Redwood National Park An Absolute Once In A Lifetime Must See

We’ve all seen the iconic picture of the tunnel cut through the trunk of a tree, and we’ve all heard the phrase pictures don’t do it justice. Redwood National Park is one of those places where that phrase couldn’t be any more true.

To say the size of these trees is unbelievable would be an understatement.

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One of our rules for our road trips is that you can’t check the state off unless you’ve done something or visited somewhere. None of us had too much interest in California, don’t take it personal if you live there, we are just more “mid west” than “west coast” even though we live on the “east coast”.

Our son has always said he wanted to see the tree you could drive through, so on our way out of Oregon we headed towards the Redwood National Forest. We had heard our rig may not fit through the park, so we stopped at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Visitor Center in Crescent City California to see if we could get some better information.

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In talking to the Ranger he said our 31 foot towing our Camry would be fine going through the park, but we may be too big to stop at any of the pull offs to take pictures as the park gets quite crowded at times. But “Don’t worry” he said as he was unfolding a map he gave to us, “There’s another visitor center here, and there is plenty of room for you to park out front and there are some giants right behind it to get some pictures”

As we were getting closer to the park interior there was a noticeable change in the size of the tree trunks approaching the park. I can’t recall who, but Loretta or Jayden said “I guess we are in the right spot now, look at the size of that tree”.

It brought a giddy sense of child like amusement to all of us to see it for reasons we can’t explain. A smile began to form on all of our faces as we looked out the front window of the RV seeing a tree who’s trunk was as wide as a dining room chair. Little did we know we hadn’t seen anything yet.

Redwood National Park
Jayden can’t even see the top of the trees

The road does have some twists and turns, and would be one hell of a pleasure cruise on a motorcycle, but keep your eyes open in an RV as some of the trees are literally on the white line on the passenger side of the road. There is even one tree that is notched out as you go around a bend, and if it weren’t I would guarantee that I would have caught the awning and ripped it off the side of our rig, so while you are cruising through the park, don’t forget to keep your vehicle size on the top of your mind.

So it turns out we got really lucky because we were traveling the week of Christmas, so there wasn’t much traffic in the park and we were able to pull off at most of the spots and see the trees up close.

Redwood National Park
Loretta taking a picture of Jayden inside one of the Giant Redwoods that has hollowed out over time. Our dining room table would fit inside it with everyone around the table.

I can not even begin to explain just how big these trees are, but I am going to give it my best shot. I would say close your eyes and imagine, but then you wouldn’t be able to read the details, so maybe have someone read the next few paragraphs too you.

When you get in to the area with the big trees, I mean trees that couldn’t possibly really be THAT big, and decide to pull off so you can see it up close, you can feel the forest. You can feel its age. You can hear the trees whispering to each other. You can feel the ever lasting vitality of mother nature and how insignificant we all are in the grand scheme of things. It is this moment that you can feel the redwoods touch your heart and make you fall in love with nature all over again.

You can smell the history of the forest on the light wisps of air that flow through the ferns that look like mere blades of grass at the base of the trees. It feels as though you have stepped back in time, and the longer you stand in wide eyed amazement the farther back you go. First a few centuries as if you were one of the knights in King Arthur’s court. Then farther still to when man first discovered fire. And finally as far back as when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. My god if, the trees could only speak the stories you could hear, for they surely have seen it all.

Among the giants in Redwood National Park
Jayden standing among the giants

As you stand among the giants you almost feel as though they will begin speaking any moment. It feels like the magical forest you have seen in any movie where the trees have been around since the dawn of time and know all that has been and all that will ever be and are just waiting for the chosen one to arrive so they can foretell their destiny.

Ok, now open your eyes and look at the size of this damn tree!

huge trees in Redwood National Park
This tree is 15 to 20 feet wide. There is a “normal size” tree laying in front of us.

Did you feel it? The urge to go see how big some trees are? I don’t know how else to describe it to you that you will add this destination to your road trip list other than to leave you with one last picture…

Remember that second visitor center they told us about? We are parked in front of it now for this picture

Do you see the trees that look like tall bushes behind our car? Those are “normal” sized trees. The ones that are towering 3 times higher are why you’re coming here. We always say the best stops are the ones where a picture can never capture what we have seen. This is one of those places.

There are no pictures we could have taken that could have captured it perfectly, but we tried to get some that would provide at least some visual reference for you to see. And something we learned once we were here regarding that iconic picture with the tunnel through the tree. That tree fell in 1969 after a storm because it wasn’t strong enough to stand up to the storm due to the tunnel. There are 2 other trees you can drive through to get the photo, but they are on private property and charge an entrance fee.

Read about our trip to Yellowstone here.

Check out our trip to Teddy Roosevelt National Park here.

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