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Charlie Harley, #14153

Parks with “big trees”? California to Washington?

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 My wife and I are planning our next vacation to the pacific northwest and would like to go to parks that have big trees. Sequoias, redwoods, large fir trees, you get the picture. 

 

Olympic National Park is definitely on the list. Muir Woods is also a possibility if we venture that far south. 

 

We see a few interesting California state parks, but know almost nothing about Oregon. 

 

For those who live out there or who have visited, what might you recommend?

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Highway 1 along the coast in Northern Calif takes you through the redwood national forest. Also just a beautiful drive, not for RV's though. Sequoia National park, Kings Canyon NP and Yosemite NP  is known for its redwoods. These 3 are next to each other.

Ike

 

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What Irish Ike said. 
 

This link can help you with locating Redwoods and Sequoias along the coast of California. 
https://www.tripsavvy.com/redwood-forests-in-california-1478739

 

Here is a couple of links for areas of interest in Oregon. 
https://traveloregon.com/things-to-do/destinations/parks-forests-wildlife-areas/oregon-redwoods/

 

https://thatoregonlife.com/2019/08/redwoods-of-oregon/
 

If you want a very scenic and wonderful drive hit highway 1 anywhere along the west coast. Lots of beautiful scenery and places to visit. 

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Hi Charley,

 

I agree with Ike about those parks. If you have an RV or trailer, take 101. It is a beautiful drive. Just don't speed near Leggett. The CHPs are very active there.

 

HWY 49 is also scenic.

 

Regards,

 

Allie

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1 hour ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

Highway 1 along the coast in Northern Calif takes you through the redwood national forest. Also just a beautiful drive, not for RV's though.

 

What Ike  said, plus if you go up hwy 1  Fort Ross is an old Russian fort that is from the early 1800 and very very well preserved we worth the time to check out

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What everyone else said.

For some details:
http://avenueofthegiants.net/view-map/

https://www.visitcalifornia.com/attraction/insiders-guide-californias-redwood-coast

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/california/north-coast


If you do get inland and better than half way down the state, the Sequoia Kings Canyon parks are worth the time, although from your OP and you say "Muir Woods ... if we venture that far south" I have my doubts that you will get to them.  
https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/maps.htm

 




 

 

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Redwoods and Sequoias are California, though some Redwoods creep into southern Oregon. 

In Cal, don't neglect Incense Cedars; there are huge ones in Big Tree State Park, and no doubt elsewhere.

 

On the North Oregon coast and up the Washington Coast are found the Sitka Spruce, which become huge. They are found only within a few miles of salt water.

 

The other 'big three' as it relates to the Pacific Northwest are the Western Redcedar, the Douglas Fir, and the Western Hemlock. You'll see big specimens in Olympic National Park and Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park, among other places. If you get to Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park, visit the Grove of the Patriarchs, which has the hugest Douglas Firs and Western Redcedars.

 

There are many others, too. Alaska Yellowcedar, and the true firs: Noble Fir, Silver Fir, many others.

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As an aside, if you do get as far south as Muir Woods, and you have an interest in things military, you might take a side trip to Nike Site SF-88L .
Or maybe Battery Townsley .  Both on the Marin Headlands.

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The Big Trees in Arnold CA is a very nice walkabout.
The Avenue of the Giants on HW101 is the start of the big coastal trees.

 

redwoods.jpg

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Ok here's maybe more than you want...we moved up to Washington about 2 years ago, and since you going to Olympic park ill throw out a few things close by that do and dont have to do with big trees...

 

Oregon coast is great...towns like Newport, Lincoln City, Cannon Beach (where you can see Haystack Rock and eat at the Pelican for some great fish and chips) as you drive through the trees.  Should stop in Astoria as well...a few things here are the Column if your up for a lot of stairs but a fantastically rewarding view of the area, visit The Goonies house, or just have lunch at The Buoy on the docks with its glass floor where you can watch the sea lions below.  Lots of good beer and chowder to try along the way.

 

In Washington, you'll find a lot to do around the  Olympic forest for trails and hikes.  If you have time, you could take some Ferry Rides across the sound if you haven't, that's pretty fun.  There is a Washington State DOT app that allows you to see schedules and make reservations for crossings.  You could Ferry from Port Townsend over to Whidbey where you land at Fort Casey and can tour the battlements that guarded part of the sound, then proceed to drive through Deception Pass or stop and see the brilliant blue/green water as you go through.

 

I would also recommend Anacortes (not for big trees) and then taking a Ferry to one of the San Juan/Orcas Islands....these can be expensive to stay here but totally worth it.  You have a chance to see Orcas on the ferry and from the San Juans, to me it would almost be a shame if you went this far and didn't stop.  If I ask my wife if its Hawaii or the San Juans, she would pick the San Juans.

 

This still leaves you close to my favorite part which would be the North Cascades park, taking highway 20 out.  I have never seen this park crowded and go through it a few times each summer.  Ross lake is beautiful, lots of trees and mountains, great views and a peaceful drive/hike opportunity.

 

You could come down the east side and see Chelan and Wenatchee areas, maybe check out Leavanworth for a Bavarian Themed town which is pretty cool, German food and beer...they light up the entire town in the winter its like a snow globe village.  

 

Lastly you could drive up to Paradise near the top of Rainier and have some lunch.  There are trails that lead up around the semi top that are easy to get along and allow great views.  From there, you would swear with a 12 pack you could be on top of it in a few hours....no big deal right?

 

Anyways, hope this provides a few things on the list.  I would suggest May or September to work around some of the crowds.  Weather will be awesome...no humidity and 75 -80 degrees most days with plenty of sun in the summer.  Bring sweatshirts for night as it cools off.  My wife has made it clear we will retire in this area when it comes time....

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July and August are the least rainy months if you want to avoid rain.  There are some lovely old growth Ponderosa Pine forests on the east side of the Cascades if you want to experience the diversity of forests of the region.

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Lake Quinault is a great place to RV/tent/easy camp, outside SW side of Olympic Nat Park, Hwy 101.  Fishing on the lake with reservation license, and day trips. Son and I stayed for a few days on one of our summer road trips.

 

Worlds largest Sitka Spruce is just down the road.  Redwood (giant) forest park access nearby.

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15 hours ago, Palouse said:

Lake Quinault is a great place to RV/tent/easy camp, outside SW side of Olympic Nat Park, Hwy 101.  Fishing on the lake with reservation license, and day trips. Son and I stayed for a few days on one of our summer road trips.

 

Worlds largest Sitka Spruce is just down the road.  Redwood (giant) forest park access nearby.

The Quinault   river above the Lake is interesting also. 

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23 hours ago, Palouse said:

Lake Quinault is a great place to RV/tent/easy camp, outside SW side of Olympic Nat Park, Hwy 101.  

 

Worlds largest Sitka Spruce is just down the road.  Redwood (giant) forest park access nearby.

 

It's fantastic country, for sure. But there are no giant Redwoods nearby. But the meaning is probably Western Red Cedars: there would be giants there, indeed.

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Yep. Late night typing.  "Valley of the Giants"; same valley as Lake Quinault.  "Big trees".

 

World's Largest:

red cedar

sitka spruce

douglas fir

 

US largest:

yellow cedar

western hemlock

mountain hemlock

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