From park website:
Redwoods State Park. September and October offer some of the best weather in Humboldt County. Come enjoy the fall colors, take a leisurely stroll or a strenuous hike, drive the Avenue of the Giants or stop by our visitor center and have some coffee on the porch.
Park map located at http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24250
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is the third largest California State Park, encompassing nearly 53,000 acres – of which more than 17,000 are old-growth coast redwoods. The environment found within the park is unique to anywhere else on earth. The trees are indescribable and being surrounded by them … well, that’s just something I hope each of you has a chance to do someday.
If you only have one day to explore Humboldt Redwoods State Park (as was the case for us), don’t panic. To make the most of it:
• Take an auto tour along the Avenue of the Giants (the scenic route through the park), which features eight stops along the 32-mile route
• Stop in at the Visitor Center
• Hit the trails – there are more than 100 miles of them in the park
• Take advantage of an interpretive program such as a nature walk, junior ranger program, campfire programs & more (usually limited to the summer months)
• Humboldt Redwoods State Park is open year-round. The Visitor Center is open every day except Thanksgiving & Christmas: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., April through October, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through March
• Humboldt Redwoods State Park does not charge an entrance fee & there is no admission fee for the Visitor Center
• Pick up a brochure for the auto tour of the Avenue of the Giants at the north & south ends of the Avenue or at the Visitor Center
• There are small general stores with snacks & supplies located in several small towns within the park
• Camping fees vary from $20/night at environmental camps to $35/night at family campgrounds (additional day-use fees may apply)
Papa introduced us to the Weott Visitors Center, home of a redwood museum. If you want to learn about the history of the redwoods and the logging industry this is a must stop. It features a small gift shop, wildlife display, hands on activities for the older kids and movie videos for the adults. Everyone can touch the animal pelts and play the guessing games. Located in the middle of the Avenue of the Giants it looks like a fantantic place to camp.
Everyone's heard of the redwood forests, but you haven't really experienced them until you visit with kids. The Avenue of the Giants was a relatively short stop for us on our way from the SF Bay Area up to Smith River, near the Oregon Coast. The park is very sprawling and very civilized, with several pull-offs and picnic areas that lead to short hikes through the forest. Within a mile, you can see many of the gigantic trees.
Because that drive up the Coast is relatively long, a stop in the redwoods is a nice diversion. The kids can run around, climb, and stretch their legs. The trails are very easy to navigate and lead to a variety of accessible "destination" trees. In addition, there are rivers that criss-cross the area. When we were visiting, there was an algae bloom and signs warning not to swim or drink the water from the rivers. There are a variety of visitor stops that provide educational information about the history of the giant redwood forest, its logging and tourist past, and the great floods of '55 and '64.
There's not a lot of old-growth redwoods left in California, and this is one of the best places to see them. If you've got small kids, the Founder's Loop (about two-thirds of a mile) is a good trail. It starts at the Founder's Tree, one of the largest in the park, and there are interpretive stations that correspond to a guide you pick up at the start of the trail.
The largest and one of the least visited state parks, in part because it encompasses several small towns, the park is divided by the highway and has no main entrance. Most visitors do not realize that most of the park lies to the west and is reached by leaving the Avenue of the Giants and taking Mattole Road.
Not to be missed is the Rockefeller Forest in the Big Trees area, a 5-mile drive in on Mattole-Honeydew Road. Since the former champion sequoia Dyerville Giant, 362 inches in diameter, fell in rain-saturated ground in spring 1991, the new champ is a 363-inches-in-diameter behemoth in the Rockefeller Forest. Tiptoeing along boardwalks and spongy pathways in the damp, cool stillness at the foot of these magical giants, you’ll hear only the bustle of chipmunks. A short trail leads to a sandy riverbank for sunbathing, wading, picnicking, and fishing.
A hundred miles of trails in the park are frequented by hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Meanderings will turn up old homesteaders’
cabins and several campgrounds, some for RVs and others consisting of simple sites in the backcountry. Apple blossoms bloom in orchards planted by early settlers. In fall big-leaf maples, alders, and buckeyes turn red and gold. Sighted in the farthest reaches of the park are bobcats, black-tailed deer, foxes, ring-tailed cats, and even black bears.
Having survived eons of ice ages and climate changes, only fragments of the original redwood forests now survive their greatest threat—logging companies. From the late nineteenth century to today, the virgin stands have been largely decimated, primarily by clear-cutting, which destroys not only the trees but many of the creeks, rivers, and hillsides as well as wildlife habitats.
Established in 1918 for the purpose of rescuing the Eel River Valley from the lumbermen, the Save-the-Redwoods League is credited with the establishment of the California parks that shelter most of the oldgrowth
redwoods remaining in the world.
At the visitor center are a museum and exhibits, a native plant garden, a slide show, and a bookstore. Guided walks and talks are available.