“Walking among giants” is a cliché these days sometimes used inappropriately to describe historic figures and politicians. When you visit Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP), the phrase will truly resonant. These trees are so old that their ancestors were used as backscratchers for dinosaurs
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park were established by the state of California in the 1920s. In 1968, the federal government created Redwood National Park adjacent to the state parks.
The protected lands encompass not only ancient groves of some of the tallest trees on the planet but also 37 miles of rugged coastline, prairies and oak woodlands, along with Smith River—a National Wild and Scenic River—and the Kalmath River, which begins in Oregon and empties into the Pacific Ocean. More than 200 miles of trails wind through RNSP.
In addition to redwoods, you’ll find Roosevelt elk, black bears and meadows filled with wildflowers. There are opportunities to whale watch from bluffs high above the Pacific. There’s also the Prairie Creek Fish Hatchery and Radar Station B-71, a WWII early-warning radar station disguised as a farmhouse and outbuildings.
Don’t try to take in everything in the parks on one trip. Slow down, find a peaceful spot, and imagine the old-growth forest sharing its home with you.
For more on RNSP, visit nps.gov/redw.
All photos courtesy of NPS