After spending a day exploring several hiking trails at Prairie Creek State Park and wandering through the incredible Fern Canyon, we headed inland to check out the Klamath Tour-Thru Tree and the world-famous Avenue of the Giants at Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
Avenue of the Giants stretches 31 miles from Pepperwood at the northern end to Phillipsville at the southern end along State Route 254 and runs almost parallel to Highway 101. We drove Avenue of the Giants from north to south and our first stop was the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Visitor Center.
Humboldt Redwoods spans 53,000 acres and about one third, or 17,000 acres, of the park is old-growth redwood forest — the largest area of ancient redwoods left on the planet.
Here you’ll find:
- More than 100 miles of trails and 250 family campsites.
- The Drury Chaney Loop Trail, the Greig-French-Bell Trail, the Gould Grove Nature Loop, and the Stevenson Grove Loop Trail.
- The Rockefeller Forest, home of The Rockefeller Tree, a 362 foot tall and 13.6 foot wide giant redwood.
- The Founder’s Grove Loop Trail and the fallen Dyerville Giant.
- The Shrine Drive-Thru Tree, a redwood tree you can drive your own car through if it’s small enough!
- The Rockefeller Loop Trail near South Bull Creek Flats and the Big Trees area across Bull Creek.
The Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center has natural and cultural history exhibits and hands-on activities, a theater, a library, gift shop, and a friendly volunteer staff to answer questions about the park and area.
Located adjacent to the Burlington Campground, the Visitor Center also has a picnic area, a native plant garden with all three species of California Redwoods, and a large exhibit about Charles Kellog and his famous Travel Log — an early motor home built from a hollowed out redwood log that was driven across the country four times!
We stopped at the Visitor Center to get the lay of the land before setting out to explore and hike through Avenue of the Giants. Even though I do quite a bit of research before our road trips, I always like to speak to the park rangers too. That way I don’t miss anything!
Charles Kellogg’s Travel Log
The Humboldt Redwoods Visitor Center holds one of the most interesting vehicles you may ever come across: The Travel Log.
Awed by the size and beauty of the magnificent trees found in Humboldt County, naturalist and lecturer Charles Kellogg decided to show the world that the Coastal Redwoods deserved to be protected.
In 1917, he explained his idea to the Pacific Lumber Company who donated a tree that has fallen long before. Using a one-man saw, Kellogg cut off a 22 foot section of the 11 foot diameter tree to build his Travel Log. He and two helpers then began shaping the outside and hollowing out the inside. He then lifted the six-ton, hollowed-out redwood log onto the chassis of a Nash Quad that was originally built for the military in World War I.
Kellogg turned the now hollow giant redwood into a traveling cabin on wheels. It was an early RV! Inside the solid Travel Log, he built a kitchen, lockers, beds, dining table, dresser, electric lights, running water, and even a guest room. Once complete, Kellogg toured the United States in his Travel Log to sell World War II Liberty Bonds. After the war, Kellogg again traveled across the country and back to promote the preservation of California’s giant Coastal Redwoods and the fledgling Save the Redwoods League.
Today, the restored Travel Log is part of an exhibit about Charles Kellog at the Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center. You can see the log, but it is roped off so you can’t go inside.
Know Before You Go
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park is located at 17119 State Route 254 (Avenue of the Giants), Weott California 95571 in Hunboldt County between the towns of Weott and Myers Flat. It is 45 miles south of Eureka and 20 miles north of Garberville, off CA Highway 101.
- The Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm April through October and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm November through March. It is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
- Visiting Humboldt Redwoods State Park is free!
- Download the Humboldt Redwoods Brochure.
- The Visitor Center is operated by the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association. There are museum exhibits and educational exhibits, a theater, a library, gift shop, and a friendly volunteer staff to answer questions about the park and area.
- Here you’ll find souvenirs, books, maps, apparel, picnic area, and clean restrooms.
- At the Visitor Center, during the summer season, interpretive activities like nature walks, Junior Ranger programs, and campfire programs are held daily.
- Avenue of the Giants Auto Tour brochures are available at either end of the Avenue of the Giants and at the Visitor Center.
- The park receives between 60 and 80 inches of rain per year; the vast majority falls between October and May. Rain in the summer season is unusual, but does occur. In the summer, frequent morning fog usually burns off by noon.
- Expect as much as a 30-degree temperature difference between the extreme north end of the park, closer to the ocean, and the southern end of the park, just 30 miles away.
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park is classified as both a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park is the site of two marathon races that close two of the main roads through the park for up to six hours: the Avenue of the Giants Marathon (May/Spring) and the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon (October/Fall).
- Dogs must be on a leash no more than six feet long and must be confined to a tent or vehicle at night. Except for service animals, dogs are not allowed on trails.