representation of the hope for the brotherhood of mankind.

There is the Trail of Tall Tales which is devoted to the story of Paul Bunyan. Redwoods have been carved with chainsaws to depict and showcase the adventures of this famous American folk hero.

The Yurok Indians call the Trees of Mystery the place of spirits. If you do not feel like taking the trails, you can always opt for a ride on the SkyTrail gondola, which will give you a spectacular view of the Trees of Mystery.

  • Address: 15500 Highway 101 N, Klamath, CA 95548
  • Telephone: (707) 482-2251
  • Trail Hours: 8 AM – 7 PM (Summer), 9 AM – 5 PM (Winter)
  • Website:

Crescent City

Crescent City is located on Highway 101 about 20 miles (30 km) south of the Oregon border. The town is named after the crescent-shaped sandy beach which is situated south of the city.

Crescent City has a lot to offer visitors with its proximity to the Smith River, Klamath River, Redwood National Park, and Smith River National Recreation Area.

crescent city

The city receives an annual rainfall of 75 inches (190 cm). In summer, the coastal areas of Crescent City have temperatures ranging between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (16 and 21 degrees Celsius). Inland the temperatures are much warmer. In winter, the temperature ranges from 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 10 degrees Celsius).

During the famous California gold rush, Klamath and Crescent City both developed simultaneously with thousands of prospectors coming in 1850. Crescent City with its natural harbor became the supply depot for all the mining camps in the area. The Battery Point Lighthouse, as it is lovingly called by the locals, became operational in December 1856. The lighthouse is located on the western end of the town, on an islet close to Battery Point. The lighthouse stopped its operations in 1965 and today it houses a museum that is open only in summer. The Battery Point Lighthouse is registered as a California Historical Landmark.

The Crescent City Harbor is well worth a visit with its myriad fishing boats bringing in their catch of salmon, shrimp, tuna, cod, and Dungeness crab. The harbor also has several pleasure boat docks.

Crescent City’s lush green landscape is truly picture-perfect and the climate is just perfect to facilitate the growth of some of the largest and oldest trees in the world. The pristine clean sandy beaches of the city are famous around America. With a completely unique and distinctive lifestyle, it is hard to believe that Crescent City is a part of California.

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