Roadtripping: Oregon and Redwood National Park
For the longest time I have dreamed of exploring the Oregon coast and Redwood National Park in Northern California. This past weekend, we made a quick trip, but were sure to get in every ounce of adventure we could in the short amount of time we had. We were also able to get in a precious visit with one of my longest and closest friends who just had a baby. Below are some of the highlights from our trip. I can’t wait to go back!
Friday, May 4, 2018
We left Lake Tahoe at 8:00 am and headed North on Hwy 395 toward Susanville. Our destination today was Eugene, OR. There are many different ways that you can get here, but we opted for the more scenic route that passes by Mt. Lassen, McArthur-Burney Falls, Mt. Shasta, and then takes you to I-5. The drive was beautiful and we made note of several campsites along the way that we’ll make sure to check out next time. One of those was McArthur-Burney Falls. It is a beautiful area, has an impressive waterfall, and Lake Britton to explore. There were also probably at least 120 campsites here, with the option to rent cabins if that is more your style.
We made it to Eugene about 5:00, had dinner with my friend, then Brian and I went out for a few drinks. One place I would definitely recommend is the Bier Stein. It is a beer lover’s paradise and they have everything you could image from sours to DIPAs to PBR. Make sure to check it out if you are ever in Eugene. There is also a Voodoo Doughnut that is open 24 hours just down the street. Dreams do come true!
Saturday, May 5, 2018
After a nice brunch at my friend’s house and more baby time (there is never enough baby time!), we left Eugene at about noon and headed for the Oregon coast. Once again, we opted for the more scenic route along SR 126 to Florence. From here, we traveled down the 101, stopping in Coos Bay for lunch at a local brewery, 7 Devils. They had great food (I got a barley bowl with roasted asparagus, cauliflower, and manchego cheese), and a local band of old timers playing everything from the banjo to the harmonica to a homemade bass.
Next on our itinerary was the Southern most city in Oregon on the coast, Brookings. This was a cute little town, has some amazing beaches, and is only a few minutes north of the Redwoods. We got to our room at the Westward Inn about 6:00 and then headed to a place right across the street from our hotel, Vista Pub. They had a decent draft selection and pretty good food (their garlic jack cheese curds were amazing!). They also had some really knowledgeable locals that we struck up a conversation with to get some insider tips on where to find the biggest redwoods around. That led us to our adventure the next day…
Sunday, May 6, 2018
We woke up around 8:00 and couldn’t leave the Oregon coast without first exploring the beach. We headed to Harris Beach SP and wandered around on the beach checking out the tide pools lined with sea anemones and starfish. This beautiful stretch of beach has some amazing rock formations and all sorts of things to explore. This would be another great place to camp that we can’t wait to come back to.
After the beach, we set South on the 101 toward a grove of redwoods in Jedediah Smith SP that all the locals told us was a must, even though they had reservations about giving up their prime location. If you’re ever in the area, Google Stout Grove. The drive to get here is absolutely beautiful, off the beaten path (you’ll actually follow a dirt road to the parking area which fits maybe 20 cars), and there are no entrance fees. There are a couple of hiking options, one mile through the grove and a few spurs that go along the river. Either way, you’re likely to pass by the largest tree that I have ever seen, which is 17 feet in diameter! It is absolutely jaw-dropping.
After we moseyed through the grove and took copious amounts of pictures, we headed to the next spot on our list, Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods SP. The drive to get here was equally as beautiful as the drive to Stout Grove and leads you to the ocean with gorgeous views of the coast. It was $8 to enter here, or free if you have a National Parks pass, and there is a lot to do and see. One thing at the top of our list next time, is to camp on the beach at Prairie Creek campground. We also can’t wait to go back to Fern Canyon.
Walking through Fern Canyon was like nothing I have ever experienced. It’s a little less than a mile from the trailhead to the canyon and you will know when you get there. The walls must be 20-40 feet high and are lined with ferns and some of the most dense greenery I have seen. There is a creek you follow the entire way and lots of opportunities to get your shoes wet. I was wearing waterproof hiking boots (that turned out to be not so waterproof), and will probably opt for sport sandals next time. Either way, Fern Canyon is a must if you are ever in the area.
From here, we headed to Eureka for our last night of the trip. Eureka was a quaint town, but I gotta tell you, Sundays are completely dead. The whole downtown area with cute shops and restaurants was all closed. We still managed to have a fun evening with a little bar hopping starting a Lost Coast Brewery and then going to Humboldt Provisions, the Shanty, Vista Del Mar, and Steve and Dave’s. You could probably skip the last two, but the other three were pretty fun.
Monday, May 7, 2018
The day we always dread, the day we come home. We left the hotel at 6:00 am and hit the road to make it back in time for Brian to be at work by 2:15. Of course, we opted for the pretty and slightly slower route, which lead us through some beautiful country. Although we made it back with only 15 minutes to spare for Brian to be at work, it was worth every second.
I am already daydreaming of our next trip to Oregon and the Redwoods. It is an amazing area, and seeing a longtime friend along the way, is always a bonus. Have you ever been to the area? What was your favorite thing to do?