Get your bearings in the park with the easy 0.6-mile Founder’s Grove Nature Loop, which begins at mile marker 20.5 on the Avenue of the Giants. The relatively flat trail meanders around old-growth trees to the Dyerville Giant, which once was as tall as the Statue of Liberty. The tree fell in 1991 at about 1,600 years old and the impact was recorded on local seismographs. Today visitors can walk the entire length of the tree.
For a more challenging tromp, hit the 7-mile River Trail, a moderate hike that follows the South Fork of the Eel River up from Mattole Road, about a mile west of the Avenue. This trail passes through some dense groves of old-growth redwoods. It also comprises some water crossings, so check with the visitors center to make sure rangers have installed the footbridges before you head out.
One of the most difficult hikes in the park is the nearly 14-mile round-trip to Grasshopper Peak, which offers spectacular panoramic views of the entire region. To get there, use the Grasshopper Multiuse Trailhead off Mattole Road, and climb more than 3,000 feet to the top. Another option from this trailhead is the 10.5-mile Johnson Camp Trail, which climbs past the abandoned cabins of railroad tie makers who lived and worked in the woods about a century ago.
Where to Camp
Camping at Humboldt Redwoods State Park is plentiful, with three developed, car-accessible campgrounds ($35) that comprise 250 sites overall. Reservations are strongly recommended, as sites sell out regularly on summer weekends.
Perhaps the most popular of the options is Burlington, which is adjacent to the visitors center. The campground is surrounded by old-growth trees, and its restrooms boast the Holy Grail of camping amenities: hot showers. It’s the only park campground open in winter. Other options include the campground at Hidden Springs, which is the park’s largest campground and is open Memorial Day through Labor Day; and the one at Albee Creek off Mattole Road. This third campground is the smallest of the trio but has sites in a meadow. It is open from May through October.