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Blog 2 Redwoods

Can We Talk about the Redwoods?

Liz Lee
by Liz Lee

October 17, 2023

4 minute read

It’s not often that trees make the news, but that’s exactly what happened in September of 2023 when the UK’s beloved Sycamore Gap tree was cut down by vandals in the middle of the night. The story seemed to strike a nerve as news organizations around the world reported on the iconic tree’s legacy and the subsequent grieving of not only its local community but the world at large.

Stories rolled in from people around the globe about what the tree meant to them; how it was the site of marriage proposals, family picnics, and a place to scatter the ashes of loved ones, and how its loss was a reminder that we shouldn’t take the natural world for granted, lest it vanishes overnight.

So in that spirit — can we talk about the redwoods? About how they’re the tallest trees in the world? About how they only exist naturally along the California and Oregon coasts and how they’ve been there for at least 20 million years? About how the tallest known tree in the world is a coast redwood that stands over 380 feet tall — roughly six stories higher than the Statue of Liberty?

The redwoods are extraordinary, priceless, and fascinating, and they’re home to wildlife that exists nowhere else in the world. John Steinbeck called them “ambassadors from another time.” Theodore Roosevelt said we should keep them “just as we keep a great and beautiful cathedral.”

Perhaps one of the most stunning features of the redwoods is that they’re still here — thanks to the efforts of conservationists, activists, and educators who continue to fight to protect them. So if seeing the redwoods is on your bucket list, maybe it’s time to start planning that trip. After all, you never know what tomorrow’s news may bring.

Still not convinced? Here are our Top 5 reasons to visit the redwoods, in no particular order:

  1. Cruising the Avenue of the Giants
    This 31-mile stretch of road meanders through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, lined with giant sequoias and coast redwoods. Highlights include the “Immortal Tree,” — which has survived a lightning strike, attempts at logging, and a massive flood in 1964 — as well as a tree you can drive through, and ample opportunities to swim and picnic along the scenic Eel River.

  2. Visiting Big Tree
    This 1500-year-old redwood has a circumference of 68 feet and stands about 286 feet tall, making it the 16th largest of the coast redwoods. Big Tree is easily accessible and sits in close proximity to various trailheads leading to many other impressive redwoods.

  3. Crescent Beach Overlook
    Located along Highway 101 in Redwood National Park, this quick roadside stop offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and is a favorite spot to watch the sunset.

  4. Take a Hike!
    There are too many amazing trails to list here, but highlights include the 5.3-mile Boy Scout Tree Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, the Ladybird Johnson Grove Trail, a family-friendly 1.5-mile loop through majestic old-growth forest, and the Fern Canyon Loop, a popular 1-mile trail lined with ferns covering steep canyon walls.

  5. Elk Prairie
    Located inside of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, this is one of the best spots to see the once-endangered Roosevelt elk in its natural habitat. Located just off the Newton Drury Scenic Parkway, the park has a visitor center, camping, and plenty of trails to explore as well.

Ready to go? Check out our tour of the Pacific Northwest & California.

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