Northern California State Forests
March 22, 2004 9:35 AM   Subscribe

Northern California State Forests...I'm considering a drive from Seattle to there in a couple weeks with my four-legged companion. [More inside...]

I really had my heart set on Sequoia but time and distance aren't going to work out for me. Will I be disappointed? Are these Forests great places to check out? I really like to drive through for the scenery, so good roads and views are paramount. Also, I notice that this area has several parks, they are Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and Redwood National Park. Should I spend more time at one or the other? Ignore any of them altogether? Anything else in the neighborhood I should try to see? I will have about three days in the area. Thank you everyone.
posted by vito90 to Travel & Transportation around California (5 answers total)
Patrick's Point is a little further south, but also worth checking out. It seems that the area you're describing is actually fairly small, so I wouldn't really worry about budgeting your time too much -- they're all good, and I don't think you'll really miss anything if you decide to spend more time in one place instead of another.

One warning: A couple times when I've gone through the area, the campsites at the state parks have been full. I think Prairie Creek fills up pretty quick (there's a local herd of elk that makes it a popular attraction).
posted by LionIndex at 10:00 AM on March 22, 2004

I went there this past Fall and was disappointed. There are not many good roads and vistas most of it is shut-off from vehicular traffic you really need to hoof it on foot. There is one very cool road through Jedediah Smith that is the original 19th C road and still a dirt road winding through the redwoods. The whole area feels very closed off I spent 3 hours trying to find a place to car camp (away from official campsites) and everything is gated off and highly regulated and ended up staying at "Trees Motel" which is a tourist trap. I could not find one forest road or off the beaten track way to explore the park via car. It feels like the whole park is underfunded much of the infrastructure is falling apart or simply not open. It was one of the worst NPs I've ever been too sadly but I was only there 24hrs and didnt have time to explore more. I also found the locals to not be that pleasant, again perhaps bad luck but it seemed to match everything else I saw: a sense of closeing off from the outside world. It may be an extreme form of environmentalism, or economic depression, or both I dunno.
posted by stbalbach at 11:39 PM on March 22, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks, I appreciate the input. I might need to reevaluate the destination...
posted by vito90 at 5:50 AM on March 23, 2004

Well, it ain't all bad, vito. But really, it's basically a narrow strip of land adjacent to highway 101, without much room on either side for exploration. It's gorgeous to drive through, but is a little tourist trappy (drive-thru trees and the like), and there's not a whole lot to do by the side of the road. And it's not like they don't have big pine trees and fog/mist around Seattle, right?

Sequoia National Park is a whole different thing--I think the main attractions there for most people are the mountains, not the trees.
posted by LionIndex at 7:51 AM on March 23, 2004

Response by poster: Just thought I'd give this an update since A) it's not a closed thread yet, and B) I just got back from the drive, and C) somebody might find it in a search and wonder how it was. I went for a three day drive through this area and hit both extremes. I ran into several problems with closed roads and a very frustrating lack of signage letting me know. I had to backtrack over two hours after entering the Siskiyou National Forest because the only road in or out ended abruptly. At Jebediah Forest, there was not a single ranger or employee to be found to give me any tips on what roads or trails to take for maximum viewing. The highlight was about a 30 mile drive through the "Avenue of the Giants", about 30 minutes south of Eureka, CA. That was spectacular scenery amongst the Redwoods, including the "drive through tree". All in all, it was a pretty marginal drive, but YMMV.
posted by vito90 at 8:45 AM on April 22, 2004

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