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Avenue of the Giants: The Redwoods Road Trip You Need to Take

Avenue of the Giants: The Redwoods Road Trip You Need to Take

By California.com
January 29, 2021

As California mitigates health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, some travel restrictions may remain in certain communities. Call the local and regional tourism offices to learn more about the restrictions in your intended destination. Thank you for reading, and stay safe.

There are certain things we feel like we just have to witness at least once. It could be an orange and fuchsia California beach sunset or something as simple as a clear night sky dotted with stars. For many of us, it is seeing a mysterious natural wonder, and the Avenue of the Giants is exactly that—something so beautiful you have to see it to believe it. The towering redwood trees encompassing the highway will take your breath away as you traverse the winding route running through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. So, prepare to be enchanted as you check this scenic one-day drive off your bucket list.

Everything you need to know about Avenue of the Giants

The Avenue of the Giants was an integral part of Highway 101 before a freeway bypass was constructed in 1960. After that, the road was given a new designation: State Route 254. However, the history of this majestic 31-mile drive goes way back. 

Although it is hard to believe, the one and only Avenue of the Giants was almost demolished during the early 20th century. Luckily, three men road tripping around the area saw the destruction in its early stages and formed the Save the Redwoods League, which aimed to turn the area into a state park. Long story short, it worked, and now we can still enjoy the beautiful Northern California road and its surrounding park today.

Follow the twists and turns of State Route 254 to marvel at the massive redwood trees lining the roadway.

Avenue of the Giants weather

The weather around Avenue of the Giants is generally moderate. The winter months are usually colder, with the temperatures dipping as low as 43°F and reaching up to 70°F. The temperatures are milder throughout the rest of the year. It almost never snows here, but rain is a common occurrence during the winter. The hottest months to visit are in July and August, when you can expect lows of 54°F, highs of 81°F, and significantly less precipitation.

Dress in layers, and be prepared for relatively quick changes in temperature. If you plan on camping near the Avenue of Giants, pack winter clothes because it gets quite cold in the evenings. 

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Avenue of the Giants directions

As you cruise around turns that lead to increasingly better views of the trees, you realize that the drive itself is one of the best parts of the trip. You can start your Avenue of the Giants journey from either end of the routeat Phillipsville in the south or Pepperwood in the north. Upon entering from Pepperwood, be on the lookout for a map on the right-hand side of the road with Avenue of the Giants directions.

If you’re driving up from the big cities in NorCal, expect a two- to four-hour drive until you begin seeing the tall Avenue of the Giants redwoods greeting you along the road. The drive from San Francisco (211 miles) and Sacramento (229 miles) takes roughly four hours, while the drive from Crescent City lasts about two and a half hours (145 miles).


Avenue of the Giants Hikes

Get out and stretch your legs during your trip on Avenue of the Giants. Trust us, you'll want to see these ancient trees up-close.

Founders Grove Nature Trail

Round-trip length: 0.5 miles

Level of difficulty: Easy

Route: Loop

Driving through the Avenue of the Giants without stopping to see Founders Grove would be a crime. This super-short Avenue of the Giants trail is not much of a hike, but rather a leisurely stroll with a worthwhile endpoint. Prepare to be amazed by the size of the massive fallen redwoods at the grove, and don’t forget to check out the Founders Tree—one of the world’s tallest trees—while you’re there.

Hidden Springs Trail

Round-trip length: 3.9 miles

Level of difficulty: Moderate

Route: Out and back

This lightly trafficked Avenue of the Giants hiking trail is located near Myers Flat and features cool vista points, giant trees, and the South Fork Eel River. If you’re camping at the Hidden Springs Campground, you’ll be able to access the trail right where you are. Note that there are some elevation gains along the hike, and the trail is not paved, so it can get quite muddy if it has rained recently; wearing proper hiking shoes is recommended.

Grasshopper Mountain Trail

Round-trip length: 12.1 miles

Level of difficulty: Challenging

Route: Out and back

If you’re looking for a more difficult Avenue of the Giants hike—this is it. The Grasshopper Mountain Trail is a fun, challenging hike with uninterrupted views of the forest-covered mountains. If you’re up for it, you can complete the entirety of the trail in one day. But it is also entirely possible to dedicate several days to this hike, as there are a few camping spots along the way.


Things to See on the Avenue of the Giants Drive

Always wanted to drive through a redwood tree? Head to the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree to cross that item off your bucket list.

Avenue of the Giants Drive-Through Tree

There are three drive-thru trees along the highway. However, the one closest to the Avenue of the Giants is the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree. The main drive-thru tree in Leggett is free of charge, but access to the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree (about 10 miles into the journey) costs $10. There are numerous other attractions nearby, including a walk-thru tree for small children, picnic tables, and a souvenir shop.

Eternal Tree House

The Eternal Tree House gives off major Lord of the Rings vibes. Carved inside of a massive redwood, this treehouse is a cool little place to explore along your Avenue of the Giants drive. Get a quick bite to eat from the adjacent restaurant before you hit the road again, and don’t forget to leave your mark by signing the guest book inside the treehouse.


Avenue of the Giants Lodging

Pack up the car and hit the road to experience the majestic Avenue of the Giants. Make an entire weekend out of it by staying at these top spots.

Hidden Springs Campground

Location: 17119 Avenue of the Giants, Weott

Situated just south of the visitor’s center on the Avenue of the Giants, Hidden Springs is the largest campground in the area, offering 156 campsites. The location of this Avenue of the Giants camping spot affords campers plenty of privacy, activity options, and an immersive experience cut off from the rest of the world. You can enjoy biking, hiking, paddling, swimming, and more at this off-the-beaten-path Avenue of the Giants destination.

Miranda Gardens Resort

Location: 6766 Avenue of the Giants, Miranda 

Another Avenue of the Giants lodging option located right along the route is Miranda Gardens Resort, which offers cozy cottages nestled in the heart of the redwood-laden park. Family-owned and -operated since 1929, this Avenue of the Giants hotel will make you feel right at home under the towering redwood trees. Whether you’re embarking on a solo road trip or planning a winter family vacation, this Avenue of the Giants resort is a great place to lay your head at night.

The Redwood Riverwalk Hotel

Location: 1859 Alamar Way, Fortuna

The Redwood Riverwalk Hotel is an independently owned Avenue of the Giants hotel not far from the highway. The central location of this boutique hotel serves as an ideal base camp to visit the nearby California state parks and enjoy recreational activities in the great outdoors. The hotel boasts an indoor pool, complimentary breakfast (in-room or to-go), free parking, free Wi-Fi, and exceptional hospitality.

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