The second night of our trip up north took us all the way to the top of California into the Redwood Forests. If you want to be amazed this is the place to go. These trees are massive in every way – length, height, width, depth – and there's acres filled with them.
I felt really cool when I captioned the Instagram of my husband looking tiny at the foot of one of the great tall trees "walking amongst giants" – truth is, I probably read it somewhere, but I'm gonna coin it as my own considering I can't recall where I picked it up.
Per my dad's suggestion we made camp at the Jedediah Smith State Park that night.
Side Note: I recommend you take the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway en route to this campground. The main highway is still beautiful but this byway is even better and doesn't take much longer. When you do take this drive you'll see various trails leading into the trees. You can't stop at them all (unless you can) so take the one leading to the "Corkscrew Tree" (which happens to be one of the ten must see redwood trees).
Jedediah Smith Campground
We drove into Jedediah State Park just before sundown on a Saturday night, not too mention, at the end of the busy season (not our brightest idea). We snagged one of the few empty spots and set up. Some sites are better than others (like most campgrounds) but honestly, in this park every square inch is pretty dang magnificent.
Each site is tucked between massive redwood trees, making you feel small and insignificant in the best of ways. By that I mean: these trees are awe inspiring, they demand respect, they cry out "stop taking pictures and look at me, dangit!". Alright, I guess it's harder to explain than I thought, but just trust me when I say "they will blow your minds and make you forget all your worries and just relax."
The bathrooms are clean and there's even coin-operated showers – a pretty awesome advantage to those of you on longer excursions. There are also outlets if you need to charge up your dead camera – a life-saver for those of us that can't stop clicking away.
The roads are nicely paved for all sorts of biking: from kids circling the camp loops to expert cyclists heading out on the Redwood Highway.
The beach is a short drive from the campground and only 9 miles from Crescent City where you can grab groceries, load up on ice and firewood, and get a coffee or a bite to eat on the go.
Side Note: Head over to the Requa Viewpoint for an awesome look at the Klamath River pouring into the crashing sea.
The coast was misty and covered in a blanket of fog. The water looked ice cold but it's there for the taking if you fancy a swim.
The campground runs right along the Smith River and there are spots nestled right beside it. If you're lucky enough to snag one, or smart enough to reserve a site online, by the river is a nice place to be. There wasn't much water flow but the riverbed was a neat spot to explore with a footbridge leading to trails for more lengthly explorations.
There are many trails leading through the redwoods but I would recommend taking a journey over to Stout Grove, just a 5 mile drive from the park, and slowing down a bit to gawk at the giants.
The surroundings were lush with greenery, bright ferns covering the floors and trees in every direction. The air was moist even though it wasn't raining – it reminded me of a rainforest. Better yet, it reminded me of Fern Gully. I mentioned this to David but he didn't know what I was talking about – I guess you had to see it.
He said it reminded him of Fangorn Forest from Lord of the Rings. (I've seen the movies but didn't recognize the name.) Looking up pictures later I realized he was right. The ever-growing moss, the under the cover of tall branches
Campground Pluses and Minuses
+redwood trees in your site
+power outlets in bathrooms
+close to highway
+popular spots nearby
+open year round
+close to the coast
+creek near campground
-$35 a night (may-sept at least)
-no reservations in September
-bears (if you don't like that sort of thing)
-very shady because of the trees obviously
-everything is pretty damp (ground, table, fire pit, etc.)
-crowded campground (limited privacy)
Redwood Trees are like lightning bolts and shooting stars for me. They will always be amazing and I will never get tired of seeing them. I wish we could have stayed just one more day.
This area wouldn't be the place to spend a week camping (due to the high prices) but it's definitely worth spending a couple nights. I would recommend Jedediah State Park and the surrounding area to anyone looking for simple and satisfying adventure.