Hope you all had a nice weekend doing something fun 🙂 Scott and I have been hustling with our youtube content lately and we are loving it! We uploaded a new video, that will become part of a new “series” we will be adding to our channel. These videos will give you a little wrap up from what we learned/enjoyed from the destination we recently visited. Our Redwoods Youtube video is now live and if you want to check it out you can see it here and we will also link it at the bottom of this blog post 🙂 As you know, last week we shared with you our first day/night in San Francisco before carrying on with our drive to make it to the Redwoods National Park. Today, we will be finishing up our accounts from the Redwoods road trip, and (of course) the photos that go along with it! We hope you enjoy 🙂
We woke up in San Francisco around 7am to make sure we were out the door and ready to check out of the motel by 8am. We had gotten a good nights rest and were prepared for the long drive ahead. We noticed that this morning, it was a little foggier than the last, so we were tempted to make a quick stop BACK at the Golden Gate Bridge, to get some fog pics of the bridge. We thought “hey, it’s now or never”, so we just went with it. We drove back to the lookout we had been to the day prior and saw that the fog was actually covering the WHOLE bridge, so you couldn’t even tell where we were LOL. But we wanted to make the most out of this last stop, so we decided to keep driving up the hill and see how far we could go, once we got to the top we basically were stuck in a giant cloud LOL. We laughed about how we were entering heaven and how the fog was so thick you couldn’t see anything 10 feet in front of you, it was pretty cool. After about 5 minutes of looking out into pure whiteness, we got back into the car and started our 6 hour car ride to Crescent City (located at the very top of the Redwoods area.) The drive itself was pretty and interesting, sometimes we were more inland with the drive and then later we became closer to the coast. I remember seeing Clam Beach and discovering we were getting closer to the beginning of the Redwoods. After 5ish hours of driving we saw a visitors center and thought we would be able to grab a map there while we were passing by. We ran into the visitors center and looked around for a second (not too much to see at this one.) Scott got his map and we were back in the car. We studied the map and saw a few spots we definitely wanted to check out while visiting the Redwoods, one of them being Fern Canyon. We figured since we were going up towards the top of the Redwoods we would stop along the way at places we thought looked interesting. Scott wanted to see a grove in the process of making our way to Crescent City, so we decided to check out Jedediah Smith State Park. Our drive from this point on became very different, we became engulfed in a beautiful forest and a very long highway. We got out of the car once we had really “entered the park” to get some video and photos of the huge trees and gorgeous green ferns surrounding us. The smell of the redwoods is like nothing I’ve ever smelled, the air is so crisp and fresh, breathing it in was giving me LIFE 😉 We took a few videos and some nature shots at this first stop and became eager to see what else this beautiful place had to offer, we got back in the car and continued on with our drive. We decided to drive to Stout Grove (the spot we wanted to check out) to get some shots in before the sun went down. Since the forest is so dense and tall, the sun was disappearing faster than we had anticipated. Once we got there, we walked around the grove getting to see some pretty big redwoods, we really enjoyed it, but unfortunately it was a little too dark to get any shots in the grove, but we did get a chance to film a little bit.
We headed back to the car and were eager to make it to Crescent City to see what our motel was going to be like. It was about 30-50 minutes away, driving out of the grove and back onto the highway, we were once again smack dab in the middle of a beautiful forest, everywhere we looked we saw lush green plants. We had made it to our motel and checked in at about 7pm. We were pretty hungry from our days drive and wanted to get something really good for dinner, we found a cute restaurant that was close by and ordered some amazing veggie burgers! They were HUGE, it was just what we needed. After dinner we headed back to the motel to watch a documentary before bed, our day was mostly driving, but we got to see some amazing things. We were really excited to wake up the next day to explore Fern Canyon, a place we had heard nothing but good reviews about.
Waking up in the morning wasn’t as hard as we imagined it was going to be. We were in the car by 6:00am so that we would beat the crowds at Fern Canyon. We did some research about the hike and one thing that kept getting brought up online was it being over populated during the afternoon. We thought that by getting there super early we would avoid this and possibly get some cool shots of the sunrise. The road to the Fern Canyon trailhead was a long and bumpy journey down an unpaved dirt road that definitely pushed our confidence in Courtney’s Nissan Rogue to the limit. As we were pulling into the parking lot, we noticed a few elk along the road and were very cautious getting out of the car because elk can be very aggressive towards strangers. We got all the camera equipment out of the car and started on the trail, walking in, we were surrounded by green lush plants and trees, it was a beautiful place to start the day. About 6 minutes in, we stopped abruptly because 2 elk were right in the middle of the trail, we got nervous and slowly backed away, no one else was around so we had to be very careful not to provoke the elk. We cautiously made it back to the car and were a little stumped on what to do. We couldn’t start our Fern Canyon hike yet because we needed to wait for the elk to pass, so we thought, “hey let’s go check out the beach.” From the parking lot you could either take a pathway leading to the beach or go inward and start the Fern Canyon hike, we started to walk through the dense brush that was about .25 miles till we hit the water. As we started to hike in, I (Courtney) noticed lots and lots of spider webs in the brush and it really freaked me out, we were basically entering spider central and I hated it haha. As we got closer to the waterfront, the soil was getting muddier and muddier and our shoes were slowly become drenched in muck, it wasn’t the best situation to be in, but it sure was an adventure trying to get to the shore. When we finally hit the sand, we noticed there was a big river running through the beach so we couldn’t technically get to the ocean, but we walked along the river and got some drone footage of what it was like. About an hour had passed since we attempted to go on our hike so we guessed the elk had passed by now. We ventured all the way back to the car and tried again with the hike. We got passed the area where the elk had been earlier and continued walking (it’s only about .1 miles from the parking lot) until we reached the entrance to the canyon. It looked like something out of the jungle book, with the tall mighty trees and moss covered walls, a river was flowing out of the canyon and leading towards the ocean. The ground was covered in pebble rocks and pockets of water were scattered about, so we assumed our shoes would eventually become drenched. There were little streams that had some wood boards on them that you had to step on so your shoes wouldn’t get wet. Big redwoods that had fallen acted like bridges that you could cross in order to avoid the ankle deep water below, it was probably one of the most beautiful hikes we have ever been on.
