Redwoods are known as the tallest trees on earth and being able to hike through them is an amazing, awe-inspiring, humbling, magical experience. The Redwoods in California are managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and California State Parks. We had been to several of the parks to the south, but this was our first trip to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It contains seven percent of all the old-growth redwoods left in the world within its 10,000 acres.
Jedediah Smith has some trees of truly stupendous size - perhaps not quite as tall as the redwoods to the south, but bigger in diameter. Somewhere in the park is the largest coastal redwood by volume, a tree that's exceeded in size, and not by much, by only seven giant sequoias. The tree's location is secret so that it can be protected from damage. In fact, a large part of the park is undeveloped with few trails and it will probably stay that way. With the increasing emphasis on conservation, parks have generally been moving trails and other facilities away from the old-growth redwoods. We understand and agree with that philosophy and were delighted to be able to hike the existing trails.
We began our day with a drive up Howland Hill Road, which passes through the center of the park. It's known as one of the best redwood drives anywhere. The road is narrow enough that we had to pull over if a car was coming the other way, but that just made the experience better.
Cut into a hillside, the road provides some nice views of lush vegetation and towering trees.
We hiked the Boy Scout Tree Trail and the Stout Grove Trail which have trailheads along Howland Hill Road. I can't even put into words what it's like to be in this giant redwood forest.
We tried to include one of us in each of our photos so that there would be some sense of perspective as to how huge these trees are. Looking at the photos, I realize that it was a good idea but there's really no way to show what being in the Redwoods feels like.
The other Redwood National and State Parks include Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, and Redwood National Park. Together they are a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, protecting 45 percent of California’s remaining old-growth redwoods—an area almost four times the size of Manhattan.
An organization called 'Save the Redwoods League', established in 1918, the has protected nearly 200,000 acres of forest and helped create 66 redwood parks and preserves. Their informative website can be found at https://www.savetheredwoods.org/