When Mike and I were talking about some places in Cali we wanted to visit, we each had our heart set on very different Cali destinations.
I wanted to visit Yosemite and “glamp” (blog post here)
Mike wanted to visit the Redwood National and State Parks.
The catch? They are 9 hours apart by car.
As New Yorkers, we don’t spend that much time in the car anyway, so we figured we would just do it and stop in Napa Valley on the way for lunch to break up the drive. On our drive up from Napa Valley to Trinidad, we drove through some of the most interesting towns, past Big Foot memorabilia stores, through the mountains, and for hours through all differing landscapes.
A few days in Humboldt County, CA
We stayed in Trinidad Bay (1) and Day 1: drove up North to Lady Bird Johnson Grove (2) and Fern Canyon (3) (amazing and the highlight for me!) and Day 2: Drove South through the Avenue of the Giants (4), stopping at some of the Groves along the way. It was really easy, very beautiful and I highly recommend it all.
We arrived late on a Sunday evening and stayed at a cute B&B, Trinidad Bay Bed & Breakfast, which felt very Cape Cod. It was located right on the water, and the cooler temperatures were a refreshing change to the heat we experienced in Yosemite. Throughout the day, the view would change from high fog and low visibility, to a beautiful summer day.
Trinidad is a tiny, tiny town of 311 people! We ate some amazing food here, as this town is all about eating local (they would tell us the name of the fisherman who caught our fish). We loved the Beachcomber Cafe, Trinidad Bay Eatery and the Larrupin Cafe (where I had the best salmon of my life!). I highly recommend all of these places.
Lady Bird Johnson Grove
LBJG is an easy 1 mile trail , 30 mins north of Trinidad, and was really lush and beautiful. It is an “upland” redwood environment that sits on top of a ridge in Redwood National Park and because of its elevation (1200ft) it’s sometimes in the clouds and gets a lot of fog, which was really cool. You walk through ancient redwood trees that are nearly 400ft tall, surrounded by lush ferns and other plans on the ground. I highly recommend this trail because it is easy (which was important after our more strenuous hikes in the heat of Yosemite) and its absolutely stunning.
30 minutes further north of LBJ Grove is Fern Canyon, which was my personal favorite. It is a narrow canyon where the walls of the canyon are covered in lush green ferns and moss, with little waterfalls all along the way. Fern Canyon is one of the locations where Jurassic Park 2 was filmed.
Fern Canyon was easy to find and the entrance to the state park (Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park) that contains it was only $8 per car, each day.
On our drive back south to San Francisco airport to fly back to NYC, we stopped for awesome lunch and coffee in Arcata (“hippie heaven”, lovers of organic and local, with a population of 17,000+) and continued to drive south via the Avenue of the Giants, the scenic 31-mile Northern California highway, stopping to explore some of the groves (and bigfoot stores) along the way.
My thoughts, visit Northern California!