Ten Must See Redwood Trees

Whether hiking, driving, or riding in a gondola, there are many ways to enjoy the redwoods. 

Here‘s a quick list of ten trees to get you started. All are within a few miles of Hwy 101 and almost all are easily accessible. Many are viewable or a short walk from the Avenue of the Giants and the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, which parallel Hwy 101. 

Big Tree -  304' x 21' diameter   (RNSP) This tower stands out in one of the prettiest old growth groves. Located in Redwoods National and State Parks, north of the Prairie Creek Visitor Center on Newton B Drury Parkway. The 100-yard trail to the Big Tree is paved. Two nearby bonuses are the Roosevelt Elk herd in Elk meadow, and Fern Canyon, where a creek splits two walls of sheer rock draped in a thick carpet of ferns. Its prehistoric look convinced Steven Spielberg to film a “Jurassic Park “scene there.  

Corkscrew Tree -  (RNSP) This photogenic oddity has four trunks intertwined together as they all reach up skyward. Located in Redwood National & State Park north of Prairie Creek Visitor Center near Big Tree. 

Tall Tree - (RNSP) Named the tallest redwood in 1963, this tower helped generate public support for the creation of Redwood National Park five years later. Located in the Tall Trees Grove. The round trip hike on Redwood Creek Trail can take a day, but the first leg includes a nice stand of old growth trees and a meadow frequented by elk. Free daily permits are available in nearby Orick. Permit Information.  The Tall Groves access road has been reopened. Take  Bald Hills Scenic Drive, roughly 2.0 miles north of Orick, off Hwy 101, in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. 

Important Notice: The Tall Groves access road is currently closed to motor vehicles til further notice. 

Giant Tree - (HRSP) Once 363', it is now 354' after a storm broke off its top. Not the tallest redwood, but pretty much the best in show. Designated a Champion redwood tree for having the best combination of height, diameter and crown spread, or how the branches spread out. It may be the largest coastal redwood, as far as mass goes. Located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park near Mattole Rd., in the Rockefeller Forest. (the world's largest remaining contiguous old growth coastal redwood forest)  

Founders Tree - (HRSP) Offers a nice view from a distance because the limbs don‘t start until almost 200 feet up, more than half the length of a football field. Onlookers notice primarily the big trunk, described as a majestic temple column. Located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park near the town of Weott. Four miles north of the Visitor Center, just off the Avenue of the Giants on the Dyerville Loop Road. MAP

Dyerville Giant - (HRSP) This champion tree crashed to the ground in 1991, creating a thunderous roar akin to a train wreck, but still impresses visitors today. The one million pound giant left behind a carcass almost 400 feet in length including a huge uprooted root cluster with wooden “dreadlocks “ sprouting in all directions, as well as an enormous crater where it once stood. Located just south of the Founders Tree. (see directions above)

Girdled Tree - (HRSP)  This big redwood is thin-skinned but managed to survive a major insult. About one hundred years ago, a group removed most of the first 30 feet of bark and took it to San Francisco to stitch together a faux redwood trunk for an exhibition. Remarkably it survived, and the scar edge allows visitors a dramatic view of the one-foot thickness of the redwood bark, which protects them well from fires and pests. Located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park in French Grove, just south of the town of Pepperwood.  

Albino Redwoods - (HRSP) A handful of these rare white specimens, which take in nutrients from their mother trees, dot the redwood groves in Humboldt County parks. Hard to find, but worth a look. Located  One, the 30-foot-high Christmas Tree, is located in the Women’s Federation Grove, a few miles north of the town of Weott. The other, the 20-foot tall Spirit Tree, sprouts from the base of a giant redwood in a redwood grove about three miles north of the town of Redcrest.

Johnson Trail Trees - (HRSP) The high elevation section of this forest includes redwoods at the limit of their growing range. There are big boulders strewn about, which the redwoods grab and break down with their roots. A bonus is a trail section recovering from a fire a few years ago, where blackened redwoods share floor space with young fire-friendly plants. Located: Trailhead is off Mattole Road, a few miles west of Weott. 

Trees of Mystery - (RNSP)  Not quite in Humboldt County, but this private redwood reserve within RNSP is worth a mention. Here visitors can ride a gondola from the ground to above the treetops, taking a close look at the redwood canopies, which often host “fern islands, “small, watery ecosystems with rare salamanders, waterbugs, fungi and plants.  Home to Paul Bunyon and Big Blue -- Native American Museum. 15500 Hwy 101 N., Klamath.