Location: (North of) Eureka, California, USA
Visited: September, 2007
Background and Opinion:
It is an understatement to say that these are “some big trees.” These behemoths tower higher than you can comfortably tilt your head up, making for a spectacular environment. There is nothing to really plan except for a camping stay near the beach, as this park is located along the northern Californian coast. The “avenue of giants” is a must as it is a side scenic route with some of the largest redwoods (you will see signs for it is you are driving up Pacific Coast Highway 1), some of which you can literally drive through! There are however two downsides.
1) This redwoods area contains the tallest known tree (and consequently, living thing) on Earth. However, due to past vandalism, its location is kept secret from the general public.
2) Accessibility on any sort of a modest budget is out of the question. Like pretty much anything worth seeing in the US, you have to drive to it (foreigners would have to rent a car). Being near the border of Oregon and California, it’s hardly “around the corner.”
The Redwoods National and State Parks are some of America’s most well known parks. They are located along the coast of California from a bit north of Eureka to almost the Oregon border. Trees grow to over 300 feet tall (100 meters) and can live for over 4000 years. In terms of sheer size, redwoods are to plants as blue whales are to animals. When I parked along the road (in the fall), I didn’t see another human being for about an hour, so if you are looking for a place where you can really get away from it all, this is the place for you.
1) Completeness / Preservation (13/15): This park is pretty well protected. Unfortunately, what remains of the coastal redwoods is nothing compared to what once existed.
2) Extensiveness of the Site (10/15): At about 1/4 million acres, this park is mid sized compared to others in the US (and the world). A good, full day is enough to explore it.
3) Natural Significance (16/25): They are the tallest trees in the world. However, they aren’t the heaviest, the thickest, the ones with the most wood, or the only redwoods in the world. Maybe it is my bias, but I prefer natural known for the animals rather than the trees.
4) Personal Impact (9/15): It was quite something, especially on a foggy day, to come upon enormous trees just lining the road. The scene was more eerie at night (in a good way) as the tall behemoths make you feel even more secluded. However, the feeling is easily replicated in Sequoia National Park. Maybe we are spoiled with an abundance of natural splendor in the western United States.
5) Logistics (4/10): Any sort of public transportation access is out of the question, as it is relatively far from any city. Even San Francisco is at least 3 hours south.
6) Uniqueness (10/20): Pretty awesome drive, but sort of similar to Sequioa National Park. They are not the same species of tree, but very similar
Combined Score: 62/100
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