Your Guide to Visiting the Avenue of the Giants in Northern California
Hidden up in the far reaches of Northern California is a drive so pretty that it is worth delaying your road trip by at least a couple of hours. No seriously, in our opinion, the Avenue of the Giants is one of the most scenic highways in the whole USA (sorry Big Sur). Spanning a distance of 32 miles, this narrow two-lane route is a great way to explore the beautiful coastal redwood groves that dot the Northern California region.
The scenic drive is done almost entirely in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which was established by the Save the Redwoods League in 1921. Most of the land that was eventually protected, was purchased from the Pacific Lumber Company — which was once one of California’s biggest logging and sawmill operations (it was even nicknamed the Redwood Empire). Today, Humboldt Redwoods State Park protects 51,651 acres of beautiful land. Including, the famous Rockefeller Grove, which is presently the largest remaining contiguous old-growth forest of coast redwoods in the world.
Within those 50,000+ acres, of which 17,000 acres is made up of old-growth redwood forest (the largest expanse of ancient redwoods left on the planet) you can find more than 100 coast redwood trees that reach over 350 feet (110 meters) in height; including, the 4th-tallest measured living redwood — the Stratosphere Giant — which was measured at just over 370 feet (or 113 meters) in 2004. In fact, up until the mid-2000s, the Stratosphere Giant was thought to be the tallest known living redwood tree in the world. It wasn’t until the discovery of three taller trees in the nearby Redwood National and State Park that he got knocked down to the fourth spot.
The Avenue of the Giants scenic drive takes you through some truly stunning redwood forests and groves. Along the route, you really begin to realize how small you are as a human — or more, just how massive the redwoods really are. If you are hoping to learn more about this part of the country, or if you just want to see these massive trees for yourself, then we cannot recommend driving (or even biking) the magnificent Avenue of the Giants enough.
Below you will find our in-depth Avenue of the Giants Travel Guide which covers everything you need to know about visiting this part of Northern California; including, how to get there, where to stay and what to do during your visit.
THE BASICS | TOP THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS
DO YOU HAVE TO PAY TO ENTER THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS?
No, it is free to drive and explore the Avenue of the Giants. The only times you will have to pay is for nights in the state park campgrounds (which costs $35 per night).
🌼 California State Park Pass
If you are thinking of combining your trip to the Avenue of the Giants with other outdoor California adventures, then we highly recommend purchasing an annual California State Parks Pass. There are two pass options available for purchase: the California Explorer Annual Day Pass, which gets you into ALL California State Parks, and the Golden Poppy Annual Pass, which gets you into all state parks in the northern part of the state. The first pass is $195, while the Golden Poppy Annual Pass is $125.
You can learn more about and purchase your California State Parks passes here.
HOW LONG IS THE DRIVE THROUGH THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS?
It is roughly 32 miles one-way. You can go north to south or south to north depending on which way you are driving in from. For example, if you are driving from San Francisco to the Avenue of the Giants you will start at the southern entrance.
HOW LONG DO YOU NEED IN THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS?
This is totally dependent on what you want to do in the Avenue of the Giants, but we would say you need at least 1–4 hours. We spent about 6 hours there, but this included doing a couple of short hikes and a bike ride.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS?
The summer months — mainly May through August — is the best time to visit the Avenue of the Giants. This is due to two things: first, everything will be open — including the three campgrounds (most things close after Labor Day Weekend); secondly, this is when you can expect the best weather — including sunnier days and warmer temperatures.
In our personal experience, we visited the Avenue of the Giants in mid-June and it was absolutely wonderful. The weather was great (lots of sunny skies), it wasn’t super crowded and the wildflowers were in full bloom.
IS THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS DOG FRIENDLY?
You can totally drive through with your pet, but most of the hiking trails are not dog friendly.
WHAT ARE THE CLOSEST TOWNS TO THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS?
There are a couple of towns close to, and even in, the Avenue of the Giants. This includes the towns of Phillipsville, Miranda, Myers Flat, Weott and Redcrest. Many of these towns do have food and lodging options available. You can read more about this below.
The closest major cities to the Avenue of the Giants are Fortuna (16 miles from the northern entrance), Eureka (33 miles from the northern entrance) and Willits (75 miles from the southern entrance). These three cities will have large grocery stores, chain restaurants and hotels, and lots of services.
