In one of our field research studies in college, a cluster of trees at the bottom of an overlook hill caught my eye. I immediately fell into a dreamy state and imagined reading a book under its shade. There was nothing extraordinary about the trees. As a matter of fact, if I am going to return to that exact same spot, I won’t be able to recognize it at all. There was nothing special about the trees.

It was however, a special day for me. That was the day I knew I love trees.

REDWOOD PARKS

The world-renowned redwood trees are the tallest trees in the world, not to be confused with the sequoia trees, which are the largest. The Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) is a complex mix of Redwood National Park and three state parks on the northern coast of California – Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods.  The park in collective is designated as a World Heritage Site.

PRAIRIE CREEK REDWOODS

After a wonderful day driving on breathtaking US Highway 101 prior, we are excited to be finally surrounded by giant redwood trees. Our day started with a beautiful sightseeing along the coastal drive trail of Prairie Creek Redwoods with a magnificent panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean that borderlines the horizon. We then made a quick stop after reaching the Klamath Section overlooking the Klamath Estuary. My husband was surprised to see a surviving World War II B-71 early-warning radar station disguised as a farm along the coastal drive. Given its tactical location, it is but the perfect spot to watch and guard approaching potential enemies.

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Starting our day with a beautiful sightseeing along the coastal drive trail of Prairie Creek Redwoods.
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Today’s first view of the Pacific Ocean along the coastal drive trail of Prairie Creek Redwoods.
Along the Prairie Creek Redwood is a B-71 early-warning radar station disguised as a farm. It is also known as the Klamath River Radar Station, Crescent City Radar Station, and Trinidad Radar Station.
Along the Prairie Creek Redwood is a B-71 early-warning radar station disguised as a farm. It is also known as the Klamath River Radar Station, Crescent City Radar Station, and Trinidad Radar Station.
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One of the beautiful sights along coastal drive trail of Prairie Creek Redwoods with a magnificent panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean that borderlines the horizon.
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean along the Prairie Creek Redwood coastal drive. The number of drift woods at the mouth of Klamath River is astonishing.
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean along the Prairie Creek Redwood coastal drive. The number of drift woods at the mouth of Klamath River is astonishing.
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Overlooking at Klamath estuary, the spot where Klamath River meets the Pacific Ocean. The people and the drift woods look so tiny in the photo.

NEWTON B. DRURY SCENIC PARKWAY

The Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is an alternate drive to its parallel US Highway 101. It drives through an old redwood forest which gave us an idea as to why these world-renowned redwood trees are the tallest trees in the world.

A beautiful drive along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
A beautiful drive along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is an alternative drive to Highway 101 that drives through an old redwood forest.
Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is an alternative drive to Highway 101 that drives through an old redwood forest.
Quick photo stop with an old fallen tree during our drive along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
Quick photo stop with an old fallen tree during our drive along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
Another quick stop at Prairie Creek Visitor Center as we were driving along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
Another quick stop at Prairie Creek Visitor Center as we were driving along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
A herd of elk crossing at Elk Meadows on our way to Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail.
A herd of elk crossing at Elk Meadows on our way to Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail.

LADY BIRD JOHNSON GROVE

There is a significant number of hiking trails around Klamath. One of the shortest and perhaps the easiest (our perfect fit!) trails is the Lady Bird Johnson Grove.  This trail was dedicated by President Richard Nixon to Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of his predecessor, US President Lyndon B. Johnson, in recognition of her dedication to the establishment of Redwood National Park.

Starting our Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail hike with a smile.
Starting our Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail hike with a smile.
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At Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
Looking tiny compared to the trees found along the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
Looking tiny compared to the trees found along the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
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Standing inside one of the trees along the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California made me look and feel tiny.
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Looking tiny beside these giant trees along the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
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The sky is the limit for the giant trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
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The giant trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California has surpassed decades, if not centuries, of weather.
One of the fallen giant trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
One of the fallen giant trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
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Like the redwood trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California, we aim for the sky.
The feeling of humility surrounded by the giant redwood trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail dedication site in Klamath, California.
The feeling of humility surrounded by the giant redwood trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail dedication site in Klamath, California.
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I could not resist hugging a giant redwood tree at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
There is a sense of joy, humility, and pride walking through ancient redwood trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
There is a sense of joy, humility, and pride walking along the ancient redwood trees at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
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At Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.
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A pair of random heart-shaped leaves at Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Klamath, California.

BALD HILLS, MOUNTAIN MEADOWS AND LYONS RANCH

As if walking through the redwood trees of superlatives was not overwhelming enough, we proceeded to drive/ascended towards the Bald Hills Road. The redwood trees were mighty and magnificent, but the drive on the Bald Hills Road towards Lyons Ranch Trail was one of my most favorite sights to date. There were open prairies and wild flowers along the way, giant redwood trees somewhere in the background, and a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean highlights the panorama. The Redwood Creek Overlook offers a lookout to the Tall Trees Grove that hosts a former title-holder of world’s tallest tree. We also saw a large herd of elk peacefully grazing on a meadow which we stopped for a chance to photograph!

