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Author Topic: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing  (Read 1579 times)

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Offline farmerboydave

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Morning folks looking advice from folks on the West Coast on things that are worth seeing.

Normally when I'm stateside  I travel to MD, PA VA.  My day job has me in california, Petaluma in late Feb and I have a weekend to enjoy a bit of the west coast. 

With my hobby of trees and love of  husky saws I wanted to take an opportunity to consider seeing some memorable and impressive trees. Hence why i ask for advice from folks in the know of what is recommended.

Was consider driving up through the avenue of giants to redwood national park, but does the winter make trying to get to the likes of  hyperion and others in the tall trees Grove  or the like difficult. Is there much snow in that area, is a car ok or do you need to hire a awd type.

Any advice from folks in the know is greatly appreciated, thanks for your time

Dave, Ireland


Offline DMcCoy

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2018, 09:25:58 AM »
Feb.  Not sure of the weather down there at that time of year.  Redwoods Natnl forest for sure.  I also stopped along the freeway just to walk in an undisturbed section of forest, like walking on a 10" soft foam mattress.  Smith River, OR is worth a drive through.
Eureka and Arcata are right in there as well with museums and historic districts.
The Carson Mansion is jaw dropping beautiful, but you are not allowed inside.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_Mansion
Google has interior images. 

Probably to snowy for Collier state park.  The most impressive antique logging equipment collection I have seen so far. 
http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=165

Gold beach OR very scenic as well.  My 2 cents.

Offline Darrel

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2018, 09:41:05 AM »
I lived on the Northern California coast as a kid and through my 20's. Very rarely will winter driving cause any issues. With a bit of good fortune, you might be able see the "mighty Eel River while it is mighty and a mile wide. 99% of the time you can wade across it in a hand full of steps. Yes, do drive north, the Avenue of the Giants is spectacular and while there watch for high water marks somewhere between 20' & 50' above your head.  Stop in scotia and see what's left of the Pacific Lumber Co.  I was in the crowd when Richard Nixon was there for the dedication of Lady Bird Johnson Grove in the National Park. Redwood National Park is nice but the Avenue of the Giants is better imo. Patrick's Point state park is also worth seeing. No redwoods there, but lots of Sitka spruce. 

And my last name being Carson doesn't even get me into the mansion on the north end of 2th Street. (Yes, 2th)

Edit to add:
No snow at Collier this year. Not now anyway.
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Offline Clark

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2018, 10:40:31 AM »
I asked this same questions about 10 years ago. The person I was asking was from northern California and he said all the places featuring redwoods are pretty spectacular. I thought that was one way to dodge the question...and thanks!

Turns out, he is right. If there are redwoods in a park, it's amazing. Just go and if time is limited, don't worry about making it to destination X,Y or Z. Just pick one and go.

Clark
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2018, 01:26:40 PM »
In 6th grade the kids here go to an Outdoor Education retreat.  One day they visit Armstrong Redwoods State National Reserve - just north of Guerneville.  Nice flat walk to see a lot of trees, some of them pretty huge.  Not nearly as impressive as going to Sequoia National Park (or Yosemite), but still amazing.
John Sawicky

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SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline farmerboydave

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2018, 12:36:32 PM »
Gentlemen I wanted to say thanks and stress how i appreciate all the advice, I'll head up slowly through the avenue of giants stay the weekend in Patrick's point (we'll I'm  Irish what do you expect).  All being well see the giants.  I'm prepared to feel really small and say "wow look at the height of that" a lot. I'll be the one  with a husky cap when walking in the woods 😁. Thanks again gents

Offline BradMarks

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2018, 12:37:21 PM »
Was "there" last May.  Yes on Avenue of the Giants, always good, pull off just about anywhere in winter.  The Rockefeller Grove (side road from A of G) is an easy walk, totally flat, the road getting there is a potholed gravel adventure but not too bad.  The historic hotel in Scotia is worth seeing if open. Eel River brewery in Fortuna has good beer and fresh seafood. And a good chance to see lots of elk heading to Patrick's Point SP, a little north of Orick.  A motel in Crescent has the rooms interiors made from a single curly redwood tree - and great steaks (at least they used to - been awhile since eating there) in the restaurant.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2018, 01:57:23 PM »
Someone correct me if I have this wrong but I believe the A of G will be primarily Redwoods.  I don't think there are any Sequoias along there.  While they are the tallest trees in the world, they are the "skinny" ones - perhaps only 6 to 8 foot in diameter.  I am impressed by them but not nearly as much as a Giant Sequoia - which you can see in the Armstrong Redwoods park.  But to see the truly massive ones, you need to head to Sequoia National park - quite a drive from where you are!
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline Darrel

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 03:18:37 PM »
The 6'-8' are predominantly what you'll see, but if you look, you'll see 2 - 3 times that. But yes, you won't see the giant sequoias in that part of California.
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Offline Chop Shop

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2018, 05:58:53 PM »
Avenue of the Giants/Scotia/Rockefeller area has pure redwood stands with only redwoods. There are ferns and some vine maples on the forest floor.    Its almost dark on the forest floor on a sunny day.   These are dense pure stands of like trees.   Very TALL.

Up north on the coast by the Trees of mystery the forest is a mix of huge redwoods, firs, hemlocks and spruce that are all HUGE.   Very brushy floor and a mix of many species.

Trees of mystery is a fun stop also.   Watching the kids amazed by Paul Bunyan talking is a hoot.      The wife took a pic of me doing my best Bunyan pose with my largest falling axe and a "Paul wave" at his feet.   It was good for a decent laugh and a funny pic!