\\ How to Get to the Avenue of the Giants
The Avenue of the Giants is almost entirely in the very large Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The road, which is just a split off of the much busier Highway 101, is easily reached from a couple of major towns and cities. Below are the basic driving distances and times from a couple of the most well-known and popular cities nearby.
FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA TO THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS
It is approximately 212 miles from downtown San Francisco to the southern entrance of Avenue of the Giants (where the auto tour begins or ends). This drive can take anywhere from 3 hours and 45 minutes to 4.5 hours depending on traffic.
About 95% of this drive will be along Highway 101, which you can easily pick up in San Francisco by the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Along the way, you have the opportunity to stop off in such places as Healdsburg and Geyserville, which are known for their beautiful wineries, and Leggett, which is home to one of the few remaining drive-thru redwood trees.
💬 INSIDER TIP: if you are planning to fly into California and then drive up to the Avenue of the Giants, then we suggest booking a flight to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). From the airport, it is easy to rent a car and hop on Highway 101. Plus, then you get to drive over the famous Golden Gate Bridge!
FROM PORTLAND, OREGON TO THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS
It is approximately 441 miles from Portland to the northern entrance of the Avenue of the Giants. This drive can take anywhere from 7 hours and 45 minutes to 8.5 hours depending on traffic and road construction.
Most of this drive will be spent on Interstate 5 (until the town of Grants Pass), Highway 199, which follows the beautiful Smith River, and Highway 101 through Crescent City and Eureka. Along the way, you have the opportunity to stop off in such places as Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, Redwoods National and State Parks, and many beautiful northern California beaches.
FROM CRESCENT CITY (AND REDWOODS NATIONAL AND STATE PARKS) TO THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS
From the small town of Crescent City, which is located quite close to Redwoods National and State Parks, it is around 2 hours and 15 minutes to the northern entrance of Avenue of the Giants. This drive is entirely done on Highway 101. Along the way, we recommend checking out the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge and many of the rocky Pacific coast beaches.
➳ If you are looking to learn more about the best things to see and do while road tripping to the Avenue of the Giants, then we highly recommend checking out Roadtrippers. This easy-to-use app shows you all of the best places to eat, sleep, and explore while out on the open road. You can check out the site for yourself here.
\\ Where to Stay in the Avenue of the Giants
There are a lot of options when it comes to finding a place to stay in and around the Avenue of the Giants. Below are a couple of great options. From luxury hotels nearby to rugged campsites within the heart of the redwoods, you can find the perfect base camp for all of your needs.
HOTELS AND LODGES
Below is a list of some of the best hotels and lodges near the Avenue of the Giants. This list goes from south to north.
| Benbow Historic Inn: this historic and beautiful spot opened all the way back in 1926, and today it still transports visitors to an era from long ago. If you are looking for a touch of luxury during your visit, then the Benbow Historic Inn might be perfect. The hotel offers fine dining options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in their on-site restaurant, daily scones, coffee and tea, free bikes to help you explore the area, a seasonal pool and jacuzzi and easy access to hiking and biking trails. | BOOK HERE
| Miranda Gardens Resort: get cozy in one of the resort's 16 cabins, all of which have amazing views of the surrounding redwoods. This resort also includes free breakfast, a pool, and is dog friendly. | BOOK HERE
| Myers Country Inn: located in the heart of the Avenue of the Giants, the Myers Country Inn is a great spot to base yourself for some redwood adventures. The bed and breakfast includes free parking and breakfast and is dog friendly. | BOOK HERE
| Scotia Lodge: this 100+ year old hotel is a great place to relax and unwind after a full day of exploring in the redwoods. It includes 22 rooms and suites, Main + Mill Kitchen and Bar, complimentary drinks, and easy access to the historic town of Scotia. | BOOK HERE
VACATION RENTALS AND AIRBNB
There are also a couple of options if you are someone looking for a bit more space and privacy during your visit to the Avenue of the Giants. Below are a couple of Airbnbs within a short drive (or walk) of the Avenue and all of its many adventures.
