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© Bryan Brazil

Redwood forest path in Humboldt County, home to the "Avenue of the Giants"


Top Destinations  ·  Northern California  ·  Redwood Highway

Redwood Highway - Eureka - Arcata - Crescent City


© Ron Niebrugge

Travelers on Highway 1 can't miss Battery Point Lighthouse near Crescent City

Mix rocky beaches, ocean fog, ferny undergrowth and California coast redwoods and you have the Redwood Highway. Follow Highway 101 (the Redwood Highway) all the way to the Oregon border to discover this portion California coast. Visitors may explore numerous state parks, national forests and Redwoods National Park without the usual crowds.  
There are many more redwoods than people here but those who call this coast home work in lumber mills, on fishing boats, small crafts businesses. In the deep forests and backwoods areas, some tend illegal crops.
 Some of the highlights of this destination incude:
Attractions: Avenue of the Giants (roadway lined with California redwoods), Battery Point Lighthouse, Punta Gorda Lighthouse, Cape Mendocino Lighthouse

Beaches: Luffenholts Beach, Agate Beach, Mad River beach...and many more

California State Parks: Richardson Grove State Park, Smithe Redwoods State Reserve, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Azalea State Reserve, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Patrick’s Point State Park

National Park: Redwoods National Park

Towns: Ferndale, Eureka, Arcata, Crescent City, Garberville, Shelter Cove, Trinidad

Redwood Highway Scenic Drive

Scenic Drive
Destination Index Print/Zoom

SCENIC DRIVES: If you want to escape crowds, wander through redwood forests, explore empty beaches, eat fresh seafood and photograph lighthouse, take this scenic trip to the most northwestern coast of California. This trip weaves from forest to coast all along the 101 route, passing through or near many state parks and beaches. Campers have endless choices for overnight stays; those looking for lodgings will find a wide array of small hotels, motels, cabins and bed and breakfast inns along the way.  

Prepare to be humbled by coast redwood trees – the tallest of the tall reach over 300’. Ancient and silent, these forests are like none other. With ferns and flowering trees for undergrowth, ever-present fog and streams of filtered light, the coast redwood stands provide a serene and calming landscape to refresh the soul. The oldest trees are more than 2000 years old.

As you travel north along the coast, chances of rain and fog increase. In the winter months, you can count on some rain and fog, all part of the experience on this drive.  

The trip starts with a drive-through redwood tree near Leggett, followed by a string of state parks with lovely redwood stands and trails for hikers. Six miles north of Garberville, The Avenue of the Giants runs parallel to 101, offering a stunning view of these enormous trees.  

The next stretch of 101 offers access to miles of trails in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Continue to northward to Eureka where the road returns to the coast.

SIDETRIP: Ferndale is a short drive from 101 and well worth the trip as a primary destination.  The restored Victorians and quaint, unhurried atmosphere draw visitors from all over and many of the most attractive mansions are now B&Bs.  

Eureka is the largest city on this coast, having grown as a center for the mining and lumber industries, a source of great wealth to the city at one time.  Many historic buildings remain.

SIDETRIP: Highway 299 follows the Trinity River eastward – a lovely drive all the way to I-5.  

Continue to follow the coast, stopping to enjoy the crowd-free beaches, Redwood National Park, and the gorgeous stretch of road at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.  

Stay on 101 and have your camera ready as you approach Crescent City and its famous lighthouse. Imagine a tidal wave big enough to destroy a good part of this fishing town – it happened in 1964. Explore the rest of the coast to the state border or head inland to one of the state parks for a final farewell to the stalwart redwoods.

SIDETRIP: Take Highway 199 past Crescent City to follow a scenic drive along the Smith River all the way to the Oregon border.


© Lee Prince
A redwood forest is magical when shafts of sunlight penetrate the crowns of these giants.

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