Explore the California Redwoods
Coastal redwoods are a type of evergreen tree that can live to be more than 2,000 years old. They are the tallest trees on Earth, with some reaching more than 250 feet tall. Redwoods provide habitats for many forest creatures and pull more carbon out of the air than any other tree species. Where can you find these magnificent perennial plants?
Although redwoods could once be found all throughout the Northern hemisphere, today they are mostly concentrated in long belts along the coast from Central California to Southern Oregon. They’re well adapted to the temperate foggy coastal climate that allows them to grow 2-3 feet per year. The Pacific Northwest fog protects redwoods from summer drought conditions typical in the area. They are also naturally resistant to wildfires typical of California because of their high levels of tannin, and pithy bark that provides protection and insulation. This also makes redwoods resistant to bugs and fungi.
These tall trees have shallow root systems that intertwine and extend over a hundred feet from the tree’s trunk. This protects redwoods from floods and strong winds.
The Best Places to See Redwoods
Muir Woods National Monument
Located in Mill Valley, CA in the San Francisco Bay Area, Muir Woods has been a protected national monument since 1908. Here you can walk among towering old-growth redwoods. 6 miles of trails wind beneath trees allowing for optimal viewing.
Check out the Ben Johnson Trail and Dipsea Trail to see the redwoods from a new perspective. Enjoy beautiful hillside views of the treetops, Mount Tamalpais, and the Pacific Ocean.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Another great place to spot redwoods is in Santa Cruz County. At Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the biggest attraction, literally, are the ancient coast redwoods. Some of these giants measure more than 50 feet around the base of the trunk!
This is California’s oldest state park and home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco. With over 80 miles of trails, the park also offers spectacular ocean views and waterfalls.
The park preserves more than 18,000 acres of old-growth and recovering second-growth redwood forests.
The best part? If you have a California library card, state park passes are free.
Humbolt Redwoods State Park
In the early 20th century, loggers came to the area that is now Humbolt Redwoods State Park to cut down redwoods for grape stakes and shingles. The founders of Save the Redwoods likened that to “chopping up a grandfather clock for kindling.” Since 1921, the organization has raised millions of dollars to grow and expand the park. Today, the Humbolt Redwoods spans an area twice the size of San Francisco, and Humbolt Redwoods State Park is home to the largest expanse of ancient redwoods left on the planet.
The park, located in Northern California, is also one of the best places to see redwoods by car– the 32-mile-long Avenue of the Giants. The avenue is a scenic, and slower, alternative to highway 101. Named after the redwoods that tower over the route, motorists can enjoy views of the largest remaining stand of virgin redwoods.
Additionally, more than 100 miles of trails for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians and more than 250 campsites allow ample space to view 53,000 acres of Humbolt redwoods.