| Glamping Cabins in the Majestic Redwoods: these modern glamping cabins include a queen-sized bed and bunk beds, a desk, fiber optic wi-fi, private bathrooms, and a small kitchenette. They are located on the edge of Myers Flat and within easy access of various hiking trails and coastal redwood groves. | BOOK HERE
| A Small Piece of Paradise in the Redwoods: similar to the glamping cabins above, but just a bit more remote, this cute cabin includes a full kitchen, a designated workspace (and wi-fi), a queen-sized bed and a full private bathroom. | BOOK HERE
| Garden Guesthouse in Rio Dell: this cute private guesthouse is located just a bit north of the Avenue of the Giants in the historic mining town of Rio Dell. The guesthouse includes a quaint bedroom, small kitchen, a lounge and easy access to a thriving garden. | BOOK HERE
There are three campgrounds within Humboldt Redwoods State Park: Hidden Springs, Burlington, and Albee Creek. Each campground requires guests to reserve their spot online at reservecalifornia.com. It costs $35 per site, per night. The campgrounds vary in size and amenities. You can read our route guide below for more information on each campground.
Besides the three campgrounds within the state park, you also have the option to stay at a couple of privately owned campgrounds or RV parks nearby. This includes the Dean Creek Resort, which has an RV park and campground, the Redcrest Resort and Gift Shop, which includes full RV hookups and a few campsites, and the Stafford RV Park, which is located right outside the northern entrance of the Avenue of the Giants.
Because the entire Avenue of the Giants is pretty much within Humboldt Redwoods State Park, it can be tough to find any legal free camping sites when van lifing. The best option is to either reserve a night in one of the three campgrounds within the state park (see above) or head to a spot outside of the state park.
A few close areas that could be good options for free camping are along Mattole Road down by the coast (the Lost Coast area specifically), a few dirt pull-offs by Benbow and Cooks Valley (which are both south of the Avenue of the Giants) and the very scenic dirt forest roads around Shelter Cove, which is about an hour southwest of the Avenue of the Giants.
\\ What to Bring With You to the Avenue of the Giants
Layers are going to be your best friend when exploring the Avenue of the Giants. Because the temperature can fluctuate somewhat dramatically throughout the day — cold in the morning and evening and warm in the afternoon — you will want to make sure you are prepared for whatever weather comes your way.
Below are a few of the key things you will want to make sure to pack with you when visiting the Avenue of the Giants and the surrounding redwoods.
| Thermal Base Layers: a great way to start your layering process is to invest in a set of nice, comfortable, wicking base layers. This long sleeved shirt works great on its own and also under a rain jacket or light puffy, while these cozy tights are perfect under a light set of hiking pants.
| Rain Jacket: one of the most necessary outdoor items you will want to pack with you when visiting the Avenue of the Giants is a solid rain jacket. This piece of clothing will likely come in super handy if you are planning to do any morning adventures, for that is when rain and fog are most common. This longer rain jacket by Kuhl is breathable and easy to move around in.
| Light Puffy Jacket: while a rain jacket is a great place to start, you will also want to bring along a lighter puffy jacket for those chilly mornings, and those evenings spent around the fire. This puffy by Mountain Hardwear packs down easily, is made of durable recycled materials and has synthetic insulation that delivers lightweight warmth even when wet.
| Waterproof Hiking Boots: while there are not very many super long trails along the Avenue of the Giants, there are still enough adventures to be had that you will definitely want to bring along some solid waterproof hiking shoes. This mostly leather pair by Danner is comfortable, lightweight and has great gripping abilities for when you are hiking on wetter surfaces.
| Wool Socks: because it never gets super cold up in the Avenue of the Giants, you can actually get away with wearing a bit lighter pair of hiking socks. This pair by Icebreaker is made out of a Merino wool blend that helps regulate temps and repels unwanted odors. It also has a reinforced heel and toe area to enhance durability for extensive wear (because no one likes wearing socks with holes in them).
| Sunscreen and Bug Spray: while you might expect very little sun out in the redwoods, you will likely be surprised to find that in the summer it can get quite bright out. But honestly, no matter where you are planning to hike, it is important to protect your skin by always wearing sunscreen. This eco-friendly sunscreen by Badger is perfect for storing in your backpack or car.
Also, the mosquitos are no joke up in the redwoods so definitely make sure to bring along at least one bottle of bug spray. This one by Murphy’s Naturals is made entirely from all natural ingredients and also repels ticks.
| Hiking Fanny Pack: if you are just looking to do the shorter hikes around the Avenue of the Giants (which mostly take you through massive coast redwood groves) then you can get away with just a lightweight fanny pack. This durable and easy to carry one by Patagonia is 5L in size — which is definitely plenty of room for your phone, keys, Chapstick and maybe some bug spray.
