Mileage Driven: 60 miles
Points of Interest: Humboldt Lagoon State Park, Redwood National Park (Lady Bird Johnson Grove), Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Klamath, Trees of Mystery, Crescent Beach Overlook / Enderts Beach Road
Facts about Crescent City, CA:
- The population of Crescent City at 7,643 in 2010 includes the Pelican Bay Prison inmate count.
- The city is only 20 miles south of the Oregon border so makes for a great location with Redwoods surrounding, and then a day trip to Oregon for more Goonies type beach views.
- The first European American to explore this area was Jedidiah Smith, hence where the local state park gets its name that we explored. He really felt like Crescent City was truly “Lands End”.
- In 1855, Congress approved the building of a lighthouse, Battery Point Lighthouse, which is still functioning today as a working lighthouse. You can take a tour of this lighthouse at low tide. See our notes below as it was an incredible experience to do this.
- The first highest temperature ever recorded in the city was 93 degrees on September 24, 1965 (this same temp has been hit 2 more times since this early date). The lowest temperature of 19 degrees ever recorded was on December 21, 1990.
- Redwoods are the fastest growing softwood trees on this earth!!! They grow anywhere from 3-5 inches a year! Absolutely amazing!
This may sound cheesy, but I was seriously thinking as we pulled out of Patrick’s Point State Park, “How could this get any better”? Oh man! The beach, the cool temps, the HUGE trees, the happy sons! This was heaven!
First off….Happy 4th of July everyone!! Today was going to be a long day as it was only 60 miles to Crescent City, however, there was a TON to see along that way, so we were packed up and pulling out by 9am. I was excited as I had never hiked in the Redwoods before in this area. Plus, one of my favorite movies was Goonies so I was excited to see the Oregon coast in a few days as well!
It wasn’t long before we started seeing signs for the Redwood National and State Parks. Some people have been confused about this and the best way I read it is that the National Park is made up of 3 state parks so it covers a large area.
This was incredible! As we took a turn around a bend and came out through the trees, this was our view! So utterly beautiful! The overcast skies…the crashing waves really set the tone to where I wished I was sit on a porch swing, covered in a plush earth tone blanket, hands staying warm embracing a favorite ceramic mug of hot tea while gazing at each unique wave as it crashed onto the beach moving each pebble to a new home until the next wave…
So a little information about the Redwoods…the national park was established in 1968 and covers over 100,000 acres. There is a great visitors center that you won’t want to miss right about this point of the picture above called the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitors Center. It is located at the mouth of the Redwood Creek to the south of the town of Orick. It is open 9am-5pm and if you want to drive north of Lady Bird Johnson Grove, you must stop here and ask about a permit. We didn’t realize this and so missed this opportunity. 😦
As we continued north, we turned onto Bald Hill Road about a mile east of US 101 and parked to explore Lady Bird Johnson Grove. The beautiful walk is only a short 1.5 mile loop, is very easy and can ben done in about 25 minutes even if taking lots of pictures like we did.
The pictures just don’t do these beauties any justice at all. They are massive, majestic and magnificent! I just couldn’t help but stand at the base of them in awe as I gazed straight above me…many I couldn’t even see their tops.
This park was dedicated in 1969 to Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson by Richard Nixon. See plaque below for more details.
With all this beauty surrounding us, we were getting hungry for a solid breakfast as we still had a few more stops to visit before we reached Crescent City later in the afternoon. So, we decided to check out a small cafe that I read about, the Log Cabin Diner. As we crossed over the Klamath River, make sure to keep an eye out for the 2 golden bear statues waiting to great you on each side of the river.
The cafe is located right across the street from the Tour Thru Tree in Klamath and it was worth it! If you are hungry, this is the place to eat! The address is 301 CA-169, Klamath, CA 95548. It is a no frills diner but the you get an enormous amount of food for a very reasonable price.
This had to be the biggest breakfast burrito I had ever been served and it was incredible. I could only eat half but only due to its size and not because it wasn’t good!
Sam got the cheese omelet and it literally took up the whole plate and the homestyle potatoes were freshly cut and cooked. Awesome! A must stop for breakfast the next time you are in Klamath.
Now that our bellies were full, it was time to try something new with Gypsy…we headed across the street, paid the small $5 fee to try and drive through the Tour Thru Tree. I mean, we are in Redwood Country so who doesn’t want to try and drive their car through one! Well, the sweet owner, Mrs. Del Ponte, assured me that one F350 had made it through but had made it only with mm’s to spare. She was confident I could make it through…..well, with even the mirrors folded in, we were going to hit one side for sure if I continued to try and pull through. So, with Gypsy still being a novice adventurer and so not to damage her considering I just got her, we pulled halfway in, got this picture and then I backed out. 🙂
Some cool things about this tree include that the opening is 7’4″ wide and 9’6″ high. The tree is 17 feet in diameter and is about 90 feet tall. With the side branches, the tree has an overall height of 183 feet. The Tour Thru Tree is said to be 787 years old and was scarred by fire at some point during its life. The tunnel was completed in May 1976 (Great month and year! 🙂 ) and this privately owned tourist attraction was opened one more later. So, for the minimal fee of $5 per car to enter, this is a fun break from traveling and I would recommend stopping…hope you can make it all the way through!
