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Wednesday 12 June 2013

Redwoods Day Trip

This past weekend we went for a day trip north to the redwood forests.

This trip had originally been planned for a few weeks back to celebrate my birthday which unfortunately was spent in hospital instead. I was a little worried that something else would pop up and stop us heading off on our trip again but come Saturday morning we were on our way without a hitch.

While there are beautiful redwood forests relatively close to the San Francisco Bay Area I really wanted to head a little further afield and drive the Avenue of the Giants and visit a few drive through trees.

I love looking up at the redwoods

After a three hour drive we found ourselves at our first destination: Drive Thru Tree Park in Leggett, home of the drive through Chandelier Tree. The Chandelier Tree is a 315 foot (96 metre) tall coastal redwood with a hole cut through the base for cars to drive through. The hole was cut in the 1930's and the tree has been attracting a steady stream of visitors ever since.

Approaching the Chandelier Tree on our first drive through it

After driving through the tree we found ourselves a shady spot under the trees for a picnic. It was substantially hotter here than what we've become used to in Berkeley. Even though Berkeley was in store for a beautiful 27C day, just a few hours north the weather was much, much warmer. On arrival in Leggett the car's display showed an outside temperature of 103F - that's pushing 40C! Admittedly, it didn't feel quite that hot there so I'm guessing the display was out by a few degrees. It would've easily been 35C though which is much warmer than it ever gets in Berkeley.

Happy to be outside in the heat for a change

After lunch we checked out the trees and stumps on display at Drive Thru Tree Park. On a side note, anyone who knows me well will know how much I'm struggling with using the word "thru" instead of "through"! I normally hate this particular shortening but seeing as it's part of the park's name I'd better use it. Grumble, grumble...

Ava thought maybe we could live in this tree stump!

Sisters in a tree

Big jumps

The girls loved climbing on the fallen trees

Chandelier Tree

And then of course we had to get our cheesy photos with the drive through tree!

The requisite cheesy family shot 

Here comes Kim

From Leggett we headed further north to Avenue of the Giants, a 31 mile scenic drive through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, home to the last remaining stand of virgin redwoods in the world.

Keen for a little more kitsch after the drive through tree we stopped by the One Log House in Garberville. The One Log House is just as the name would suggest - a house made from one log! But it's not just any old house, it's a house on wheels. More of a one log caravan! Carved out in 1946 by two men over an eight month period, the One Log House looks like quite the comfortable little home. It's complete with all the creature comforts you'd expect in a caravan but with extra added kitsch factor. The girls loved it and asked if we could live there.

One Log House: it's a house made out of one log!

Inside the One Log House

Inside the One Log House

In the gift shop Ava wanted a racoon hat. Lola just wanted to get it off her head!

The girls both wanted to take this redwood carving home

Back on the road we headed through the beautiful redwood forest to our next destination, another drive through tree.

Driving along Avenue of the Giants

Shrine Drive-Thru Tree in Myers Flat was our second (and final) drive through tree for the day. Unlike the hole cut into Chandelier Tree, the hole in Shrine Tree is natural. However, unlike Chandelier Tree which is a living tree, Shrine Tree is just a stump, albeit a rather larger and impressive one. Lola had fallen asleep in the car by this point so she missed out on Shrine Drive Through Tree and its kid friendly attractions.

Approaching our second drive through tree

Kim drives through Shrine Drive-Thru Tree

That's one big hollow stump

Ava can fit through even with her arms out as wide as possible

We can just reach the sides

Cars won't fit through this one!

Ava's favourite part of our stop at Shrine Drive-Thru Tree was the playhouses carved out of tree stumps. She had such a great time playing in these two houses and really did not want to leave. It's a pity that Lola was asleep as she would've enjoyed playing in these cute, fairytale houses too.

The highlight of Ava's trip

Love these houses

I found us a new house!

Cute little windows

Can we live here?


Trees make good furniture

Ava also enjoyed posing with the many bear carvings, including one great letterbox.

I love this bear!

Great letterbox

So many bear carvings to pose with

After Shrine Drive-Thru Tree we headed a little further north through the towering redwoods. I love the filtered sun light coming through the trees. It creates such a beautiful atmosphere.

Driving along Avenue of the Giants

I love how straight and tall the redwoods are

Our final stop for the day was Founders' Grove. Lola woke up in time for a short walk through the redwoods and along a few moss covered fallen tree trunks. I love walking through the towering trees and looking up at their lofty heights. They're so awe inspiring and really make you feel so tiny. Looking up at the trees and spinning around is still a favourite of mine. No matter how old you are it's such an amazing feeling.

Ava climbs on the roots of a fallen redwood in Founders' Grove

Lola the rapper?

Balancing together

Ava runs along a fallen tree

The girls had so much fun

Balancing act

So tall

We really enjoyed our day in the redwoods. It was so nice to be out in nature away from the city for the day. There was an awful lot of driving involved but it was worth it. We all had a great time and (most importantly?) we have some pretty cheesy photos to show for it! Oh, how I love a cheesy photo!


  1. I've been wanting to take my little girl there too. Maybe we'll do a Father's Day trip.

    1. It's such a lovely area. My kids loved the novelty of actually driving through and walking through a tree.

  2. I am planning our California trip. We have three boys, ages 11 months, 2 years, and 5 years. We will have 8 days. Should we do Yosemite, this trip (from the post), or down Hwy 1 to the Big Sur area? Any suggestions? I would love your thoughts.


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