We hiked down the stream, jumping from tree logs to big boulders in the river for about 45 minutes until we reached a staircase that lead us up above the river. From there, we started to loop around going towards where we started the hike. By this time, the lighting was starting to change a little bit and the sun beams were faintly glowing through tree branches. Scott had really wanted to get some shots with this type of lighting, but since we started so early in the morning (to avoid crowds) we would have had to wait another 2-3 hours to get exactly what he was looking for. We made do with what we had and I think the pictures look gorgeous regardless! The totality of the hike in general probably took an hour and 15 minutes, pretty short and we were back at the beginning. Our shoes were completely drenched in water and my jeans had water marks on them, so I look a little silly in the photos, but it doesn’t matter because running through the water was so much fun! 😉
As we were leaving we noticed 2 families approaching the hike and we were so thankful we got to spend the whole morning there completely alone. We totally recommend going early so that you can feel one with nature while exploring Fern Canyon. For our next stop, we wanted to grab some breakfast somewhere, we didn’t really have a concrete plan for the rest of the day, so we figured we would be driving to spots that seemed interesting on the map. However, finding food was a little hard for us. Driving from city to city without leaving the parks, there were few options, but Klamath had a small diner so we thought that would be our best bet. We made a good choice on where to eat because AFTER our meal we got to feed an EMU!! It was the highlight of the day, if you don’t know this already, Emu’s are SO SCARY!! They are kind of like ostriches and they have evil little eyes and big wide beaks. Lucky for us, we had a fence to keep us safe while feeding it 🙂 We headed to the car and got back on the road to check out the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, its a scenic loop that runs parallel to Highway 101. We figured we could stop along the way and take photos in the process. We stopped at a few hiking trails, one that stuck out to us was called Big Tree Grove and we went on a short hike to view one of the biggest trees in the area. We enjoyed the quick hike getting an up close view of some of the giant redwoods that populate this specific part of the forest.
We were getting a little tired from our days journey so far, so we decided to find a spot where we could nap in the car for a little while. We drove to Redwood Creek Trailhead not too far from Big Tree Trail and took an hour and half nap. We awoke a little groggy, so we went on a little walk on the trailhead, then we thought we would check out Lady Bird Johnson Grove next. One thing that was cool about Lady Bird, was the information we learned about each tree that had a plaque explaining it’s roots and significance. Overall, it was a beautiful area to explore. The next place we checked out was the Damnation Trailhead, which was further north in the Del Norte State Park area. This was probably where we got our best photography from throughout the day. The sun was just starting to set when we arrived, which created some great lighting with the sunbeams and tree branches. Dappled lighting filled the air above us and created a heavenly atmosphere.
We were approaching the end of our day, as the sun would be setting soon. We weren’t sure where to go to get some sunset pictures, so we thought we would make our way back to Crescent City and find a spot somewhere closer to the motel. We had come back to the beach front and thought we could find a decent spot near the water. We ended up finding a viewpoint overlooking the ocean and decided to end our days adventure there. Looking out towards the ocean Scott and I felt that our trip had been so unique compared to other national parks we had been to in the past. The mixture between the beautiful green forest and foggy ocean front made this road trip a very unique experience from a photography stand point. Our days adventure had come to an end and we were ready to get back to the motel and get ready for bed. The next day we would be driving home for 12 hours straight!
Checking out the next morning, I was able to snag a few muffins from the complimentary breakfast to surprise Scott. It was 8am and we were ready to hit the road but first…we had to stop at Dutch Bros to get some yummy coffee 😉 After taking forever to order (the menu has too many options lol) we got our coffees and began the long journey home. We stopped in SF one last time to get lunch in the financial district at a random falafel place and it was SO good! I love yelp so much, when I’m in a new city, I can always count on my yelp app to find the best place to eat 🙂 We took our lunch to go, and ate at Treasure Island looking out towards SF one last time. It was already 4pm and we had 5 more hours of driving left. This trip was one of the longer drives in distance that we have been on in awhile, but driving home wasn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be. Our 4 day trip was a successful one to say the least! From dealing with a dead car battery in San Francisco to feeding a wild Emu, our Redwoods trip was definitely one for the books. We hope you enjoyed this blog post & if you want, you can watch our Youtube video below explaining what we liked from our trip and how it compared to our past trips! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our full Redwoods travel video coming out next week!