Avenue of the Giants

Mind-Blowing Avenue of the Giants is an Unforgettable Drive


Avenue of the Giants

One of the most impressive displays of giant redwoods in the world can be found along a 31-mile stretch of Northern California highway known as the Avenue of the Giants.

Just craning your neck to view nature’s skyscrapers from the window (or sun roof) of your car is enough of an awe-inspiring experience. In fact, the Avenue of the Giants is listed in the book, “1,000 Places to See Before you Die.”

But why just “see” when you can also “do?”

We asked ourselves that question, and that’s why we came up with our own Top 11 Things to Do Along the Avenue of the Giants. As you’ll discover, there are plenty of reasons to leave your car!

But first things first:

Where is the Avenue of the Giants?

The Avenue of the Giants is located about 45 miles south of Eureka and 20 miles north of Garberville branching off Highway 101. The two-lane blacktop roughly parallels the Eel River and U.S. Highway 101 from Phillipsville to the south to Pepperwood to the north. The Avenue of the Giants is the main road traversing Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

And now …

Our Top 11 Things to Do Along the Avenue of the Giants

Get Out of Your Car and Hike
Sure, you could get a lot of satisfaction just gazing skyward from your automobile, but unless you get out and walk the many trails zigzagging through the Avenue of the Giants, you won’t soak in the full feel of this unbelievable place.

One don’t-miss hike along the Avenue of the Giants is Founder’s Grove, dedicated to the visionaries who started the Save the Redwoods League. There you can see the fallen Dyerville Giant, which was certified by the American Forestry Association as the Champion Coast Redwood until it toppled over in 1991. It’s 362 feet long, with a root base shooting up 35 feet into the air!

Other great Avenue of the Giants hikes take you through Rockefeller Forest, the largest remaining old-growth forest in the world boasting 40 of the 100 tallest trees on the planet.

Before you set out on any trails, hit the Visitor Center, which is located along the Avenue of the Giants (State Route 254) between the towns of Weott and Myers Flat. Pick up brochures on self-guided auto tours and redwood-grove hikes so you know what to look for.

Take Your Group on a Lost Coast Adventure Tour
Traveling with a big family on the go? While you’re up in Avenue of the Giants territory, consider signing up for a Lost Coast Adventure Tour. The folks there take groups of up to 10 people on hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, horseback riding, surfing, diving, scenic drive, and ropes-course excursions. Call (707) 986-9895 for details.

Visit Scotia
This quaint logging village is one of the last remaining “company towns” in America. Stop by the museum (free admission) to get a perspective on local forestry practices and a history of the village. There’s also a fisheries center describing the life cycles of salmon and trout.

If you feel like staying the night, you’re in luck: the historic Scotia Inn is packed with Victorian antiques and has a bar and grill open to the public for lunch and dinner. All in all, your perfect “home base” for visiting the Avenue of the Giants.

Be Inspired by Beautiful Art
Spirit Art Glass studio and gallery contains gorgeous works of glass art by Michael Shearer, including perfume bottles, vases, bowls, sculptures, and paperweights. It’s located at 5251 Avenue of the Giants, Miranda, CA 95553.

Spend Some Time on the River
The Eel River, which runs parallel to the Avenue of the Giants, provides terrific opportunities for swimming, kayaking, rafting, tubing, and canoeing. Check out www.eelriver.org for detailed guides.

Explore the Eternal Treehouse
The Avenue of the Giants has its share of “touristy” spots, and this is definitely one of them. The Eternal Treehouse is a still-living 2,500-year-old stump that was hollowed out centuries ago by fire and used by Indians and trappers for shelter.

Take a Lesson from the Immortal Tree
This 1,000-year-old specimen located just north of the town of Redcrest has taken a licking (several, in fact) and keeps on ticking. Lightning, fires, floods, overzealous axes — you name it, all have taken their toll.

The once-proud 298-footer is now a diminished but still respectable 258 feet, and still very much alive, which should teach us something about perseverence.

When you’re in the vicinity of this Avenue of the Giants landmark, you’ll want to visit Burl N’ Drift Novelty Gifts next door. They specialize in locally manufactured redwood souvenirs and gifts made from environmentally salvaged wood.

Stay Overnight along the Avenue of the Giants
Looking to wake up surrounded by some of the tallest trees on Earth? The Avenue of the Giants has a couple of great places to stay overnight.

Try the cottages (some with kitchens and fireplaces) at Miranda Gardens Resort & Market. Amenities include summer campfires, heated pool, playground, basketball, ping-pong, convenience store, and complimentary continental breakfast mid-May through mid-October. Call (707) 943-3011.

Another option is the Redcrest Resort & Gift Shop, which has cottages with fully equipped kitchens and barbecue grills, plus a vacation house. There’s also RV parking and places to pitch a tent. Amenities include a playground, outdoor hot tub, gift shop, and group fire ring. Call (707) 722-4208.

Grab Some Good Grub
When hunger strikes during your tour of the Avenue of the Giants, you can’t do better than the Avenue Cafe’s huge (we mean HUGE!) calzones, pizzas, and local microbrews on tap. Dine outdoors on the patio if you can. The Avenue Cafe can be found in the town of Miranda.

Visit a Drive-Through-Tree
Cheesy? Maybe. But no visit to the Avenue of the Giants is complete without driving your car through a redwood tree just to say you did it. The Shrine Drive-Thru Tree near Myers Flat provides just such an opportunity. (You can also drive over a fallen log.) The kids will also love the two-story treehouse and the children’s walk-through stump. Heads up: There’s a minimal per-car fee.

Bring Home a Redwood Souvenir
What better way to commemorate your visit to the Avenue of the Giants than to buy a knickknack made of wood? Stone’s Redwood Gallery in Miranda sells bowls, tables, boxes, clocks, and much more — all handmade on location.

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