We continued north on HWY 101 towards a fun attraction the boys and I had been looking forward to since I began researching places to stop along the hwy….The Trees of Mystery experience. It is located at 15500 US Hwy. 101 N, Klamath and you can’t miss it as Paul Bunyan and his friendly sidekick are standing tall and proud of wave you into the parking lot.
This place has a very large unique gift shop with everything you could ever want from the Redwoods, from Bigfoot items to jewelry and items from from the Redwoods. When you arrive, you have to pay an entrance fee to begin the fun. Cost is $15 for adults, $11 for seniors 60 and over, $8 for kids age 7-12, and free for anyone 6 and under. You should plan to spend about 1.5 -2 hours there, especially if you plan to take the Sky Trail tram to explore more of the park.
After you pay, you will follow the signs for the Kingdom of Trees walking trail. They do have a shuttle service that can take you to the tram, but if you can walk, you should plan to do so. There are a ton of fun things to see along the trail.
All along the trail, there are great statues carved out of redwood that are just fun to look at and take pics with!
Now that there are some tall trees my friends! 🙂 Finally something that makes Sam look short! Hahaha! This is known as the Cathedral Tree and is unique because it is made up of 9 living trees that have grown into one. Very cool! Apparently, many weddings are held in this spot so if any of you are looking for a place to wed…here is an idea for you!
Here below is the Brotherhood Tree, dedicated to the bond that is shared amongst the people of this earth. It stands 297 feet and is over 30 feet in diameter. See what I mean that pictures don’t do these giants justice!
When you reach this tree, look to your left and you will see the Sky Trail Tram system. The experience is included with your entrance fee, so make sure to take the ride to the top of the hill so you can explore a little more.
The ride was only about 10 minutes to Ted’s Ridge but it was humbling to soar above the ground but not even be close to some of the Redwood tops! At the top you can see the Klamath backcountry and to the west you can see the Pacific Ocean. The gondola is an enclosed style ride and can hold up to 6 people at a time.
Once you get off at Ted’s Ridge, you can decide to walk down the Wilderness Trail which is about a mile, or you can take the gondola back down. We decided to take the Gondola as coming down, we knew we would have a different view than going up.
Once you are at the bottom of the Kingdom of Trees trail, here is where it gets funky! 🙂 This Trail of Tall Tales is dedicated to the folklore of Paul Bunyan and his life as shown in Redwood Carvings.
I still think this one below looks like he is picking his nose! Hahaha!
So we concluded our Trees of Mystery adventure getting to see a carving of Paul Bunyan’s girlfriend….she looks very strong! 🙂
Once this stop was complete, it was time to head into Crescent City and explore what was happening there because you know…today is 4th of July and we couldn’t wait to see the fireworks show over the ocean!!
Once we got there, headed to our Air B&B, dropped off our gear and then headed out for dinner and to see where to watch the fireworks. I will post pics tomorrow of our incredible Air B&B right in the middle of the Redwoods!!
We drove about 5 miles back into Crescent City to look for one of the restaurants our host recommended. We got lucky as we found a place to park and got food and come to find out, where were parked was the best place to see this nationally known 4th of July fireworks show.
Now looking at this picture below, I can see our weariness but the day was still early and there was more fun to be had! This grille was ok as the menu was limited and they were temporarily out of the items that Sam and I could eat as vegetarians, but I am assuming that is because it was a holiday and people were everyone along the coastline claiming their spots for the firework show coming that night. So it is hard to give a fair assessment of the food given it was probably one of their busiest times of the year. Sam got a Caesar Salad and it was tasty and I got the Buffalo Blue Cheese Salad without the chicken. They also had the traditional ocean items like Fish and Chips, Calamari and Chips, etc.
What I did love about this grill is that you can rent items from here to help explore the local community and coast. The bike rentals were only $10 for a half day, boogie board rentals were $15, surfboards were $30 for the whole day and wet suits were $20 as the water was colder than it looked. Pretty cool if you have time to explore more!
We brought the camp chairs out in front of the truck but it was cold so we watched the sunset from inside the truck and got out to grab pics every few minutes. It was beautiful sight! Off in the distance you can see the protrusion from the ground and that is the lighthouse where they will be shooting the fireworks soon.
About this time, fireworks were going off all around us up and down the coastline! It was an awesome sight to see…you can tell how many were going off just by the black smoke in the sky!
And……finally at 9:45pm, after waiting for 4 hours, the show began and it was incredible!
Being able to see the reflection over the Pacific was such a great experience, one that I hope the boys will remember forever! Happy 4th of July friends! I hope everyone was safe and enjoyed being with friends and family!
Thanks again for coming along this journey with us. Happy trails and safe traveling…until next time!!
— Owl, Hi-Five and Eagle