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RVers’ day touring the incredible Avenue of the Giants

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The Avenue of the Giants is a 32-mile scenic drive winding around the enormous redwood trees. It stretches from Scotia, California, in the north, to Garberville, California, to the south, paralleling Hwy. 101, the Redwood Coast Highway.

Avenue of the Giants map credit J. Angus Publishing Group
Avenue of the Giants Map credit: J. Angus Publishing Group

Getting to the campsite

Our first five miles on the Avenue of the Giants were in our 40’ motorhome towing a car. Not for the faint of heart, but the Avenue of the Giants Campground owner had assured me that was the best way to get to the campground. And what a nicely laid-out and kept-up campground it was! All sites were pull-through with a bit of grass, a fire ring and real tables. They also have a store with handmade redwood bowls, tables and other carvings. It is home to the Immortal Tree and a truck built with a redwood log!

Avenue of the Giants Photo Credit Nanci Dixon

The ancient Avenue of the Giants forest

The sheer size and sense of time immortal are awe-inspiring. The forest is a combination of old growth (not logged), ancient (appearance not changed over centuries) and all-aged (new growth, ancient trees, decaying trees and “standing dead snag” together). Only 4 percent of the coastal redwood forest remains.

Trails abound throughout the Avenue of the Giants, ranging from an easy quarter-mile walk to challenging six-mile loops. We stopped several times to take the easiest of the hikes.

Drinking through a 300’ straw!

Redwood seeds are smaller than a grain of rice, the tiny cones are the size of a quarter, and only one in a million seeds have a chance of survival. It is estimated that the highest a redwood could get is 400 feet—getting water to the top is like drinking from a 300-foot straw! Less water gets to the top, meaning smaller leaves, which produce less food.

Avenue of the Giants Photo Credit Nanci Dixon

Stump sprouts

Many of the trees start as stump sprouts where the trees are joined together. The seeds take advantage of the existing root system of the tree. The redwoods have no tap root, only shallow spread-out roots. These roots connect with other trees to form a strong support system. The fallen trees’ roots are huge and beautiful!

Avenue of the Giants Photo Credit Nanci Dixon

Avenue of the Giants Photo Credit Nanci Dixon

Burls

A lot of the trees have burls. These contain dormant growing tissue that can be used in case of emergency and ensure the continuation of the tree.


PLANNING A TRIP TO THE REDWOODS? This book will help guide you.


“Built” to last

They are built to last. The first 12-15 inches of bark contain no flammable resins so they resist fire. They also form a kind of shield internally if damaged, burnt or split, that allows the tree to live. The trees can appear almost hollow and still be alive like the one below. Truly a wonder.

Avenue of the Giants Photo Credit Nanci Dixon

National and State Parks working together

The National and State Parks have joined together to protect and support these giants. The Visitor Center has a movie and fascinating displays as well as a truck made from a redwood log. You can get the National Parks Passport book stamped there, too.

Avenue of the Giants Photo Credit Nanci Dixon

Learn more on the Avenue of the Giants website here.

All photos by Nanci Dixon. 

##RVT1075

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Chuck
1 month ago

April 2018, we were coming back home to Beautiful Southern Oregon from Mesa. We stopped at a RV Park at the northern end of the Ave of the Giants. Right across the hiway from the Benbow Inn. It was a cool raining day so we took a ride thru the Avenue in our toad. On the way back I saw a tree coming down across the road and I hit the brakes. We were lucky, very lucky. The tree hit, bounced and we were on it. It happened faster than you can say it. Redwoods are very brittle and this one shattered when it hit the road and spread and we drove up on it. Enough branches hit the toad where it was totaled. Yep, the Avenue of the Giants is a beautiful drive. I wish I could show the pictures.

Last edited 1 month ago by Chuck
Diane Mc
1 month ago

Husband grew up in Eureka. Knows the entire Lost Coast like the back of his hand. We started meeting 3 couples, best friends from Eureka days, at the Benbow Historic Inn. Did that for 2 years (beautiful, but expensive) until we checked out the RV park across the freeway. We started bringing our motorhome and the other couples rented the cabins. Did that for a number of years, then it was just one couple who got a trailer. We had great times there. Have a challenging 9 hole golf course (in a bit of disrepair now due to drought) in a beautiful location. A few miles from the Avenue of the Giants. We drive it every year. Just returned from 2 nights in the hotel. 80 degrees, played golf, ride to Pepperwood for the fresh veg/fruits, great dinner at hotel. Rivers aren’t flowing, drought and marijuana growers using the water 🙁 . Lake gone, environmentalists had dams taken down.

Pammy
1 month ago

I’ve been going there since babyhood – one of my favorite places in the world!

Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles worked.
1 month ago

Walt Kelly did a stint for Disney as a Dumbo animator. When he left and started the cartoon strip Pogo, this tree looks remarkably like the “houses” for all the Okeefenokee animals (except for I think Albert Alligator. I remember him visiting in other character’s tree houses, don’t think he had one of his own.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

Exactly what I thought (about the tree that looks like the houses in Pogo – sans a door). Pogo was a fave comic book when I was a wee tot.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

I rode through the “Avenue of the Giants” on a bicycle trip in 1979. I was awestruck! And of course, on a bicycle, I had to watch out for folks like Nanci Dixon and their RV’s – ha.