Welcome back to National Parks with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.
Redwood National Park is unique in that it is a spread out confederation of state parks along the Northern California coast. It was established to protect not only the giant redwoods, but prairies, rivers and coastline.
In order to experience as much of the park as possible, we stayed in the White Rock Resort, just south of the Oregon Border, for a few days. What a wonderful, homey cabin, right on the Pacific! It was the perfect jumping off point for our daily activities. We had cabin 9 with an ocean view and our cousins were in the cabin next door. The freshly baked bread in the bread maker when we arrived was such a nice touch. The kids slept upstairs in the loft and were kept occupied with the TV and movie library up there. We all enjoyed the hot tub on the deck… Glorious! We went for a walk on the beach each morning.
Our group is not the most physically fit, so this was the perfect excursion for us. We met the Redwood Rides van by the Chevron station and were driven upstream so we could paddle with the current. Our excellent guide showed us how to paddle more efficiently, how to navigate the small rapids and no one capsized!
Our guide spoke about the surrounding geology and nature as we enjoyed this serene and scenic journey. No motorboats are allowed on the Smith River, so it really was peaceful. We encountered only a handful of people swimming, fishing, and tubing along the way.
Mid-way into the ride, we pulled up to a beach and took a short walk with the guide into the Stout Grove of redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. He was so knowledgeable about these trees and wow, are they amazing! Pictures can’t do this place justice (especially since all I had with me was a waterproof point and shoot.) It’s amazing to walk among some of the world’s oldest living things. And there weren’t throngs of tourists here as we have seen in Muir Woods, so it was peaceful.
I highly recommend Redwood Rides… They made this the most rewarding experience of our vacation. You will be sore, you will get wet (waterproof cameras only and wear river sandals) but you will have fun and learn a thing or two.
The next day, when our sore muscles had somewhat recovered, we drove to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (under joint operation with the NPS.) We went into the visitor center, got the pin I collect from every park we visit and got our bearings for our hike. We intended to take the Prairie Creek trail and loop back on Cathedral, but a mile down prairie creek trail it became too much for our disabled cousin and we turned back. This is a flat wide trail, so don’t be discouraged… Most can easily make it. The part that we did walk was beautiful with many big trees (though not the official ‘Big Tree’) a couple of bridges, a cut out in a fallen tree to walk through, the creek and myriad photo opportunities. We encountered maybe three other families along the way, having the park to ourselves most of the time.
While in the area, we also visited the Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City. This light is only accessible at low tide. It is continuously staffed by a different couple in residence each month.
We did have to wait a bit to get in as they can only take 8 people at a time. They have the tour organized so that one group gets in as the previous group moves to the next room of the tour. Well worth the suggested donation of $3 per adult, the tour lasts about 45 minutes, culminating with a visit to the tower.
Location: Humboldt & Del Norte Counties, California
Designation: National Park
Date designation declared: 8/27/1969
Date of my visit: August 2016