Offline Clark

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2018, 09:13:30 PM »
While they are the tallest trees in the world, they are the "skinny" ones - perhaps only 6 to 8 foot in diameter.  I am impressed by them but not nearly as much as a Giant Sequoia - which you can see in the Armstrong Redwoods park.  But to see the truly massive ones, you need to head to Sequoia National park - quite a drive from where you are!

While I recall seeing plenty of trees in the 6-8' diameter range there were also plenty in the 10'+ range. I don't think anyone would go there and think they just saw a bunch of scrawny trees.

Personally, I am more impressed by the redwoods than the sequoias. They are very different, both are impressive but we all have preferences.

Clark
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Offline low_48

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2018, 11:21:38 PM »
I had a job at Woodworker's Journal Magazine for a while. I had a trip of a lifetime and spent a weekend in Fort Bragg listening to James Krenov. The trip out, through Montgomery Woods State Reserve, was a real spiritual experience for someone from the flat plains of IL. My family is supposed to take my ashes out there some day. It's that kind of place!

Offline clearcut

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 12:41:36 AM »
It hard to go wrong in either the coast redwoods or giant sequoia groves. Both are incredible places.

Both Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia are in the Taxodiacea along with dawn redwood and bald cypress.

Coast redwood is Sequoia sempervirens and is often referred to as sequoia. They are found in a narrow strip along the north coast of California where fog is the principle form of precipitation.

Giant sequoia is Sequoiadendron giganteum formerly Sequoia giganteum and is know as Sierra redwood, sequoia and a few other names. Giant sequoia is found in isolated mid-elevation groves throughout the Sierra Nevada.

Both are California's state tree(s). Both are widely planted as ornamentals.

Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is a favorite place to visit, though it may be a challenge during high water.

I would avoid Muir Woods. Though it is lovely, Muir Wood is the old growth grove with the easiest access to San Francisco. It is often crowded. One of the true joys of exploring the redwoods, both coast and Sierra, it to walk among the trees. This is discouraged in Muir Woods due to the large number of visitors.

I can also suggest the Benbow Inn near Garberville. It is delightful though it was several years ago when I last stayed.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2018, 02:26:43 AM »
While they are the tallest trees in the world, they are the "skinny" ones - perhaps only 6 to 8 foot in diameter.  I am impressed by them but not nearly as much as a Giant Sequoia - which you can see in the Armstrong Redwoods park.  But to see the truly massive ones, you need to head to Sequoia National park - quite a drive from where you are!

While I recall seeing plenty of trees in the 6-8' diameter range there were also plenty in the 10'+ range. I don't think anyone would go there and think they just saw a bunch of scrawny trees.

Personally, I am more impressed by the redwoods than the sequoias. They are very different, both are impressive but we all have preferences.

Clark
My "skinny" comment should have been followed by a  ;)  But, once you've seen a Giant Sequoia that is 28' in diameter, you are truly humbled.  It is unbelievable that such a thing exists.  A branch that fell off of one was 8' in diameter.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline RPF2509

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2018, 03:19:26 PM »
Everyone has had good advice so far.  The A of G is great for the windshield tour.  Don't miss the chance to get into the backroads of Humboldt state park - you will see some truly massive trees.  North of Eureka is Redwood National Park - be sure to get off 101 and go on the paved double lane through the park.  Then there is Jed Smith State Park just south of the Oregon border.  There is a back road called the Howland Hill road that is not well known that goes through the back woods of the park.  Be aware that it is a lot of single lane gravel and may be closed due to storm damage - check at the ranger station.  Also the Bald Hills road out of Orick will get you into the back woods of Redwood National Park.  Make the effort in any one of the parks to get out of the car and go for a walk, truly a bucket list adventure.  Trails range from easy to challenging.  Snow won't be a problem but be prepared for rain and fog.  FYI its 5 - 6 hours from Petaluma to Eureka on 101.  On Highway 1 its 12 or more.  Don't miss the coast if you have time.  The Mendocino and Sonoma coast have their own charms and the redwoods are right there.  Montgomery woods is a great short trip location, it has one of the tallest redwoods but the grove only takes less than an hour to navigate (on foot only) but an hour to go to and from Hwy 101.  As a reminder Hwy 101 is mostly 2 lanes each way.  Any other road will be one lane each way of the most twisted, hilly, dangerous road you have ever seen.  The Sierra sequoias are probably snowed out but with the light snow pack, roads may be open.  The real sad part of seeing the giant sequoias is the 100 million bug killed trees in the sierras from overstocking problems on the national forests.  It was bad when I was there in 2014 and is catastrophic now.

Offline RPF2509

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2018, 03:28:32 PM »
PS the tallest trees are not identified.  As far as I know Hyperion is off limits in the back woods of the park but may have an outlaw trail to it.  I'm sure its location, if known is posted somewhere on the internet.  The park discourages people from visiting it.  Once a tree gets over 300' tall they all look tall.  Armstrong woods is a good quickie from Petaluma to see some impressive trees - flat walking too.  Don't go on a weekend as parking is limited.  Humboldt State Park south of Eureka is where you first get to see large areas of lots of large trees.  Everything to the south is just small groves of a few hundred acres or so.  It has been a warm dry winter so far so spring may come early.  Be prepared to see the fire damage in north Santa Rosa. Its right next to the freeway 7,000 homes destroyed.  The only bonus is the spring wildflowers will be spectacular.

Offline ashes

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Re: West Coast advice on large redwoods / sequoias what are worth seeing
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2018, 05:21:59 PM »
Weather this time of year is fine for touring the Avenue Redwoods, although as I say that it is hailing here in Scotia. You can see really large trees around the Dyreville exit on 101. Probably easier to view big trees here than the sequoias this time of year. Both are spectacular in there own right.


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