Planning Your Time

Redwood in One Day

From Crescent City head south on U.S. 101. A mile south of Klamath, detour onto the 8-mile-long, narrow, and mostly unpaved Coastal Drive loop. Along the way, you'll pass the old Douglas Memorial Bridge, destroyed in the 1964 flood. Coastal Drive turns south above Flint Ridge. In less than a mile you'll reach the World War II Radar Station, which looks like a farmhouse, its disguise in the 1940s. Continue south to the intersection with Alder Camp Road, stopping at the High Bluff Overlook.

From the Coastal Drive turn left to reconnect with U.S. 101. Head south to reach Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, a 10-mile drive through an old-growth redwood forest with access to numerous trailheads. This road is open to all noncommercial vehicles. Along the way, stop at Prairie Creek Visitor Center, housed in a small redwood lodge. Enjoy a picnic lunch and an engaging tactile walk in a grove behind the lodge on the Revelation Trail, which was designed for vision-impaired visitors. Back on the parkway head north less than a mile and drive out on unpaved Cal-Barrel Road, which leads east through redwood forests. Return to the parkway, continue south about 2 miles to reconnect with U.S. 101, and turn west on mostly unpaved Davison Road (motor homes/RVs and trailers are prohibited). In about 30 minutes you'll curve right to Gold Bluffs Beach. Continue north to the Fern Canyon trailhead. Return to U.S. 101, and drive south to the turnoff for the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center. Pick up a free permit—a limited number are granted daily—to visit the Tall Trees Grove and head north on U.S. 101 to the turnoff for Bald Hills Road, a steep route (motor homes/RVs and trailers are not advised). If you visit the grove, allow at least four hours round-trip from the Kuchel Visitor Center. You could also bypass the turnoff to the grove and continue south on Bald Hills Road to 3,097-foot Schoolhouse Peak. For a simpler jaunt, turn onto Bald Hills Road and follow it for 2 miles to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Loop Trail. Take the footbridge to the easy 1-mile loop, which follows an old logging road through a mature redwood forest. Motor homes/RVs and trailers are not allowed on Coastal Drive, Cal-Barrel Road, and Davison Road, and are not advised on Bald Hills Road. Conditions on these roads can sometimes lead to closures or the requirement of high-clearance vehicles—check with the visitor centers before you set out.

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