Northern California's land of wonder for young and old . . . Redwood National Park

Redwood National and State Parks - 2017

Our little giant in a true giant at Jedediah Smith State Park along California's Smith River.

Our little giant in a true giant at Jedediah Smith State Park along California's Smith River.

For those of you on our mailing list, you know we're suckers for the outdoors (remember the Can you name California's 9 National Parks postcard?). So naturally, this past 4th of July Kristi and I loaded up the kids and headed North.

Elk are to the Redwood Parks what Buffalo are to Yellowstone. Keep your eyes out around Orick and Redwood Creek for large herds. Like Buffalo, Elk are not to be approached on foot, regardless of how docile they may appear.

Elk are to the Redwood Parks what Buffalo are to Yellowstone. Keep your eyes out around Orick and Redwood Creek for large herds. Like Buffalo, Elk are not to be approached on foot, regardless of how docile they may appear.

I know Half Dome, Lake Tahoe and the Golden Gate bridge would be the popular picks for Northern California's most beloved icons but for me it's tough to beat the beauty and mystique of the coastal redwoods. In a land of ever-moving fog, intensely wet winters, and ferns big enough to hide VW beatles, the redwoods grandeur seems otherworldly.

The redwoods are an endless playground for young children.

The redwoods are an endless playground for young children.

Our kids in the Children's Grove along the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt State Park. 

Our kids in the Children's Grove along the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt State Park. 

Maybe it's the noise, or lack thereof in the heart of an old growth grove, that makes the experience so unique; walking through a 1,000 year old redwood grove is entering one of earth's greatest and quietest cathedrals.

It is a trek of winding roads, ever-present landslides and unfulfilled promises of bigfoot to make into the heart of redwood country, but a trek enjoyed by both young and old. The Avenue of Giants, Newton B. Drury Scenic Byway and Howland Hill Road are some of the National Parks most rewarding drives for those who prefer to stay in their vehicles. And for the kids who want to run, climb, jump and roll, the redwoods soft moist soil is the perfect playground. 

Our son exploring Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek State Park.

Our son exploring Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek State Park.

Deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Fern Canyon.

Deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Fern Canyon.

Springs and small waterfalls line the fern covered hillsides, cliffs and gullys of the northern sections of the Redwood Parks.

Springs and small waterfalls line the fern covered hillsides, cliffs and gullys of the northern sections of the Redwood Parks.

In 1994, the California State Parks and National Parks joined together in management of the North Coast Redwoods creating a patchwork of parks that extend from around Willits to the Oregon border. The National Parks website https://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm and the Save the Redwoods League https://www.savetheredwoods.org/redwoods/coast-redwoods/ have excellent information and maps to help plan your trip. Poison Oak is present in the southern parks and as you move inland up north but is for the most part easily detectable and avoidable. 

Return of the Jedi, E.T., and the upcoming A Wrinkle In Time were all shot in Northern California's picturesque redwoods.

Return of the Jedi, E.T., and the upcoming A Wrinkle In Time were all shot in Northern California's picturesque redwoods.

Often what's at your feet is as impressive as what's above your head when in the redwoods.

Often what's at your feet is as impressive as what's above your head when in the redwoods.

You only need to spend a day or two in the redwoods to find your own favorite spot but some of the must sees that everyone heading to a National Park seems to ask about are Avenue of the Giants and the giant trees of the Bull Creek drainage in the South; Fern Canyon (must see of the must sees) and Lady Bird Johnson Grove in the National Park proper; and Howland Hill Drive and Stout Grove (considered most photogenic) around Crescent City. But to only go the popular places when you're in the redwoods would be missing the mystique of the redwoods all together. There are dozens and dozens of dedicated groves along the 101 and pulling off the highway for a mile or two hike into a deserted grove is as good as it gets.

This enormous hallow stump sunk 5 feet into the ground and was only a few feet off the Avenue of the Giants.

This enormous hallow stump sunk 5 feet into the ground and was only a few feet off the Avenue of the Giants.

On our first afternoon we stopped at Humboldt State Redwoods Park and completed the short two mile hike to the Children's Grove, which led to a host of wonderful questions from the kids about why it was called the children's grove, and had the place entirely to ourselves. 

Known as "goosepens" large cavities are formed from fires in living redwood trees and make for some of the greatest hiding spots I've ever seen.

Known as "goosepens" large cavities are formed from fires in living redwood trees and make for some of the greatest hiding spots I've ever seen.

For the vast majority of National Parks Like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, the views are of grandiose vistas, far-off canyons and cascading waterfalls or beautiful mountain peaks. The redwoods are in a space all their own. The canopy shrinks the sky and the quick rising hillsides block the horizon; it is not what is in the far-off distance but what is right in front of you, what is at your feet and directly above you that is both humbling and inspiring.

Even a short walk in the redwoods leaves you with lasting memories.

Even a short walk in the redwoods leaves you with lasting memories.

An enormous uprooted trunk along the Simpson Reed Trail in Jedediah Smith State Park.

An enormous uprooted trunk along the Simpson Reed Trail in Jedediah Smith State Park.

Northern California, and a tiny, tiny bit of Oregon are the only places in the world where redwoods still exist. They are a Northern California treasure that have been waiting for you to visit for over a 1,000 years. Everyone here at Point Equity encourages you to go and enjoy this wonderful Northern California treasure.

You can run, jump and play in the redwoods to your heart's delight.

You can run, jump and play in the redwoods to your heart's delight.

Justin Coupe is co-owner of Point Equity Residential Lending, a husband and proud father of two. In his spare time he enjoys laughing hysterically alongside his father while they try to fly fish out of a dinghy that is way too small for two full grown men.