The Avenue of the Giants off Highway 101 in Humboldt State Park is a ride not to miss if you can. These tall, gnarly trees look beautiful from every angle whether standing or lying on the forest floor, roots on display to the world in a fantastic twisty show of earth, ferns and organic matter. The road trails through the most stunning forest of redwoods you are ever likely to see along the side of the Eel River. You will see open alluvial plains and meadows but it still a road so there is the hum of traffic .
Rockefeller Forest is the largest remaining old growth redwood forest in the world which is less than 17,000 acres with one of my top runs of my trip along the Bull Creek Flats South trail straight from the Albee Campground about a 11 mile round trip through a mesmerizing landscape of chunky trees that will hopefully outlive all of us. The bumpy, narrow Mattole Road leading to the campground follows the flat through five miles of old growth and is one of the world’s best redwood drives. The largest trees in the park are found here; of the world’s ten tallest trees, three are on Bull Creek Flats, although their exact location is a secret.
Not only so you get to see some of the tallest in the world but you are also very close to the “Lost Coast”.
The Lost Coast was one of few areas along the California coast that the highways people thought they ought to leave alone and not build a road through it, subsequently it is a wild piece of coastline with a few access roads and lots of hiking trials. The most famous is the Lost Coast Coastal Trail which is about 64 miles with camping and water along the way. Unfortunately the amount of wild fires in the area made this a less than desirable hike for us! You don’t have to hike all of this and can break it down into smaller hikes of course. There are also mountain biking trails which are due to be ready by autumn 2008 too.
How to get there
This is 45 miles south of Eureka and 20 miles north of Garberville off of Highway 101.
Where to Stay
We loved No.33 in Albee Campground. This campground is much more remote than the others in the park and has tonnes of trails straight from the campground. This site looks out across a meadow which has a little apple orchard in it – a favourite of the local black bears in late season.