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The Redwood Creek Overlooks offers a lookout to the Tall Trees Grove that hosts a former title-holder of world’s tallest tree. This is along the Bald Hills Road towards Lyons Ranch.
A panoramic view from the Redwood Creek Overlook offers a lookout to the Tall Trees Grove that hosts a former title-holder of world’s tallest tree. The Pacific Ocean can be in the distance.
A panoramic view from the Redwood Creek Overlook offers a lookout to the Tall Trees Grove that hosts a former title-holder of world’s tallest tree. The Pacific Ocean can be seen in the distance.
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The Redwood Creek Overlook along the Bald Hills Road.
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The signs explaining the science of the redwood trees at the Redwood Creek Overlook along the Bald Hills Road.
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Random meadow we love while driving along Bald Hills Road on our way to Lyons Ranch.
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The scenic drive along Bald Hills Road.
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A large herd of elk peacefully grazing on a meadow along Bald Hills Road which we stopped for for a chance to photograph!
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A large herd of elk in our background which we stopped for for a chance to photograph along Bald Hills Road.
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Curvy hills, green meadows and wild flowers on Bald Hills Road.
Picturesque mountain view and wild lupines along Bald Hills Road.
Picturesque mountain view and wild lupines along Bald Hills Road.
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Picturesque mountain view and wild lupines along Bald Hills Road.
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A picturesque view outside the gates of the historic Lyons Ranch.
A picturesque view outside the gates of the historic Lyons Ranch.
A picturesque view outside the gates of the historic Lyons Ranch.
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Overlooking the stretch of the Lyons Ranch.
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Enjoying the large hilltop prairie at the historic Lyons Ranch.

THOMAS H. KUCHEL VISITOR CENTER

Still recovering from what seemed like a paradise trip on Bald Hills Road, we descended and drove to Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center. We didn’t stay long, but long enough to at least take photos of the beach on the back. From our point of view, it was hard to tell where the the Pacific Ocean meets the horizon. It was also agonizingly windy and the sands were blowing on our eyes and face. We could hardly take photos of ourselves with our eyes open.

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View of Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center from the back.
At the back of Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center enjoying the might of the Pacific Ocean.
At the back of Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center enjoying the might of the Pacific Ocean.
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Enjoying our afternoon snack at Snack Shack at Orick, California. They also serve elk burger but husband and I opted for a more conventional meal like hotdog and bacon burger. We were both not ready for elk burgers yet.

ELK MEADOW

Speaking of elk burgers (nyay!), we headed towards the Elk Meadow and had our first close encounter with a herd of elk. We simply parked our car at their designated parking lot, and the herd of elk were grazing just a few inches from us. I was truly delighted to be this up and close.

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Spotted a herd of elk at Elk Meadows in Orick, California.
A herd of elk just a few inches from the designated parking lot at Elk Meadows in Orick, California.
A herd of elk just a few inches from the designated parking lot at Elk Meadows in Orick, California.

HIGH BLUFF OVERLOOK

My husband and I wanted to watch the sunset at a vantage point, so we returned to the Coastal Drive Road and stayed at High Bluff Overlook. What a marvelous idea! It was not the most amazing sunset to boast but there was a slightly visible mist crawling from the coast to the end stretch of the Pacific Ocean, and it was heavenly!

A slightly visible mist crawling from the coast to the end stretch of the Pacific Ocean as viewed from the High Bluff Overlook.
A slightly visible mist crawling from the coast to the end stretch of the Pacific Ocean as viewed from the High Bluff Overlook.
Panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean from the High Bluff Overlook.
Panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean from the High Bluff Overlook.
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At High Bluff Overlook in Klamath, California.

CRESCENT CITY

Our last stop for the day is Crescent City. It is about 40 minutes away from Klamath, past Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park on US Highway 101. The town is a typical American small town but alive with coastal vibe. It reminded me a lot of Oregon, which ironically enough, is a place I have never been to. Is it perhaps because Crescent City is only about 20 miles south of the Oregon border? Maybe.

The Battery Point Lighthouse at Crescent City, California. The lighthouse is constructed on a tiny islet which can be traversed on foot at low tide.
The Battery Point Lighthouse at Crescent City, California. The lighthouse is constructed on a tiny islet which can be traversed on foot at low tide.
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Low tide at the Battery Point Lighthouse at Crescent City, California.
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Sunset on a low tide at the Battery Point Lighthouse at Crescent City, California.
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Rocks peeking out of the Pacific Ocean adds charm to the vicinity surrounding the Battery Point Lighthouse at Crescent City, California.
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Sunset at Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, California. The lighthouse is constructed on a tiny islet which can be traversed on foot at low tide.

 

It was a day filled with joy, awe and inspiration. Trees are worth falling in love for. I suppose Joyce Kilmer will agree, “I think that I shall never see, A poem lovely as a tree.”

Redwood National and State Parks
Redwood National and State Parks
Heading back to our hotel after a long day at Redwood National and State Parks. Highway 101 at dusk is inspiring.
Heading back to our hotel after a long day at Redwood National and State Parks. Highway 101 at dusk is inspiring.

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