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Detailed Trip Report: 2.5 Days In Redwood Country

Peachtree City...
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Detailed Trip Report: 2.5 Days In Redwood Country

I posted this a few days back on the Road Trips forum, but considering my whole start for this trip I just came back originated on this forum, thought I'd share here as well. This was part of an 8-day loop from Portland, and I'm about to post the remaining 5.5 days on their forum as well since they helped me too, should you be so inclined...report to follow below.

Peachtree City...
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1. Re: Detailed Trip Report: 2.5 Days In Redwood Country

PROLOGUE

Mid-30s dad taking his two girls (8 & 6) to Redwood National Park after his 8-year-old used it as "her" park for a big school project. We made a loop of it through Portland, all of it new territory for us. A spring break to remember - and here we go!

DAY 2: Shady Cove -> Crescent City, CA (Sun) [picking up in the early afternoon]

We drove into California and made the veer-off onto Howland Hill Rd a little after 3. We made it! It was so gratifying to see my kid really get excited by what she was seeing, after doing all of her class project on Redwood National Park in the fall. It wasn't just a matter of seeing the trees, but identifying some flora and fauna that she had used on her diorama and such. We did the River trail tying into Stout Grove, with the slightest touch of Hiouchi to walk to the river. Back to the car and we rode Howland Hill out all the way into Crescent City for dinner at Sushi Kyu. Following dinner, we stopped at the Crescent Beach Overlook and then went down on the Endert's Beach trail to the Pacific. We stayed there until about 15 minutes before sunset, to make sure we had enough light to make it back to our car, whereupon we drove to the Econo Lodge and checked in at 8:15. My 6-year-old, in an unprecedented move, walked straight into the room, got into bed, and pulled the covers over her head. I can understand - it was a pretty full day!

DAY 3: Crescent City -> Garberville, CA (Mon)

We got up early again today, but my kids have a thing about experiencing hotel breakfasts (even barebones Econo Lodge-style breakfasts) so we got ready to go and grabbed things from them as they opened at 7am. I spied the Java Hut down the street and got my breakfast there. I knew immediately that I would miss these ubiquitous espresso stands when I would conclude this trip.

The morning (and indeed full day) alternated sunshine and fog. A guy at the Econo Lodge said, "I hope the weather will work out for you", but this was perfect for me. The inherent mystery of the redwoods alongside the inherent mystery of the fog make for a beautiful blend. Couple that with my latte and my Robbie Basho CD playing and I felt I was living out my fantasies. We spent the morning at the Klamath Viewpoint, the Coastal Drive, the Newton Drury Parkway, the Big Tree, and the Lady Bird Johnson Grove, before closing this stretch of the park at the modest Visitor Center.

From there, we headed to Trinidad for lunch at the Beachcomber Cafe, which had an easygoing vibe that I really liked. I can't drink alcohol anymore for medical purposes, but the Lost Coast root beer on tap was amazing, even better than getting it from the real thing later that day. The bulk of the afternoon was spent at Patrick's Point State Park - we visited the Yurok Village, and did a bit of the rim walk taking in Wedding Rock and Patrick's Point, before driving to Palmer's Point to cap it off. We didn't have the patience or timetable for real whale-watching, but we enjoyed pretending to in any case, and the views were outstanding.

A late afternoon drive to Eureka. My kids were a little tired from the hiking, which was expected and I certainly didn't want to wear them out. But then they really wanted to walk the streets and see all of the Victorian buildings after getting a view of them, so we strolled about 10 blocks round-trip or so. The Pink Lady was their favorite. This was a nice surprise - I love Victorian architecture so I knew I'd want to see these places, and it was nice to see it shared among the others too. Dinner at the Lost Coast Brewery, which is a fun place and they loved it.

It wasn't on our agenda, but since they really hit it off with Eureka I thought we could drive a little out of the way to see Ferndale on our ride south. I'm generally too cheap to stay at the Gingerbread Mansion, but I was interested to see it and the surroundings. And it was well worth the ride - a more low-key version of Eureka. There were even Victorian public restrooms - that killed me. And my kids loved the old historic bridge by I-5 as we were heading back - I misjudged my speed and the way the incline gave way to the straight-top, which gave us a brief Evel Knievel moment - they would have been happy if we'd gone back and forth over that for an hour.

We drove into Garberville about a half-hour before sunset. It's certainly got the vibe to it - lots of people hanging out on the streets. If that's something that concerns you, it might be something to think about - but stuff like that doesn't really phase me. We checked into the Humboldt Redwoods Inn, which was staffed by a nice lady who gave us a good room. It was a 2-bed setup, but with each bed in its own room, so my kids felt like this was the most luxurious place they ever stayed. An easy place to chill out and prepare for the next day.

