Humboldt Redwoods State Park


Featuring the Avenue of the Giants
California > Humboldt Redwoods and Vicinity

The Eel River

Overview

For the sheer size of its trees, no redwood park can beat Humboldt Redwoods. The world’s densest and most impressive stands of big trees are found here, along the Eel River and Bull Creek. Many of the most iconic images of the redwood forest come from Humboldt Redwoods — roads meandering through tall narrow canyons formed from huge trees, dark cathedral-like groves, plush carpets of redwood sorrel.

Surprisingly, these monster redwoods grow well inland, in an environment that’s much drier than the other Humboldt County redwood parks. A 3,000-foot-tall ridge to the west shields the park from ocean breezes, making for hot and dry summer days, but a tendril of ocean fog creeps south along the Eel River valley most summer nights to sustain the redwoods.

Most of Humboldt Redwoods' old-growth trails are short loops. The Avenue of the Giants in particular is made up of small groves that tend to get a lot of traffic noise, although the groves are still pretty spectacular. The only long old-growth hike is the Bull Creek Flats loop.

Despite the limited old-growth hiking, Humboldt Redwoods today is a absolute must-see for anyone interested in redwoods.

Scenic drives

★★★★★

Mattole Road

10 miles round trip

A spectacular drive through the world’s largest contiguous old-growth redwood forest.

★★★★

Avenue of the Giants

32 miles one way

The iconic redwood drive through a series of lowland redwood groves alongside the Eel River.

Old-growth trails

★★★★

Homestead and Big Trees Loop

Length 2.4 mi · Climbing 110 ft

A superb hike around Upper Bull Creek Flat. Near Albee Creek Campground.

★★★★

Big Trees Area

Length 0.6 mi · Climbing 10 ft

A large alluvial-flat grove with huge trees, a remarkably expansive appearance, and relatively little traffic noise. One of Humboldt Redwoods’ most spectacular groves.

★★★★

Rockefeller Loop

Length 0.7 mi · Climbing 20 ft

The quintessential dark, dense, cathedral-like redwood grove. One of the most scenic in Humboldt Redwoods.

★★★★

Grieg-French-Bell Grove

Length 0.6 mi · Climbing 10 ft

An extraordinary grove with a remarkably plush carpet of redwood sorrel. One of the highlights of Humboldt Redwoods.

★★★

Bull Creek Flats

Length 10.0 mi · Climbing 300 ft

A grand tour of the Bull Creek lowlands, featuring the sublime groves of Upper and Lower Bull Creek Flats. Humboldt Redwoods’ best long-distance hike. Summer only.

★★★

High Rock River Trail

Length 3.0 mi · Climbing 280 ft

A little-used trail with some very nice redwoods next to the Avenue of the Giants.

★★★

Drury-Chaney Loop

Length 2.4 mi · Climbing 30 ft

The beginning of this trail has extraordinarily lush sorrel groundcover; further in, the sorrel isn’t as plush but there are some large redwoods.

★★★

Children’s Forest Trail

Length 1.8 mi · Climbing 70 ft

A large, peaceful, and exceptionally scenic alluvial-flat redwood grove that gets very few visitors. Summer only.

★★★

Founders Grove

Length 1.3 mi · Climbing 20 ft

The largest and most impressive grove and the most popular attraction in Humboldt Redwoods. Unfortunately filled with the constant roar of traffic from a 4-lane freeway that skirts the grove.

★★★

Stephens Grove Loop Trail

Length 0.7 mi · Climbing 30 ft

The southernmost of the really impressive alluvial-flat lowland groves on the Avenue of the Giants.

★★★

Bolling Grove

Length 0 mi · Climbing 0 ft

A tiny, easy-to-explore patch of big-tree lowlands with some mammoth redwoods. One of the more popular stops on the Avenue of The Giants. No official trails.

★★

Allens Trail

Length 2.3 mi · Climbing 790 ft

A large, peaceful, and exceptionally scenic alluvial-flat redwood grove that gets very few visitors. Summer only.

★★

River Trail

Length 3.4 mi · Climbing 450 ft

A little-used trail through a series of forgotton but superb alluvial-flat groves. Summer only.

★★

California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove

Length 0.9 mi · Climbing 0 ft

A superb grove of large redwoods on the Avenue of the Giants that’s somewhat overshadowed by its even more spectacular neighbors.

★★

Gould Grove Nature Loop Trail

Length 0.7 mi · Climbing 10 ft

A small patch of old growth just across from the visitors’ center.

★★

F.K. Lane Trail

Length 0.4 mi · Climbing 20 ft

Humboldt Redwoods’ southernmost redwood grove. Has a few big redwoods near the beginning of the loop, but most of the other trees are small and embedded in a dense understory.

