We did a daytrip to the Avenue of the Giants from Mendocino. Avenue of the Giants is a 38-mile detour along the side of 101 freeway 45 miles north of Leggett were Pacific Coast Highway (PCH – Highway 1) meets 101 freeway and about 40 miles south of Eureka. This avenue cuts right through the middle of the Humboldt Redwood State Park and is aptly named as it provides visitors with a visual treat of the vast amount of giant redwood trees that occupy the area.
En-route at Leggett is the world famous Chandelier tree – the Drive-Thru Tree – this tree has a 9X6 foot enclosure cut through it. Entrance to the park was $5 per vehicle and from the entrance a dirt road takes you through the tree. There is a very nice, serene picnic area and a gift shop with ample choices of curios made with redwood. There are several such trees commercialized with an entrance fee and gift shop dotted all along the way. It is easy to be distracted by the commercialization and the small shops that run businesses by selling wares of questionable value along the entire stretch of the Avenue of the Giants. While the general theme of all of these is the same and runs amuck the notion of preservation and saving, it is worthwhile to visit at-least one such place.
Another experience on that route is the gravity house and the train ride at Confusion Hill. The admission to the gravity house was $6.50 for adults and $4 for children between 4 and 12, and the admission to the train ride was $8.50 for adults and $5 for children between 4 and 12. The gravity house fails to amuse adults but our kids definitely found it a welcome distraction. The train ride is a reincarnation of an old relic, but as all train rides go, it does provide entertainment. You get to see up-close a few Madrones and some Douglas Fir too. It was intriguing to hear the train engineer recount the story of the giant redwood trees that were felled in the 1993 timeframe – loopholes in logging rules were exploited as ownership changed in rapid succession, each new owner exercising their quota (double-dipping) with the result that the giant redwoods were mostly cut down and the absence of the wind break barrier brought down as many as 240 trees in a storm in 1996 – as you ride the train, and notice the lack of trees at the summit you have to wonder…
The best way to experience these giants is to try and stop by as many groves along the stretch as possible. Usually an information plaque detailing the hikes at that spot is also available. You are limited only by your own time, inclination, and ability. It is extremely important that people taking these hikes take care to stay away from the poison oak growing along most of the trails.
In summary, Avenue of the Giants provides an awe inspiring, unique experience for visitors to the area.
1. Mendocino, Fort Bragg, CA – Trip Report/Review.
Last Updated: 10/2008.