➳ You can find even more awesome outdoor adventure gear at Backcountry.com.
OUR ROUTE GUIDE THROUGH THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS
Most of the Avenue of the Giants drive will be along the stunning South Fork of the Eel River — which, along with other tributaries and the main Eel River, forms the third largest watershed in the entire state of California.
Along the 32-mile drive, you will have plenty of opportunities to pull over and explore some of the most magical and magnificent redwood forests around; including, such notable stops as the Founder’s Grove and the Rockefeller Grove. Likewise, you will also have the chance to swim in the Eel River, have a picnic in one of the many day-use areas, and learn more about the area's history at the Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center.
Below you will find our personal route guide through the Avenue of the Giants. We outline some of the best stops, as well as some interesting facts about the forests and the people that once lived there.
➳ You can find a more in-depth map of the Avenue of the Giants here, or just pull over at either entrance to the Avenue and pick up their handy driving map (there is also a good one at the visitor center).
This route guide will start at the southern entrance to Avenue of the Giants and end at the northern entrance. The southern entrance is quite close to the town of Garberville and right off of Highway 101. Below is our in-depth route guide for driving (or biking) the entire Avenue of the Giants in Northern California.
STOP 1 | PHILLIPSVILLE AND THE LIVING CHIMNEY TREE
The first stop along the Avenue of the Giants is in the small town of Phillipsville (the most southern town on the Avenue of the Giants route). While this town is quite small — population: 140 — it does have a couple of points of interest. Including, the living Chimney Tree — which is a massive redwood tree that looks like a chimney. You can stop in and check out the tree (it’s free to enter) and then grab a quick bite to eat at the nearby Chimney Tree Grill.
Also in Phillipsville, you can check out the first major coastal redwood grove along the Avenue. The F.K Lane Grove is conveniently located right past the town and has a couple of nice little walks to allow you to get up close with the massive redwood trees.
Distance from the southern entrance: 1 mile to the Living Chimney Tree and 3 miles to the F.K Lane Grove.
STOP 2 | WILLIAM D. STEPHENS LOOP TRAIL
This is a very short but scenic trail to head out on if you are looking to stretch your legs and get a more close-up view of some towering redwood trees. The loop, which is 0.7 miles total, is very flat and takes about 20 minutes to complete. The trailhead is right outside of the small town of Miranda, where you can find a cute market and a couple of locally-owned cafes. There is also the option to spend the night in Miranda at the Miranda Gardens Resort, which is mostly made up of small cozy cottages.
Distance from the southern entrance: 7 miles
💬 INSIDER TIP: between stops 2 and 3 you also have the chance to hike along the Dry Creek Trail or stop off and swim at the Landsdale River Bar Access swimming hole. Both are located right off of the main road.
STOP 3 | BOLLING GROVE
Further down the road, you will come to the Bolling Grove, which was the first redwood grove to be purchased and protected by Save the Redwoods League in 1920. The name of the grove comes from Colonel Raynal Bolling, who was the first high-ranking officer killed in WWI.
Distance from the southern entrance: 10.5 miles
STOP 4 | HIDDEN SPRINGS CAMPGROUND AND MYERS FLAT
After Bolling Grove, you will come to the first campground within the Avenue of the Giants. The Hidden Springs Campground has 137 sites available and is open from Memorial Day Weekend (end of May) to Labor Day Weekend (early September). Each campsite costs $35 per night and reservations are recommended (you can make your reservation here).
From Hidden Springs Campground, it is approximately 1 mile to the town of Myers Flats, which is somewhat of a central hub in the Avenue of the Giants.
The town of Myers Flats, though small (population: 146), has a lot of charm and character. Within the town, you can find a couple of small locally owned stores, including a small general store, a few coffee shops, a saloon and a family-run winery (the Riverbend Cellars). There is also the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree, which is one of only three trees you can actually drive a car through (the Shrine Drive Thru Tree is privately owned and operated and the owner does charge a minimal fee to drive through it. Besides the famous tree, you can also stop off at a gift shop).