★★

Kent-Mather Loop Trail

Length 0.9 mi · Climbing 40 ft

A scenic redwood grove with some pretty big trees on the Avenue of the Giants.

★★

Peavine Ridge Spur

Length 10.5 mi · Climbing 2870 ft

A remote, little-visited road with a surprisingly nice old-growth Douglas fir and redwood grove.

More old-growth trails

★★

Nelson Grove

Length 1.3 mi · Climbing 100 ft

Starting on an old alignment of the Avenue of the Giants, this loop leads through a small lowland redwood grove to a gravelly beach on the Eel River.

Look Prairie and Peavine Ridge

Length 13.4 mi · Climbing 2610 ft

A long backcountry loop with about four miles of old-growth redwoods, including a remote and very attractive ridgetop grove.

Dry Creek Horse Trail

Length 3.0 mi · Climbing 750 ft

Starts in the impressive Jensen Grove, but quickly climbs into rather mundane upland redwoods before descending back to the Avenue of the Giants.

Garden Club of America Grove

Length 3.8 mi · Climbing 420 ft

Runs through mundane old-growth uplands on the west side of the Eel River. Summer only.

Chandler Grove

Length 0.4 mi · Climbing 70 ft

An unusually big parking area makes this grove look really important, but it’s actually pretty dull, with no big trees or noteworthy sights.

Other trails

Grasshopper Summit and Johnson Camp

Length 16.2 mi · Climbing 3200 ft

Climbs the somewhat dull Grasshopper Multi Use Trail to the top of Grasshopper Mountain, then returns by way of the Johnson Camp Trail and an exceptionally scenic grove of old-growth upland redwoods.

Grieg Road and Grasshopper Summit

Length 16.9 mi · Climbing 3650 ft

The longest and most challenging route to the top of Grasshopper Mountain. Four trail camps make it a good backpacking route, but there’s only one brief stretch of big redwoods.

Grasshopper Trail

Length 15.5 mi · Climbing 3170 ft

An epic out-and-back hike up the east side of Grasshopper Mountain, starting from the Visitors’ Center. Summer only.

Addie Johnson Trail

Length 2.5 mi · Climbing 580 ft

Starts in Bull Creek Flats but almost immediately leaves the huge redwoods behind, climbing through a bright upland canyon with small redwoods. Ends at the gravesite of a young 19th-century settler.

Drive-in campgrounds

★★★★★

Baxter and Hamilton Barn Environmental Camps

May–Sep · $20/night + $8

These minimally-developed camps require a short walk to your site and don’t have showers or flush toilets, but provide a much more peaceful, natural experience. It’s like a backpacking camp but you don't need a backpack.

★★★★

Albee Creek Campground

May–Oct · $35/night + $8

A small, quiet campground way out on Mattole Road just past the end of the old-growth redwoods. It’s mostly in the deep shade of small second-growth redwoods, but a few sites are at the edge of a sunny meadow.

★★★

Hidden Springs Campground

May–Sep · $35/night + $8

A large, sprawling campground that’s very spread out and has lots of privacy, but you have to drive to visit any redwood groves.

★★

Burlington Campground

Open all year · $35/night + $8

Clean, well-maintained, and in a convenient location, but gets a lot of traffic noise and is in a heavily-logged grove with lots of huge stumps.

Backpacking campgrounds

★★★★

Whiskey Flat Trail Camp

Open all year · $5/person/night

In a small but very attractive old-growth redwood grove, this is the most scenic of Humboldt Redwoods’s trail camps.

★★★

Hanson Ridge Trail Camp

Open all year · $5/person/night

A quiet, remote trail camp well off the main trail to Grasshopper Peak.

★★

Bull Creek Trail Camp

Open all year · $5/person/night

An ever quieter and more remote trail camp in the least-visited part of Humboldt Redwoods.

★★

Grasshopper Trail Camp

Open all year · $5/person/night

Conveniently located just below Grasshopper Peak, under a spruce tree at the edge of a meadow.

Johnson Trail Camp

Open all year · $5/person/night

The most popular trail camp in Humboldt Redwoods. Used to have some cabins, but they’re now collapsed.

Printed trail maps of Humboldt Redwoods

There’s no cell phone coverage in the main body and north end of the park, even in the towns; only the south end (Miranda and Phillipsville) has cell phone coverage. So to use any web-based maps in the park, you have to download the maps for offline use.

As far as I know, there are only three printed trail maps of the park:

 


 

© 2006, 2011, 2018, 2022 David Baselt