While we had driven through the park about 10 years ago on our road trip from San Francisco to Seattle, it was a completely new experience being on the motorcycles and without a car roof blocking our ability to really appreciate the trees towering overhead as we wound through the woods.
We also went on several hikes this trip we didn’t experience during our previous day driving along the Avenue of the Giants.
We started our morning at Lady Bird Johnson Grove, which was recommended by our AirBnB host. The ride to the trailhead was a little stressful – we were contending with very fast-moving logging trucks that were flying along the dark roads that climbed up into the forest. The parking lot has limited spots and was already pretty full when we pulled in – go early!
This easy, 1.5-mile loop trail included a bridge crossing, a well-maintained path through the woods, and information displays about the 1969 dedication ceremony with Lady Bird Johnson.
More importantly, it featured amazing redwoods soaring overhead!
Because we were there early, the woods was damp with dew and a light mist hung in the air. It made for a magical atmosphere that was only occasionally broken by the conversations of other people we passed along the way.
As we were completing the loop, we entered an amazing rhododendron garden. While these plants traditionally bloom from May to June, we were only a few weeks behind that schedule and benefitted from the lingering, bright pink petals!
After our hike we geared up and rode to the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway to find parking near the next trail we wanted to tackle.
I had read about an elk herd in the area, and sure enough, we spotted several bull elk bedded down near the road! We quickly pulled over, I grabbed the camera out of my tank bag, and I was able to take a few pictures. There were so calm and not at all bothered by our bikes or the other traffic.
Our second hike was on the Cathedral Trees Trail, which is a 2.1-mile loop trail that swings by the “Big Tree” and includes a brief climb to a hillside viewpoint of the forest, allowing you to see the redwoods from bottom to top!
The Big Tree is – in fact – very big, and I shared a couple photos of us below standing next to both it and some of these other impressive giants.
This was a very easy trail, and I really enjoyed walking along the section that joins with the Foothill Trail, which was the original route for the Redwood Highway. We’ve seen pictures of the old cars barely squeezing in between the redwood trees, and it was very cool walking along that route and imagining what that would have been like.
One of Brian’s favorite stops was one he found on Roadside America – the Klamath Tour Thru Tree.
There was no one there when we arrived – in line, at the tree, or working the entrance station! We followed the instructions for submitting our entrance fee and then headed up a very steep drive to the tree itself.
I was in the lead and felt my bike starting to stall as I was in the wrong gear, going too slow, and trying to navigate a very steep curve all at the same time. I started screaming, “I’m going to drop it!” through our helmet headsets, to which Brian started yelling at the top of his lungs “GO! GO! GO!” His shouting scared me so much I gave Hilde a pile of gas, launched around the curve, and came to a stop just in front of the tree, half crying, half laughing, and sweating my brains out.
Way too much excitement for me – and all for this one picture of me with the bikes in the tree!
I thoroughly enjoyed re-discovering Redwood National and State Parks on the motorcycles and am so glad we dedicated a day to both riding and hiking in different areas of the parks.