Finally, Myers Flat is located on one of the main intersections of the Avenue of the Giants and the much busier Highway 101. From the intersection, you can jump back on the 101 and head either north or south.
❔ GOOD TO KNOW: between Myers Flat and the next stop, the visitor center, you have the chance to explore the Williams Grove Day Use Area. Here you can find picnic tables, a swimming hole on the Eel River, bathrooms and a couple of group campsites. This is also the only area within the Humboldt Redwoods State Park that you have to pay to enter (it is $8 per vehicle).
Distance from the southern entrance: 11.7 miles to the Hidden Springs Campground and 12.4 miles to Myers Flat.
STOP 5 | HUMBOLDT REDWOODS STATE PARK VISITOR CENTER
The fifth stop on this Avenue of the Giants route is the very interesting and informative visitor center. Located right along the main Avenue of the Giants Road, the visitor center and surrounding buildings (which includes the Eel River Sector Headquarters), offer travelers the chance to learn more about the landscape and the history of Humboldt Redwoods State Park and the Avenue of the Giants.
The visitor center is open from 9 AM to 5 PM between May and September and 10 AM to 4 PM between October and April (the off-season). During the busy summer season, you can expect various ranger-led nature walks, Junior Ranger programs and campfire programs.
From the visitor center you have the opportunity to hike either the Gould Grove Nature Loop, which is 0.6 miles long and has easy Eel River access, or the Fleischmann Grove Trail, which is also 0.6 miles one-way. Other fun options include checking out the visitor center’s exhibits on the three types of redwoods (the Giant Sequoia, the Coastal Redwood and the Dawn Redwood) and other life forms found in the state park, and/or talking to a ranger about the best hiking and biking trails in the area.
❔ GOOD TO KNOW: right next door to the visitor center is the Burlington Campground, which is open year-round and has 57 sites available. The campground, like Hidden Springs, requires reservations (which can be made here) and costs $35 per night.
Distance from the southern entrance: 16.7 miles
STOP 6 | WEOTT AND FOUNDER’S GROVE
The sixth stop on your Avenue of the Giants tour is the small town of Weott and its neighbor, the large Founders Grove. While there is not a lot to see in Weott, there is one cool point of interest: near the Highway 101 intersection in town you can see a marker atop a 35-foot (10.6 meter) pole. This was actually how high the water got during the devastating 1964 Eel River flood.
The Founders Grove, which is located just down the road from Weott near the South Fork Eel River Bridge, is one of the largest redwood groves in the area. There is a very pleasant 0.6-mile loop hike that takes you to the Founder’s Tree, which was named in honor of the founders of the Save the Redwoods League (the body behind the preservation of the coast redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park). You can also check out the Dyerville Giant, which at one point was considered the tallest tree in the world until it fell in 1991.
Distance from the southern entrance: it is approximately 18.5 miles from the southern entrance to the town of Weott and 20.7 miles to the start of the Founder’s Grove trail.
💬 INSIDER TIP: another interesting place to see is the Mahan Plaque, which honors Laura and James Mahan. The couple were both instrumental in preserving the stunning redwood forests. Laura did this by physically placing herself between trees and logging machinery, while James fought for the preservation of the trees in the courts. Luckily, logging was delayed long enough for the Save the Redwoods League to purchase and preserve the beautiful Founder’s Grove.
STOP 7 | DYERVILLE, THE ROCKEFELLER LOOP AND MATTOLE ROAD
While today Dyerville isn’t really anything at all — thanks to a historic flood that wiped it out in 1955 — at one point it was an important trading stop, for both shipping by water and as a stagecoach stop for overland travel.
Even though the town of Dyerville might be gone, you can still check out the Dyerville Train Trestle, an abandoned railroad bridge that is made up of four different bridges: two old “camelback” style ones that are quite rusted, and slightly newer white ones.
Right next door to Dyerville is the very much still standing Rockefeller Forest. This redwood grove got its name after the famous millionaire John D. Rockefeller Jr. decided to donate two million dollars after becoming so enchanted by the area's natural landscape. Thanks to his donations in 1927 and 1929, and the hard work of the Save the Redwood League, this stunning grove is today one of the finest redwood forests in the world.
