Route: A stunning 66-mile drive that passes through some of the oldest trees on the planet
Time: There is a lot in these 66-miles. You could rip through it in a day, or savor the sites over a weekend
Roads: Your bike is going to get dirty on this drive. The gravel roads are well maintained, but it’s not pavement the whole way
Google Maps Full Route Guide: HERE
In this guide, we will take you through one of the best motorcycle drives in California, The Redwoods route. Starting in the northern forests of California, you can drive your motorcycle through this short, but fulfilling route tucked away in one of Americas most treasured locations.
To get in touch with the reality of how much of a speck of moving energy you are on the planet. You’ll need to stand next to a 1000-year-old Red Wood Tree towering hundreds of feet in the air. The awesome power of these ancient beauties is a steady reminder about how time can still pass at a slow, steady pace. Enjoy the drive.
Image: Davidnin via Flickr. A welcome sign at the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Fort Dick to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park 9-miles
You can’t really pick this route up from a major city and depending on where you’re coming from will depend on how you access the start of this road. If you’ve come off another one of our exciting motorcycle routes like the Oregon Coastline Drive (link article), that finishes up at Brookings, you can easily continue on from there. For the purpose of simplicity, we will start this route from Fort Dick.
Fort Dick is a bit like it sounds. A bit uninviting and lack-luster. Here you’ll likely just be grabbing a coffee here and pressing on. The Fort Dick Market is going to be your primary option for coffee and pastry stops in and around Fort Dick, and you'll appreciate its small-town feel.
After this quick caffeine fix, it’s time to hit the road and search out the Redwoods! From Fort Dick, you can head south on the 101 and turn east onto the 199 towards Hiochi, and the Hiochi visitors center.
Before arriving at the visitors center, you will want to take a short, dead-end, side trip up Walker Road. On Walker Road, you could do a couple of quick hikes up the Simpson-Reed Trail or Peterson Memorial Trail. Or, just take the scenic drive in and out to surround yourself with redwoods. On a motorbike, you'll get to feel the fresh air and smell the natural forest surrounding you. This short road is worth it.
Once at the Hiochi visitor center, you’ll be inside the stunning Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. The Jedediah park encompasses 10,430-acres of protected redwoods that run alongside the Smith River. This park was originally established in 1939 to become part of the California Coast Ranges International Biosphere Reserve. Named after Jedediah Smith, the man credited with being the first American to travel from the Mississippi River to California by land.
Once you’re walking around inside the park, see if you can find one of the three trees that tower over 350-feet! These are some of the tallest trees on the planet.
Image: @pnw_bassbarbie A look down into some the redwood giants
In the area, you can take a number of hikes of various lengths depending on your energy levels. The visitor center in Hiochi is your one-stop shop for getting all you pre-tree questions answered before venturing off into the forest on foot.
On the way out from the Hiochi visitors center, take the scenic route and get your bike a little dirty. The Howland Hill Road that goes out to the Boy Scout Tree Trail is an excellent way to take in the scenery. The road is gravel but in good shape. On this road, you can park and hike the Boy Scouts Tree Trail. A 5.5-mile round-trip hike to see the waterfalls that reward you at the end. Maybe pack a lunch and enjoy the tranquility of the area.
Hiking Options Near Hiochi
- Boy Scouts Tree Trail
- Stout Grove Trail
- Simpson-Reed Trail
- Peterson Memorial Trail
Image: wikiphotgrapher via Flickr. A stunning shot of the waves crashing outside of the iconic Battery Point Lighthouse along the California Coastline
Boy Scouts Tree Trail to Crescent City 6-miles
Riding the Howland Hill Road out of the Jedediah Park will land you in the cute, ocean-side, urban area of Crescent City. One of the best things to do while you’re in Crescent City is to ride out and visit the Battery Point Lighthouse and Museum. The lighthouse is well-maintained and chock full of antiques and artifacts relating to the area. In the summer months on the weekends, you can take guided tours. Note that the lighthouse is only accessible by foot when the tide is low. If you arrive at high tide, you'll just be getting selfies from the beach.
After the walk to the lighthouse at low tide, you'll likely be hungry to try the fresh seafood from the area. One of the more highly recommended places to stop for lunch or dinner in Crescent City is the Chart Room Restaurant. A locals hangout, the restaurant is well-reviewed and has previously been named Best Clam Chowder and Best Seafood in the readers choice awards.
