Our trip started in Medford, OR. Considering there were direct flights from Las Vegas to Rogue International Airport for $115 round trip, this was a no-brainer. Since we planned on visiting Crater Lake as well, Medford was the perfect airport between the both of them.
From Medford, OR we drove through Grants Pass all the way down the coast. We decided to do the majority of our driving on the first day we arrived, and drove 5 hours to the Humboldt Redwood State Park. The Humboldt Redwood State Park was a little disappointing, in my option. Our first stop was Founder’s Grove. Although the majority of the largest Redwoods ever recorded is in the Founder’s Grove and Humboldt Redwood State Park, the trees themselves are so tall, you can’t even tell the difference between a Redwood that is 300 foot vs 370 foot. The most impressive of them all was the Fallen Giant, The Dyerville tree. Dyerville Tree had fallen back in 1991, and was the tallest tree in the park at the time it had fallen. The tree was an impressive 362-foot tall. Our next stop was the Big Tree Area on Bull Creek Flat. Although the trees are thicker than the ones found in Founder’s Grove, the creek was completely dry, making our hike, anti-climatic. Situated along the creek are several more impressive trees including the Giant Tree that towers over us at 363 feet tall, and a circumference of 53.2 feet. But outside of several more big trees, I personally would’ve skipped driving an additional hour each way for, what I felt, was a mediocre amount of experience.
If I could go back in time, I would’ve skipped the Humboldt Redwood State Park altogether. I would’ve drove from Medford and stayed in Trinidad instead, rather than driving all the way down to Humboldt Redwood State Park and staying in Loleta at the Bear River Creek Casino. The Bear River Creek Casino was quite a surprise to us. The rooms were clean, the restaurant was not only delicious, but the views were spectacular. When we arrived, the sun was setting and the view from the restaurant was unbeatable with a window seat. They were offering a pasta buffet, the night we arrived, but neither my husband nor I were interested in pasta. Instead, we shared a salad and I ordered a steak. The steak was flavorful, and cooked to perfection. All and all, we highly recommend staying at the Bear River Creek Hotel if you’re ever in the area. Breakfast served were huge portions and prices were reasonable too.
The next day, we had a full schedule of driving and sight seeing. We drove down the highway majority of the time, and decided to get off at a scenic drive, just pass Clam Beach. To our surprise, this was the most scenic section that we would have missed if we were taking the highway. If you’re driving North on the 101, exit Westhaven Drive and take a left. Make a right on Scenic Drive, and you won’t regret it. Along the scenic drive towards Trinidad, there were many pull outs. One particular pull out that was most memorable was the Houda Point and Camel Rock. Do yourself a favor, and make the descend down to both sides of the beach. The stairways down could get a bit steep, but take your time, and trust me, it’s worth every step. The beaches were empty when we had gone. It was like stepping into paradise.
Our next stop was Patrick’s Point State Park. This place is such a hidden gem! We walked to a few points and lookouts, and it was definitely worth the $7 entry fee. We really enjoyed hiking Wedding Rock. It was by far, one of our favorites. The scenery is similar to that of a fairy tale. If you don’t have too much time inside the park, we suggest skipping Patrick’s Point, and hiking Wedding Rock instead. Patrick’s Point gives you an amazing view of Wedding Rock, but some of the rock formations you will see while hiking Wedding Rock is definitely unbeatable. We also saw a couple of seals at the Wedding Rock hike on our way back out. It was such a surprise! Our next stop was Agate Beach. Our mission at Agate Beach was to find some agate, but that was unsuccessful. We weren’t really sure what we were looking for while we were down at the beach. We tried breaking open a few of the rocks by pounding another rock onto it, but none of the rocks we picked up were agate, so we eventually gave up. The beach was isolated as far as the eyes can see, probably because this hike down was quite steep, about 1.1 miles down. I suggest not to do this one if you’re not in good health. We were lucky to have found $20 on the trail. It was definitely a lucky day for us. Thank you to the person who bought us lunch that day, whoever you are. After exploring Agate Beach and hiking back out, we decided to take a hike down to see some tide pools. Unfortunately, it was high tide at the time, and the pools were below the water level. We quickly hiked back up and out and headed to our next stop: Fern Canyon.
Fern Canyon is located in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Words and photos can not describe how amazing Fern Canyon really is. The drive to get down there was quite an adventure in itself. The windy dirt road was narrow, and took us 45 minutes to get to the trail head from highway 101. Fern Canyon was apparently a film location for Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World. This natural wonder is a canyon, whose walls are full of lush green fern, that took centuries to grow. The hike to get there is at the end of the Gold Bluff Beach Road. After hiking just a 1/5 of a mile, there will be a few branches of trails you can take. Take the route on the right, almost taking a U-turn, and you will be headed in the right direction towards Fern Canyon. Gold Bluff Beach is only a little ways down from Fern Canyon, which also has a campground, if you’re interested in camping along the ocean. The small campground was already full when we arrive at noon, so we suggest driving there a little earlier to secure your spot.
After Fern Canyon, we decided to another scenic route on the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway to get to Klamath. This was definitely worth the short detour from the highway. The trees along this route are all towering over the road as you drive through it. It made sunny days seem a bit overcast. We highly recommend taking this route at least once. We headed to Klamath to do the Trees of Mystery Gondola tour, unfortunately it was super foggy in that area. As a result, we could not see more than 5 feet ahead of us. We decided to grab some lunch hoping that the skies would clear a bit, but it actually ended up getting worse. We did get out, to take a photo with the infamous Paul Bunion and Babe, and did do the Drive Thu Tree Tour. The $5 was worth a stop to take a photo while driving through a giant redwood tree. You can actually drive through as many times as you’d like. Afterwards, we ended up grabbing dinner across the street at the Forest Cafe. The food was not great, but being in the middle of nowhere, beggars can’t be choosers rights? My ribeye came with 2 sides, which I ordered a side salad and vegetables. The veggies that came as my side dish were a mere 4 broccoli. Don’t order a side of veggies. That is all that you get. After deciding that it was too foggy for a gondola ride, we headed straight to the Jedidiah Smith Redwood State Park.
Jedidiah Smith Redwood State Park is by far our absolute favorite area for Redwood Trees. I must admit, that Stout Grove is hard to get to via Howland Hill Road, but it is worth it. By taking the Howland Hill Road, you’re driving through an isolated dirt road. I assume many people do not take this route, since it does get quite rough. We attempted at looking for the Titan of Giants, but my phone had no signal back there, and therefore could not figure out where we were at to be able to find the Titan of Giants. We ended up finding the signs to Stout Grove, and ended hiking the loop to the Smith River. We didn’t see a single person during this hike. The river is peaceful, with a little bridge that crosses the river. The trees here may not be as tall as the ones in Humboldt, but the lush green vegetation surrounding the tree is much more scenic than the dirt at Humboldt Redwood State Park. We finished our night in Crescent City, and stayed at the Econo Lodge. We were super impressed with their rooms, considering it was only $46, and had came with a continental breakfast. There really wasn’t too much offered for breakfast, so we grabbed some bananas and headed for some delicious breakfast at Alisa’s Coffee, which is just across the way. Both the coffee and wrap I got were yummy!