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What is the Avenue of the Giants? Explaining The Scenic Redwoods Drive

What is the Avenue of the Giants? Explaining The Scenic Redwoods Drive

Explore the Avenue of the Giants: a breathtaking 31-mile journey through ancient redwood forests in Humboldt County. Team


2 min read

October 03, 2023

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The Avenue of the Giants is not just a name; it’s an apt description for one of the most awe-inspiring drives on the planet. Tucked away in Humboldt County, this 31-mile stretch of road offers a close encounter with ancient redwood giants, some of which have been standing for over 2,000 years. A journey through this scenic drive is a poignant reminder of the grandeur of nature and the timeless wonders of our world.

History and Formation

The Avenue of the Giants was originally a segment of the U.S. Route 101, the primary north-south highway along the West Coast. However, in the 1960s, a freeway bypass was built to accommodate faster traffic and larger vehicles. The original section, now known as the Avenue of the Giants, was handed over to the state for management as a scenic route, allowing travelers to experience the majestic redwood forests at a more leisurely and appreciative pace.

The Giant Redwoods

The stars of this avenue are undoubtedly the Coast Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens). Towering up to 375 feet, these ancient trees are the tallest living things on Earth. Their imposing trunks can span over 20 feet in diameter, with the oldest ones dating back millennia. But it’s not just about size. The deep red hue of their bark, their intricate canopy, and the serene atmosphere they create are simply unmatched. As sunlight filters through the towering columns, it casts a golden hue on the forest floor, making the scene feel almost mystical.

The towering redwoods surround this gorgeous scenic drive, hence the name Avenue of the Giants.

Notable Stops Along the Route

While the drive itself is breathtaking, there are numerous points of interest where visitors can stop, explore, and soak in the beauty:

  • Founder's Grove: Home to the famous Founders Tree, which stands at 346 feet tall, this grove offers a self-guided nature trail, allowing you to meander through some of the most iconic redwoods in the region.

  • Shrine Drive-Thru Tree: One of the few remaining drive-thru trees, this spot lets you experience the thrill of driving your car through a living redwood.

  • Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center: An ideal place to learn more about the ecology, history, and preservation efforts surrounding the redwoods.

  • Eternal Tree House: A hollowed-out redwood that has been transformed into a quirky little room, showcasing the sheer size and adaptability of these trees.

The iconic Chandelier Tree is a classic attraction along this route that attracts many tourists.

The Importance of Preservation

It’s crucial to understand that while the Avenue of the Giants is a tourist attraction, it’s also a vital sanctuary for these ancient trees. Over the past centuries, extensive logging operations have dramatically reduced the redwood forests. Today, thanks to conservation efforts, areas like the Avenue of the Giants serve as protected havens ensuring that future generations can also marvel at these giants.

The Avenue of the Giants offers more than just a scenic drive. It provides a journey back in time, a chance to connect with nature, and a profound understanding of the longevity and resilience of the redwood forests. Whether you’re an avid nature enthusiast or just looking for a memorable drive, this avenue, with its towering trees and serene ambiance, promises an experience that will remain etched in your memory forever.

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