12 days California redwoods/parks

Old Aug 1st, 2020, 01:03 PM
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12 days California redwoods/parks

Sketching out plans for a possible road and camping trip in CA in the month of June (year to be determined, based on pandemic) that would run south to north and looking for “how long to spend” advice on specific destinations.
SEKI is first stop, tentative plan is camp/hike 3-4 days there
drive north to Yosemite, stay about 5 days there
make our way west to coast and visit a few state parks south of Ft. Bragg (places like Van Damme SP, then up coast) then eventually wind up in Redwood NP. (If this is unrealistic, we could just take 101 up to Redwood but have never been to the Pacific coast.)

Focus of this trip is solely nature/hiking/big trees and we will be tent camping. We know there’s tons to see, but have to limit ourselves to what we can do in the time we have.

How would Californians or frequent CA visitors break this down, day-wise? We don’t want to feel like we’re driving constantly/rushing, but we do want to experience both SEKI and YNP as well as the Pacific coast and its redwoods.

Appreciate recommendations on any specific state parks with especially nice campgrounds.
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Old Aug 1st, 2020, 03:17 PM
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If you are up to driving in an isolated area and dirt roads, you culd take the Usal Rd (Google Usal Road CA) north of Fort Bragg to Petrolia and either conitnue along the coast to Ferndale or cut inland through the redwoods to get to CA101 and continue north to the Redwoods NP. There are unadvertised campgrounds along Usal Road. The first one is in a meadow by the sea--there is stream water that has to be boiled. Another is in the middle of the King Mountain range.

This is the road which is not easy to find:


The beach by the first campground:


The campsite in the coastal range:


End of the dirt road:


The first time we did it we did not have a 4wheel drive car and the going was at times slow in first or second gear.
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Old Aug 1st, 2020, 07:43 PM
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"SEKI is first stop, tentative plan is camp/hike 3-4 days there drive north to Yosemite, stay about 5 days there"

Well, that s 9 full days right there not counting the drive time from where you are flying in to and then driving to wherever you are flying out of. So at minimum you are talking 10 full days for travel, Seq/KC, YNP, travel. So you don't nearly have enough time to head to the parks on the NW coast. And do not fixate on Redwoods National Park -- the various California State Parks in the region are mostly superior to FAR superior for Redwoods. (The State Parks were established long before the NP and they got the best bits and the NP, while very nice, ended up with mainly the leftovers)

"We don’t want to feel like we’re driving constantly/rushing, but we do want to experience both SEKI and YNP as well as the Pacific coast and its redwoods."

Then something will have to give . . . either cut a couple of days from SEQ/KC or forget about the north coast. Where are you planning to fly in and out of?. If that is not decided yet -- I would very seriously consider flying in to anywhere in NorCal (SFO/SMF/OAK) doing the coastal redwoods, then Calaveras Big Trees (Instead of SEQ) , then Yosemite, then maybe a day/night near Carmel/Monterey and fly home from SFO.

OR if Seq NP is a must . . . Fly into LAX or Burbank, do Seq/KC, Yosemite, Henry Cowell or Big Basin State park and fly home from SFO.

If your aim is to hike and relax and not drive like crazy people from place to place -- the that is the main choice you'll have to make -- YNP and the northern parks/coast - OR - Seq/KC, YNP and a day or two on the coast around Monterey Bay/Big Sur/Henry Cowell.

If it was me (and it isn't ) - I would do the north coast Redwoods, Ferndale, Mendocino area, Calaveras Big Trees, and Yosemite


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Old Aug 2nd, 2020, 09:36 AM
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Thank you!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2020, 04:29 PM
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Remember there are Sequoias within Yosemite, or at the Calaveras Big Trees State Park near the gold rush town of Murphys. You could potentially skip SEKI altogether.
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Old Aug 5th, 2020, 10:05 AM
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Not sure my reply posted but ....I miscounted and have 15 days. Part of a longer road trip, beginning in south. So my thought was 10 days SEKI/Yosemite and 5 days on coast, but interested in how much time others might allot. Trip is trees- light-hiking-focused. Tent camping. (Light hiking: max 10 miles. Happy to just “take walks” to view trees, and sprinkle in longer hikes here and there.)
thank you.
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Old Aug 5th, 2020, 10:28 AM
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More days is definitely better I'd probably limit Seq/KC to 4 days max, but with your limited time three days would be good.

Four days max for Yosemite IF the back country/Tioga Pass is still closed during your dates. If it is still closed three full days (4 nights) would do nicely. If Tioga Pass is open by then then 4 or 5 days is great for YNP. (and you will not know until some time in probably early May what the estimated opening date is)

I'd plan on about 4 days for the north coast: A couple of days in the very far north for the major Redwood parks. Then a couple of days farther south for places like Ferndale/Avenue of the Giants/Mendocino/Ft Bragg/Little River. (you cant do all those in 2 days but most)

So with travel times - that is pretty much 15 full days.
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Old Aug 5th, 2020, 10:34 AM
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Old Aug 5th, 2020, 11:52 AM
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If the objective is to see one large grove of Sequoias, you could visit the Mariposa Grove in the southern end of Yosemite NP and skip SEKI entirely. As for Coast Redwoods, there are several places to see them south of San Francisco (Big Basin and others) without going to the Redwood NP in northern California.
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Old Aug 6th, 2020, 01:30 AM
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There is also Henry Cowell SP in the Santa Cruz Mountains for redwoods and Long Meadow/Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest for sequoias.

Nearly all trails have been incredibly crowded if they are not far from paved roads. Not sure if the National Parks are any better due to capacity controls. And who knows what next year will be like.
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