Image: Kirt Edblom via Flickr The welcome arrival of another Sky Trail car at the lookout point for the Sky Trail at Trees of Mystery
Crescent City to Trees of Mystery 16-miles
Once you're ready to leave Crescent City, head south out of town on the 101 towards the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. The Del Norte Park is over 31,000-acres of protected area with about half of that being old-growth forest and 8-miles of coastline. The good news is that it’s very lush. However, you’ll want to pack your rain gear, up to 100-inches of rain can fall in the area yearly.
For those of you looking to sleep in the peaceful setting of ancient giants, you can camp inside the park at locations like the Mill Creek Campground. This particular camping spot takes you deep into the park off of the 101 right near the West Branch Mill Creek.
This part of the drive has some incredible sites and some incredible stops that will mix childhood memories with youthful curiosity. The Trees of Mystery will give you an opportunity to see the redwoods through the eyes of a legendary lumberjack, Paul Bunyan. They even give you the option to peer down into the ancient forest just like you would if you were a towering lumberjack.
The Trees of Mystery stop appears to be a tourist snare trap laid out to dislodge any remaining money from your biker jacket. However, guests ended up leaving satisfied with their time here and enjoyed a pleasant and interactive redwood experience like no other. Pulling up to the place you’ll be greeted by a 49-foot, 2-inch tall Paul Bunyan and a 35-foot tall Blue Ox named Babe.
Onsite the Trees of Mystery also has a gift shop, places to eat, and the Trail Ride Gondola that takes you 742-feet in the air over a 1570-foot journey, ending at a lookout point. Fun!
Image: visitredwoods.com A smiling biker makes his way through the giant redwood at the Kalmath Tour Thru Tree.
Trees of Mystery to Kalmath Tour Thru Tree 5.4-miles
Want to drive through a tree? Typically on a motorcycle, you'd want to avoid being inside a tree at all costs. Not all redwoods are created equal though, and some you can drive right through!
Just outside of Klamath is the Klamath Tour Thru Tree. An engineering feat that allows you to drive a mid-sized car or any sized motorcycle right through this mammoth, 5000-year-old redwood. Tickets are around $3 for a bike, and there is a little picnic area near the tree if you want to watch others stopping to get photos as they do the impossible, and drive right through a tree!
Image: Christopher Walker via Google A look at some of the Roosevelt Elk that makes the Prairie Creek Redwood State Park their home.
Klamath Tour Thru Tree to Prairie Creek Redwoods Visitors Center 13-miles
Once you’ve survived the magic of passing through a redwood, keep heading south until the turn for the Newton B. Dury Scenic Pkwy. This scenic road will take you riding through Prairie Creek Redwood State Park.
The Prairie Creek Park makes for an excellent drive with an abundance of exploration trails to get to know the area. This 14,000-acre park is also home to a herd of Roosevelt Elk. Getting out and hiking some of the trails, you can often find the elk out enjoying the park themselves. On a bike, you'll want to take some extra caution driving these roads.
Stop by the Prairie Creek Redwoods Visitors Center while you're passing through. They'll be able to point out the best hiking options for you and can point you to the location of a tree that grew around an elks skeleton.
Prairie Creek Redwoods Visitors Center to Thomas H. Kuchel Visitors Center 8.4-miles
As your last point of interaction with this incredible part of the planet. You can make your way off of the Scenic Pkwy Road and join back up with the 101 going south. This road follows a section of the Redwood Creek at the northwest section of the Redwoods National and State Parks.
To get your last bits of information on the area, stop into the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitors Center further down the road. The center can point you to numerous hiking options in the area and a few road options if your bike is ok with spending time getting dirty off-road. Inside and outside of the center are some interpretive displays. From here you can also walk down to the beach, have a picnic or camp nearby.
This last stop will wrap up the majority of exciting highlights in and around the redwoods area. From here you can continue driving south down the 101 following the coastline with the option to turn inland on the 299 towards Willow Creek. Or go further south until the road bends inland around Fortuna, then slowly goes further south.
Wherever you come from or wherever you’re headed, the California Redwoods drive is one that should be high on your list.