Hello from the California Redwoods

Big Tree

The Redwood trees are something Californians personally get to boast about. These trees are considered prehistoric and are the tallest trees on planet Earth. They are native to northern California and only to northern California -it’s not only the population that doesn’t want to leave the Golden Coast apparently it’s the flora as well. The Redwood National and State Parks are visited by many to marvel at the trees’ magnificence and surrounding lush wildlife. The parks are located along California’s northern coast all located within Del Norte and Humboldt counties. I spent a three day weekend camping at Elk Prairie Campground (in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State park) where the Elk lackadaisically graze on the open prairies—fitting. Read about our three day trip up the coast and how we enjoyed our time in the Redwoods.

Prep and Pack

 My boyfriend and I booked flights and reserved a site at Elk Prairie Creek campground three months before our trip. Campsites are often times booked far in advance and all of our camping supplies were packed into two checked-in suitcases. Disclaimer; some may consider the items we packed soley for glamping.

Supplies we packed:
  • Two person tent
  • Air mattress
  • Battery powered pump (to blow up the air mattress)
  • Two sleeping bags (that were vacuum packed to condense space)
  • Small stove (proper name: Backpacking Single Burner Stove)
  • Cooking utensils (small spatula, tongs, skewers, utensils) and skillet
  • Lantern
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tablecloth
  • Toiletries and towels
Upon arriving to SFO, we rented a car through Hertz and on the drive up, we stopped for the necessities that we weren’t able to pack in our suitcases such as:
  •  Styrofoam cooler (to keep all our food in)
  • Food for 3 meals a day: steaks, pork chops, sandwich meat, veggie platter, fruit, breakfast items, turkey dogs, hot dog buns, s’more stuff, trail mix, almonds, juices, water bottles etc
  • Ice (for cooler)
  • Firewood
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Matches
  • Small propane tank

LAX to SFO

We flew from LAX in to San Francisco’s main airport, SFO, and rented a car upon arrival for a three day trip on the California coast. From SFO we drove over 300 miles North to Elk Prairie Campground located in the Redwood National Forrest. The drive up was gorgeous and fairly simple, head north up the 101 which is sandwiched between towering redwoods trees and eventually a gorgeous coast.
Redwoods Road

Eureka, CA

Our first stop up Highway 101 was at Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka, CA. Their well known brew is the “Great White” which is a  citrus flavored favorite. We ordered two Great White’s, wings, cheese pizza, and a cup of clam chowder. The bartender was really friendly and also let us sample a new strawberry flavored beer that is yet to be released. Here in Eureka is also where we stopped to pick up the rest of our camping supplies that we were unable to put in our luggage (listed above).
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Lost Coast outside
Lost Coast Great White
Lost Coast Taps
Lost Coast Clam Chowder

Elk Prairie Creek Camp Ground

After a cold brew and picking up camp supplies in Eureka, we made it to the campground before sunset. It can be very difficult to set up camp with out sunlight so we planned accordingly. Home sweet Home.
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Elk Prarie Camp Grounds
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On our first day camping we made breakfast and planned hikes from our campground further into the Redwoods.
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Camp Breakfast2
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Prairie Creek Trail to Big Tree

Starting at park headquarters, Prairie Creek Trail is a loop that takes the Prairie Creek Trail up to the Big Tree Area, then returns on the Cathedral Tree Trail. This loop connects the two areas of Prairie Creek with the biggest redwoods and makes a great introduction to the park. This trail is only 1.4 miles and is a great start to the day. Big Tree is over 1,500 years old, 304 ft tall and 68 feet wide. There is a small fence around the tree with signs asking not to climb over it.
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Big Tree
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James Irvine Trail 

The James Irvine Trail is a 8.8 mile out and back trail located near Orick, California that offers scenic views. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking. The trail leads to a gorgeous fern valley that has a creek running through it in the warmer months. If you follow the valley it will eventually lead to the beach where you can also walk to get back onto the trail. Just as we were exiting the valley we spotted a pair of Elk grazing near by. They were truly magnificent. I would suggest bringing plenty of water, trail mix and a pair of good hiking shoes for the uneven terrain.

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on trees
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Flowers1
babe mapElk1

Oregon

Being that we were so far north along the California coast we decided to go a little further and visit Oregon. There, we took pictures at the state line and toured the visitor center that was just a little ways from the Welcome sign. At the visitor center we learned about the nearby beaches and decided to visit Lone Ranch Beach where a fresh water stream runs into the ocean in the small city of Brookings, Oregon. There we played in the tide pools and finished our and grabbed dinner at a local restaurant where salmon is always suggested.

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