Situated in Northern California, and surrounding the Avenue of Giants is California’s third largest state park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The massive 53,000-acre state park contains 17,000 acres of redwoods and more than a few of the tallest trees in the world. People from all over the globe travel to California’s coast to see these ancient giants and learn about their history and importance.
This family-friendly park provides plenty of opportunities for fun for the whole family, including boating, exploring nature trails, swimming, driving along the Avenue of Giants, and fishing. There are also plenty of amazing sites to behold at the visitor center, including the Kellogg Travel Log, which is a motorhome whose body is carved from a single redwood log.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is busiest during the summer months, since the weather is usually the best at this time, but the park is open year round. If you visit during the summer you can expect highs in the 70s and 90s, and highs in the 50s and 60s during the winter. Make sure to pack plenty of jackets and blankets in your RV because it can get chilly at night, even during the summer, and the temperature can be drastically different from one end of the park to the other. However, whether you visit during the winter or the summer, there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family busy.
RV Rentals in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Transportation in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
There are several exits along Highway 101 you can take to get into the park, but navigation is a little trickier once you get into the park. The roads in the park are a little narrow, so make sure to go slow. The maximum RV length allowed is only 24 feet, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for RVs of this size. If possible, it’s recommended you bring an extra car because they are much easier to navigate along the many miles of roads in the park. Just be sure the campsite you are staying at allows more than one vehicle, since some of them only allow one. There are several parking locations along the Avenue of Giants, but overall parking is limited. You can park close to whatever activity you want to do and walk or bike the rest of the way. Mountain bikes are also appropriate for getting around the park, but the park is probably too big to try to get around exclusively on foot. Also, be sure your vehicle is parked on the parking spur within the campsite.
Campgrounds and parking in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Campsites in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Hidden Springs Campground
Hidden Springs Campground is the largest of the three campgrounds, containing 154 campsites on a forested hillside. If you want to be nearby fishing and swimming areas, this campground may be the perfect fit, since it is just a short walk from the South Fork of the Eel. It is also nearby two hiking trails. Restrooms and showers are located throughout the campground and are well maintained, although the showers are pay showers. Like the other campgrounds, Hidden Springs Campground offers no hookups or dump stations, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying this one-of-a-kind park. There are dump stations available at nearby facilities to the north and south of the park. Reservations are recommended if you want to stay at Hidden Springs Campground since it is only open from May through Labor Day weekend, but it is not totally necessary.
Albee Creek Campground
Albee Creek Campground is a fan favorite, so get your reservations as early as possible. Unlike Burlington Campground, Albee Creek is only open from May to October, and only has 40 campsites available. The campsites have plenty of space between them and provide an incredibly relaxing environment, either underneath the redwoods or in a prairie. None of the campsites have hook-ups for your RV, so you will have to use the nearby restrooms, showers, and drinking water. Instead of being near the Avenue of Giants, Albee Creek Campground is neighbored by Albee Creek on one side and Bull Creek on another side, both of which you can relax and wade in. The campground is only five miles west of the Avenue of Giants, so you’re still pretty close to it, and it’s near several biking and nature trails. All of the campsites at the park are meant for a maximum of 8 people, so if you have more than that in your party you may want to get two sites or consider reserving a group camp, which can accommodate between 40 and 60 people.
Burlington campground is a popular choice for campers because it is conveniently located right beside the visitor’s center and is open year-round. The campground is comprised of 57 campsites, all of which can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 24 feet in length, although none of them have water or electric hook-ups. Visitors love the privacy that Burlington campground affords because it is in the middle of a grove of redwoods and the sites are well spaced out. In addition to being right in the idle of the redwoods, Burlington Campground is only a short walk from the South of the Fork Eel, a popular spot for fishing and swimming. However, that also means it may be difficult to get a campsite, especially in the summer months, without making reservations, which can be made up to seven months in advance. Restrooms and showers are located at different points within the campground and firewood is available at the entrance.
Hidden Springs Campground
If you take a trip to Humboldt Redwoods State Park on a whim, you'll have the best chance of getting a campsite on the spot at Hidden Springs Campground. Some campsites are available on a first-come. first-served basis, but only for one night at a time, so make reservations ahead of time if at all possible.
Albee Creek Campground
No sites at Albee Creek Campground are specifically first-come, first-served, although if a campsite is not reserved you can book it on the spot. But it's likely that they will all be reserved upon your arrival so it's best to plan ahead.
Campsites that are not reserved ahead of time are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but it's not guaranteed that any will be available when you arrive. You will likely have the most luck snagging a first-come, first-served site if you visit during the winter months or during the week, but still, nothing is certain.
Seasonal activities in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Spring is the perfect time to take a canoe or kayak down the Eel River, which stretches throughout the park for over 30 miles. Be sure to check the river conditions while planning your trip because they can change drastically depending on rainfall. However, if you’re lucky enough to catch the river while the flow is between 1,000 and 3,000 CFS, don’t leave the park without practicing your paddling skills in your canoe or kayak. If the flow is too fast or the waters too low, there may still be other parts of the river that are good for swimming and fishing.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is any horse rider’s dream come true, with over 80 miles of trail available for horseback riding and several staging areas. Riding on horseback through the park gives you the opportunity to see some of the most scenic views in all of California without exhausting yourself, just be sure to stick to the trails meant for horses. If you’re looking for more than just a day trip and want to take your equine friend along with you while camping, Cuneo Creek Horse Camp is perfect for you. You'll love coasting on horseback under towering Redwoods during your RV trip to Northern California.
Attending Interpretive Programs
During the summer months, several interactive and engaging interpretive programs are offered within the park. Some programs are aimed at educating children, such as the Junior Rangers program and the Litter Getters program, whereas other programs, such as the Nature Walks are great for visitors of all ages and are sure to delight. The programs take place at different locations, so it’s easy to participate in one no matter where you are within the park. With so much to learn and see you may even want to take part in multiple programs during your visit.
Checking Out the Visitor's Center
The visitor center is the third stop on the Avenue of Giants auto tour, but you don’t have to take the tour to enjoy all that it has to offer. You can stop by and ask questions and get advice from the staff or checkout the immersive and informative theater and bookstore. The Visitor’s Center is a great place to learn more about the park and purchase any maps you may need, but don’t forget to pick up a souvenir before you leave to remember your trip.
It might be hard to work your way through all of the trails of Humboldt Redwoods State Park considering there are over 100 miles of trails, but it’s worth a try if you’re up for the challenge. If you have kids with you or if you’re just looking for an easy, relaxing stroll try out the half-mile Founder’s Grove Nature Loop. However, if you’re looking for a longer and more strenuous hike, try out the Johnson Trail Loop, which is over 10 miles long and has a 1,600 feet elevation change. More information on the trails is available online, but no matter what trail you take, you’ll love being in the middle of such a beautiful and vibrant forest. Just be sure to pack plenty of water in your RV and check the weather beforehand.
Scenic Driving Tour
Any time of year you can take the self-guided auto tour through the Avenue of Giants. The 32-mile tour has eight stops, marked by signs, where you can get out and explore the area a little more. The stops also point out neat historical areas, like the Weott High Water pole, standing 33 feet above the ground and indicating where the flood waters of 1964 rose. Another one of the stops along the avenue is Dyerville Lookout, an area rich in cultural history. This auto tour is recommended for cars and only smaller RVs.