DAY 4: Garberville -> Brookings, OR (Tue)

We dropped our old-school hotel key in the slot, and headed down to the Eel River Cafe for breakfast. My daughter said the vintage neon sign of the guy flipping the pancake was "hypnotizing". A good, sturdy breakfast in a place that feels like living history. The pancakes were huge - it made me a little melancholy, seeing that I couldn't finish the stack of 3, wondering if this is something related to aging. The 22-year-old me would have been appalled!

We picked Garberville as it appeared to be the closest place to start the Avenue Of The Giants drive. We spent our morning on it, veering off to drive our car through the tree at Myers Flat (the little Expressionist redwood fairy-tale village they made was a big hit too) and to do some hiking through Humboldt Redwoods State Park - we did from memory Gould, Founders, and the introductory loop through the Rockefeller Forest.

We had anticipated eating in Arcata at Hole In The Wall, but we spent a little longer hiking than planned and decided to visit the Eureka location instead. It meant we missed seeing another town, but it was only too practical. They weren't kidding calling it Hole In The Wall - even with my gps I drove by the place 3 times before I found it! But it was well worth it - an immense barbecued tofu sandwich with fresh avocado on a Dutch crunch roll. This became my unintentional dinner as well.

Back into Redwood National Park, and a brief stop at the elk areas around Davison Rd. We had no luck yesterday but lots of females are out today. Our first time seeing these majestic creatures in the flesh.

From there onto Trees Of Mystery in Klamath. My kids had heard the legend of Paul Bunyan a long time ago but didn't remember it, so I started to tell them about it again and mentioned the big statues we'd see. They asked, "were those stories true?" I said, "maybe you can ask the statue." They said, "statues can't talk!" and I said, "well, we'll see." Needless to say the talking Paul Bunyan made a big impression on them. We took the skylift to the top (about 1/2 viewable) and then did the hike, unaware that (a) it was going to take us down to the bottom of the mountain and (b) it was steep! I saw the sign saying "Advanced hikers only" and then the "Look out for Bigfoot" warning and thought it a bit cutesy. No, pretty intense! No wonder they hand out walking sticks. My kids asked me about halfway into it if they were really advanced hikers. I said, "if you can make it to the bottom without rolling, I'd say yes!" And they did. Their reward was to take the Skylift on a full roundtrip afterwards.

An early dinner (for them) at Perlita's in Crescent City. The menu looked really good from the onset, but I just couldn't bring myself to eat much after the sandwich at Hole In The Wall. I did get a vegetable tamale though, since those are rarer than hen's teeth in Georgia. Good stuff, and my kids celebrated their hike with an horchata, which is like ice cream for them.

Nothing we really had to do after dinner than drive, so we went to check out the Battery Point Lighthouse. It was almost 6, so we couldn't go into the house, but the bridge to the house was exposed so we had the novelty of walking around it. But then we heard the tide was coming back, so we quickly sprinted across - kinda fun. And that was our final moment in California - I love the state the more I visit it.

Thanks for reading this long report, and thank you to all who helped to plan this trip, whether or not you know how much of a role you played.

Santa Cruz...
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2. Re: Detailed Trip Report: 2.5 Days In Redwood Country

Great report. And what a great dad you are. Thank you for sharing this part of your trip.

Oregon Coast
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3. Re: Detailed Trip Report: 2.5 Days In Redwood Country

Hi again! What a great Trip Report, thanks so much for taking the time!

Oh my I did laugh at your description of going over Fernbridge :-) Since I've had family in the Eureka area for just short of forever, I might possibly admit to doing that on purpose a time or two in my younger and wilder days, LOL.

You saw a lot in this area and your trip was very well planned.

Peachtree City...
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4. Re: Detailed Trip Report: 2.5 Days In Redwood Country

Thanks - My plans would have looked much different without these forums - I'm thankful for them (and you, h-B!) and also for the weather that allowed us to do just about everything we wanted.

I had a brief flashback of the bridge when I turned in the car, alongside all the other extremes of the trip (driving through snow, filling the interior with Oregon Dunes sand, kicking it into high gear to head up the steep inclines to LBJ Grove, etc) - I really had that "end of the Blues Brothers" feeling that the car was going to fall apart after I closed the trunk.

Michigan
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5. Re: Detailed Trip Report: 2.5 Days In Redwood Country

Loved your trip report -- the one including Oregon too! Thanks for taking the time to write. My memories of driving trip with my kids are some of my most treasured. Its so fun to explore this cool world with kids! Thanks for the good ideas for my upcoming trip.

Edited: 01 July 2014, 18:53
6. Re: Detailed Trip Report: 2.5 Days In Redwood Country

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