It was the first weekend in April and we were off to find the land of the Ewoks and home of the giants (redwood giants). The bosslady had been planning this weekend for quite some time for our anniversary. We had a bed and breakfast booked, house sitters (thanks kids!) and a map of Humboldt County with circles around way too many places to stop.
Heading up the 101 bright and early Saturday morning with the car packed with various hiking gear, cameras, snacks and excitement we made our way out of Sonoma County, into Mendocino County where vineyards gave way to beautiful trees lining the highway and less and less cars. Once we crossed into Humboldt County we were ready to get out of the car and walk among the giants. We took the Avenue of the Giants that runs parallel with the 101 to get some more scenic views of these lovely old giant trees. If you do nothing else while driving on the 101, please take this scenic route! We were in awe of the quiet beauty surrounding us.
We found the visitor center along the Avenue of the Giants and stopped with hope we would be told where to find the albino redwood trees. There are 6 of them in this county and I really wanted to see 1 of them! The ladies in the visitor center were wonderful! We toured around inside and checked out the historical items they had on display then asked directions for the albino trees. Not only did she tell us where one was we could find fairly easily but also gave us tips on other places to stop that weren’t on my radar.
The first stop was directly across the street from the visitor center. We went on a short 1 mile loop and ran into some mighty large redwoods that had been spared from logging. Definitely recommend stopping in and seeing these ladies and doing this short loop to stretch your legs (and your neck from looking up). I think it would have take at least 10 people to hug some of these redwoods!
From there we headed north a bit to the Founder’s Grove to check out the other short loop with the albino redwood. There’s not a ton of parking spaces here and with budget cuts the bathrooms are just portables but don’t let this stop you from exploring! We walked in to see the Founder’s tree, dedicated to those who led the drive to establish the “Save-the-Redwoods League”, front and center. As you walk to the left there are signs of a fire long ago and trees you can walk through, over and stand in. Keep your eyes up after you walk through the burned out tree. The albino redwood is a growth about 100 feet up. It was difficult to capture the lack of pigment in the needles on the camera but was so amazing to see something so rare.
As we walked around there were signs explaining the habitat we were looking at. Some of the largest trees have already fallen and created a new ecosystem in themselves and now feed the forest. We did not see any flying squirrels (I kept hoping!) which was a bummer. Some of the fallen trees were taller than us as they lay on their sides….so crazy!
Next stop was the Rockefeller Loop trail. The photos do not do this place justice. The feeling you get while walking in an old growth forest…it’s like these wise old grandparent trees are giving you a hug telling you that everything will be ok and the world will always be safe because people will be there to care. It was so quiet. It was so comforting. I can’t explain the feeling well enough and can only encourage you to go and feel this for yourself.
After a quick snack we headed up the Avenue of the Giants to our next stop at the Drury Chaney Loop trail which was recommended by the nice ladies at the visitor center. There is no restroom here so stop at the other sites if you need. This is a short 2.5 mile loop through a very lush forest floor. There were a couple of families at this one as it was later in the morning and more people were out and about so it wasn’t quite as quiet as maybe it could have been. It is great to see parents getting out with their kids to show them this at such a young age. This was a beautiful end to our first day of exploring the redwoods.
Hopping back on the 101 we headed north in search of food. We found the Eel River Brewery in Fortuna and since it was about 2 in the afternoon we were able to get a table. The beer and nachos hit the spot! From there we made our way through Eureka and Arcata up to Trinidad to find our bed and breakfast. I cannot wait to go back on another weekend get away and spend more time at The Lost Whale Inn! It’s a beautiful B&B that is on the bluffs above the rocky shore below with a beautiful grass area to chill and enjoy the views. If you are feeling adventurous you can climb down the narrow path and rope ladder to the beach below and check out the tidepools. We were greeted and shown to our room and unpacked then met the others downstairs to enjoy a beautiful spread of local cheese, fruits, baked goodies and wine. Seriously wish we could live here! We chatted with a few of the other guests, explored the grounds and then decided to venture in to the town of Trinidad and find a spot for dinner.
We stopped at the historic lighthouse memorial and walked down to the beach from there to enjoy the sunset. So absolutely amazing. The tide was low so we could walk down the beach a ways and just enjoy the peacefulness of the waves crashing as the sun set. We had dinner at a diner just down the way from us then headed back to the B&B with a bottle of wine and our blanket. They had the fire pit going and a basket of the fixings to make s’mores! And wine. One of the most amazing days we’ve had…
The following morning we met downstairs for an amazing breakfast that was tailored so the bosslady could have things to eat even with all the food allergies. It was so amazing! After breakfast we hiked down to the beach with another couple staying there. It was a little scary for the bosslady and the whole scared of heights thing but we made it down safe and sound! We were the only people on the beach. It was incredible! Sadly we had to check out and start our trek back home. We had just 1 more stop to make before we left the area.
Heading north just a bit we went to the Redwoods National Park to go to Fern Canyon because we had heard that was one place not to miss. We went about 7 miles on a bumpy, muddy, narrow road where my little bug bottomed out a couple of times due to the dips in the road. We were 1 mile from the Fern Canyon trail head and were stopped by a stream way too deep for my little bug to cross and get up on the other side…so we stopped at the Gold Bluffs beach and walked around not wanting to head back home.
Since we didn’t get to do the Fern Canyon hike we had a little time to spare on the drive back home so we decided to stop off at the Shrine Drive Through Tree. It would almost be shameful to not do this while in the redwoods. Unfortunately the super wet winter we had damaged several of the roads in Humboldt County so check before you go which ones are still closed. The Shrine tree had some damage to their road so we couldn’t actually drive all the way through. We drove in, snapped some pics, and backed out. Still totally worth it!
There is still so much we didn’t get to see while we were up there. All the more reason to plan another trip up and to stay at the beautiful Lost Whale Inn!
If you have any suggestions for our next visit (probably next year) please leave them in the comments below!