There is a good chance that you have seen images of cars cruising on the world-famous Avenue of the Giants. When it comes to scenic drives through California’s ancient Redwood Forest this 31-mile portion of old Highway 101 has been featured in countless photo shoots that highlight the magnificent giant trees along this easily accessible route. Although the Avenue of the Giants has some of the most impressive trees in the entire redwood belt, we would like to take you off of this beaten path for a moment to three more of Northern California’s most scenic drives through the redwoods.
1. Howland Hill Road – Located just a few miles outside of Crescent City, CA, this mostly unpaved 10-mile long stretch of road takes motorists through the heart of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Be prepared to encounter towering old growth redwood trees up close and personal from the comfort of your vehicle. Or adventure out onto any of the numerous marked trailheads that shoot off from the road. Also, be sure to be on the look out for Ewoks because this is where they filmed Star Wars: Return of the Jedi! Truly a magnificent drive.
2. Newton B. Drury Parkway – Six miles North of the town of Orick, CA. lies one of the not to be missed scenic drives through the redwoods. Named after the once executive secretary of the Save-the-Redwoods League in California, this 10-mile long alternative to Highway 101 takes you through the heart of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park where you will encounter ancient old growth forests, numerous trailheads, and almost certainly herds of famous redwoods residents, the Roosevelt Elk. This route also takes you to a 100-yard paved trail that leads to the famous “Big Tree”, a coastal redwood measuring a whooping 304 feet tall and 21 feet in diameter!
3. Coastal Drive – Just beyond the redwood curtain you will find the this narrow coastal road that provides some of the most amazing panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Klamath River estuary. This 9-mile loop offers excellent opportunities for whale watching from multiple breathtaking overlooks along the route. Be sure to take a look at the old farmhouse closely, it is actually a historic World War II radar station! Great hiking trails and backcountry camping can also be accessed from Coastal Drive if you are in search of a more rugged adventure. Be aware that some sections of this road may be closed seasonally due to landslides but may still be explored on foot or by bicycle.
If you are visiting sometime soon be sure to check out listings for vacation homes located near these three most scenic drives through the redwoods. These vacation rentals near Redwoods National Park are the perfect home base for exploring the Redwood Coast region and these scenic drives through the redwoods.
Author: Dawn Marie
Travel Passionista, Marketing Maven, and Guest Contributor.