You can explore the Rockefeller Forest by turning left onto Lower Bull Creek Road (which turns into Mattole Road) at the intersection of the Avenue of the Giants and Highway 101. The grove is just over 1 mile from the intersection. The main trail within the forest is approximately 0.7 miles round-trip, though there is the option to head out on a longer hike along the Bull Creek Trail.
Or if you are looking to head out on an even longer hike — or even a bike ride — then we definitely recommend exploring the beautiful Mattole Road. This narrow, two-lane paved road gives you access to such trailheads as Bull Creek and Bull Creek Flats, as well as easy access to the Big Trees Day Use area and Blue Slide Day Use area. Finally, about five miles down Mattole Road is Albee Creek Campground. This campground, the final one in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, is open from mid-May through mid-October. It offers 40 sites and costs $35 per night. Just like the other three campgrounds, reservations are required. You can make your reservations here.
Distance from the southern entrance: it is roughly 22.5 miles to the Rockefeller Loop, which is located near the start of the stunningly scenic Mattole Road.
STOP 8 | CHANDLER GROVE AND THE IMMORTAL TREE
One of the final stops along the Avenue of the Giants route is this large redwood grove, which is one of the best examples of how the redwood trees support other life forms in the forest. In this case, the somewhat famous banana slug — which can often be seen on the various hiking trails in the forest (so always watch where you step!) and the rare sea bird, the Marbled Murrelet.
The Marbled Murrelets like to build their nests and raise their young high up in the old-growth forests. But unfortunately, these small sea birds have seen a sharp decline in their population in recent years, mostly due to logging and deforestation.
Just a bit farther north along the road is the Immortal Tree, which, though it is not the oldest tree in the area, is still a crazy 1,000 years old. The tree actually got its name thanks to its overall hardiness. Not only has it survived a millennium, but it has also survived countless floods, logging attempts, and a lightning strike. In fact, while today the tree is only 250 feet (76 meters) tall, it once stood 45 feet (14 meters) taller. That was until the top half was blasted off by a rogue lightning strike.
The Immortal Tree is easily found right off of the Avenue. Right next door you can find a small gift shop and RV Park.
Distance from the southern entrance: 23.1 miles to Chandler Grove and an extra 3.4 miles (so around 26.5 miles) to the Immortal Tree. Along the way, you will drive through the town of Redcrest, which has a small hotel and a few small shops.
STOP 9 | THE DRURY-CHANEY GROVE
The final stop on the drive-through Avenue of the Giants is this beautiful grove and its 1.7-mile loop trail that circles through it. Often considered one of the prettiest hikes along the entire route, the loop trail gives visitors a great idea of what the forest looked like back before humans inhabited the area.
Right after the Drury-Chaney Grove, you will pass through the very small town of Pepperwood. There is not much here except a few residences and local businesses.
Distance from the southern entrance: 29 miles to the Drury-Chaney Grove trailhead, which is located on the outskirts of the town of Pepperwood (the last town on the Avenue of the Giants route).
STOP 10 | THE NORTH ENTRANCE OF THE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS
Congratulations, you have driven the entire Avenue of the Giants!
From here you can stop off and check out the map of the route and nearby area, or just head right back onto Highway 101. The northern entrance to the Avenue of the Giants is approximately 7 miles from the nearest sizable town of Rio Dell — where you can find a couple of restaurants and coffee shops. Similarly, from the north entrance, it is only 16.6 miles to Fortuna, 33 miles to Eureka and 117 miles to Crescent City (which is very close to Redwood National and State Parks).
Distance from the southern entrance: 32 miles (the entire length of the Avenue of the Giants).
\\ Top Adventures in the Avenue of the Giants
If you are hoping to explore the Avenue of the Giants and its massive redwoods on foot, then we suggest checking out one of these hikes.
| Founder’s Grove Nature Loop Trail // 0.6 miles total — this short loop trail is located near Dyerville. The grove is home to the Founder’s Tree, which was named in honor of the founders of the Save the Redwoods League.
| Stephen’s Grove Loop Trail // 0.7 miles total — this loop trail takes you through Stephen’s Grove, one of the first redwood groves to be protected. While this area was once a campground, in 1955 and 1964 two terrible floods came through and buried it. Today, you can barely see traces of the old campground (mostly in the form of old roadways and picnic tables).
