Exploring new areas of California is a passion that we all share, so when I had 3 days off of work recently we decided to travel over to the redwoods for some always welcomed adventure. Come along as we Explore Redwood National & State Parks of Northern California.

Elk Herds and the Ossagon Trail

For day 1, we arrived by early afternoon and decided to check out the Ossagon Trail. The trailhead is located off Newton B. Drury Scenic Pkwy, which was my introduction to the massive redwood trees and even got to see some elk grazing in the bushes near the trailhead.

Roosevelt Elk
Roosevelt Elk in California Redwood National Park – by Craig Cooper

The Ossagon Trail begins through a beautiful grove and is mainly a downhill slope as it winded toward Gold Bluffs Beach. Be sure to keep an eye out along the way for banana slugs hanging out among the flora. Once at the beach, we took some time to observe seals playing in the waves before heading back. We racked in 3.5 miles with an elevation gain of 810 feet upon arriving back to the car.

Once finishing the Ossagon Trail, we decided to drive to nearby McKinleyville to have dinner and get some rest in preparation for a very busy day 2 ahead.

Fern Canyon

Day 2 began with an early wake up call as we had reservations to visit Fern Canyon. Fern Canyon is one of the more popular areas of the parks and does require reservations. Reservations may be attained in advance, or the day before by visiting https://www.nps.gov/redw/planyourvisit/ferncanyonpermits.htm. Day-before reservations become available at 8 A.M. and are reserved quickly, so plan wisely.

Fans of the Jurassic Park movie franchise will love visiting Fern Canyon, as the canyon was a filming location for many scenes from The Lost World.

The trail is approximately 1 mile in length and is one of the most stunning nature walks I have taken, featuring up to 50 feet high walls of the most vibrantly green ferns I have ever seen.

After exploring Fern Canyon for awhile, we packed up and headed toward our next location, Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail.

Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail

Along the way, we decided to take a stop at Klamath Beach Overlook which features stunning views of the coastline and Klamath Beach. I definitely recommend this stop if you have the time in your itinerary.

Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail is located off Bald Hills Road which is accessible from Highway 101. This trail was especially appealing to me as it features many old-growth redwood trees, and I can definitely say I was not let down. The trail is a quintessential redwoods hike and should definitely make your itinerary list. The trail is a 1.5 mile loop and has 101 feet of elevation gain, enjoyable for all ages.

To finish up the day, we decided on Sue-Meg State Park for one last evening walk along the coast. We chose to check out Wedding Rock, an easy 0.3 mile walk to a beautiful seaside view point, which we took many moments to admire. 

Before embarking on my trip, I was told I must take the scenic drive along the Avenue Of The Giants, so we saved this drive for our final day.

Avenue of Giants
Avenue of Giants Drive – Craig Cooper

The drive itself is incredible, but we did find time to stop along the way and enjoy some of the short walks through old-growth redwood groves. One of my favorites being Founders Grove Trail, a 0.5 mile walk through some of the most impressive redwoods I saw in both parks.

I enjoyed the redwoods so much that as soon as I arrived home, I booked another trip for October. I look forward to sharing the next adventure with you!

Craig Cooper

Craig Cooper

A native Texan, I spent a large majority of my childhood in the outdoors and my admiration for nature and landscapes developed at an early age. I quickly found myself forming a profound connection to our planet and nature. As I entered my teenage years I developed a love for photography, photographing local events for my school yearbook and newspaper publications, and that passion has only grown stronger since. Now based in the Lake Tahoe area in Northern California, I continue to strive to provide high quality imagery and artwork to my customers, highlighting the natural beauty and diversity that our planet has to offer. I am grateful to have the opportunity to share my adventures with my loyal readers, bringing you along my journey to explore the world.

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Comments 1

  1. The California Redwoods are one of Two National Parks my youngest Son says competes with the Sierra. When walking through the Giants of the California Coast or exploring the movie scene of Fern Canyon, it is hard to argue that this is not a must see Park. Out of this world beauty.

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