| Bull Creek Trail North // 3.7 miles each way — this beautiful trail is open year-round (some trails are not accessible due to high water levels) and offers hikers the chance to explore one of the largest old-growth forests in the world. This trail can actually be started at either the Lower Bull Creek Flats area or the Big Trees area (both along Mattole Road).
| Addie Johnson Trail // 2.2 miles total — though short in distance, this trail quickly takes hikers up a steep trail and out onto an open prairie known as Johnson Prairie. The Johnson family (which included Addie) was the family that homesteaded this area way back in the 1870s. From the prairie, you get some amazing views of the nearby mountains and forests.
| Johnson Camp Trail // 10.5–12.9 miles round-trip depending on where you start — this long out and back hike takes you from the dense redwood forests up 1,600 feet to an old “tie-hackers” camp (where loggers used to make railroad ties out of felled redwood trees). Today, you can still see a few falling apart buildings at the old camp. While this hike can be done in one day, there is also the option to camp at Johnson Trail Camp. The start of this long hiking trail can either be at Big Trees or the Grasshopper Multi-Use Trail/Road. Starting at Big Trees is shorter, but you will need to make sure the summer bridge has been installed.
❔ GOOD TO KNOW: if you are thinking of backpacking in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, then you will need to register for the campsite you want at one of the established campgrounds (there are three). The backcountry sites are all first come, first served. It costs $5 per person, per night. You can learn more about backpacking in the Avenue of the Giants here.
| Grasshopper Peak // 13.4 miles total — likely one of the hardest hikes in the area, this full-day adventure includes 1,300 feet of elevation gain. But the stunning views from the top of the peak — which can include over 100 miles of visibility — are likely worth it. The trail starts from the Grasshopper Multi-Use Trail/Road, which is located just over 5 miles from the Avenue of the Giants on Mattole Road.
While hiking up to Grasshopper Peak is a great idea, because the trail is actually on a multi-use road, you also have the option to mountain bike or ride a horse on the trail as well.
Other possible adventures along the Avenue of the Giants include mountain biking along one of the many dirt forest roads and multi-use trails (including the aforementioned Grasshopper Multi-Use Trail/Road) or road biking along Mattole Road. We personally decided to ride out on Mattole Road for a couple of miles and absolutely loved the scenery and the quiet. While we only road a couple of miles each way, if you are feeling tough, you do have the option to ride all the way to the historic town of Ferndale, which is only 66 miles away.
💬 INSIDER TIP: in fact, if you have ever wanted to check out the King Range or the Lost Coast area, then biking (or driving) down Mattole Road until you hit the coast might be a great option. From the beginning of Mattole Road (where it intersects Avenue of the Giants), it is approximately 42 miles to Mattole Beach, which is the start of the Lost Coast.
\\ Other Top Adventures Near the Avenue of the Giants
If you are hoping to combine your visit to the Avenue of the Giants with other beautiful outdoor adventures, then you are in luck, for there are a good number of amazing destinations within a short drive of the Avenue. Below are three great destinations.
REDWOOD NATIONAL AND STATE PARKS
One of the closest adventurous destinations to the Avenue of the Giants is Redwood National and State Parks, which is just under 1.5 hours away to the north. This stunning national park is actually made up of various redwood state parks (much like Humboldt Redwoods State Park). Within the park, you can find numerous hiking trails, campgrounds and visitor centers.
If you are looking for a bit of a change in scenery, then consider driving down to the remote town of Shelter Cove, which is located right on the Pacific Coast in the King Range National Conservation Area. From the town you have the option to explore the rugged coast (which includes black sand beaches) or head into the dense forest for some hiking and biking.
The town of Shelter Cove is around 1 hour away to the southwest.
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK
By far the farthest adventure from the Avenue of the Giants is this other beautiful national park. Located in southern Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is home to the deepest lake in the USA as well as numerous hiking trails (including a section of the Pacific Crest Trail) and road biking routes. The national park is roughly 5 hours and 45 minutes northeast of the Avenue of the Giants.
The Avenue of the Giants in Northern California is by far one of the coolest places to explore in the whole state. The drive, which can take anywhere from an hour to a full day, is absolutely stunning. Visiting this part of the country truly humbles you and makes you feel like you are definitely walking amongst giants.
Hopefully, this in-depth Avenue of the Giants Travel Guide covered everything you needed to know about this beautiful drive. But if you have any questions please leave a comment below or reach out to us at www.backroadpackers.com.