There are few places in this country more iconic than the redwood forest. It’s the dream of every station wagon vacationing family since the 1950’s. And, for that reason, and a good one it is, it is a must visit on any self-respecting trip to the Pacific North West.
Redwood National Park
The Redwood National Park isn’t like most national parks in the US. There are no official entries where fees are collected. Rather, it’s a large general area that also randomly encompasses Redwood State Park and several smaller state parks.
Despite this limited “fee official” status, dogs are still relegated to roads only and can’t be taken on trails throughout the parks.
Since we are still a bit hesitant with Rizzo in the RV (check out the damage from two years ago), we like to take her as many places as we can. In researching places to take dogs, Cal-Barrel Rd came up as an old, retired logging road within Redwood National Park off Newman P Drury Scenic Parkway that was dog friendly. However, be sure to follow directions rather than the Google navigation which put us on a very active logging road, also called Cal-Barrel, off of Hwy 101. The logging truck wasn’t very happy to see us driving on their private, still-in-use road.
Once we did find the official Cal-Barrel Rd, the hike was well worth it. Majestic redwoods towered over us.
While these coastal sequoias aren’t as big around as the ones in Sequoia National Park, they are often taller. Despite that, these trees have a tendency to fuse together in a symbiotic way creating MASSIVELY large trunks that appear to be one tree.
Then there are the ones that have raised root systems causing little “Hobbit Houses” under the tree. Hobbit houses large enough for me!
Also along this road, we spotted two adult male elk. They really didn’t care that we were there at all.
I highly recommend this as a dog friendly alternative to the park trails.
The Coastal Drive Loop
This mostly one-way, mostly gravel road might be overlooked but it’s well worth the trip. Along this road, you’ll get plenty of ocean overlooks and the benefit of two very cool, nearly forgotten sites.
As you come to the turn off from Klamath Beach Rd to Coastal Drive Loop, you’ll notice two bear statues off to the right. These bears are all that remains of the original bridge crossing the Klamath River to the city of Klamath on the other side. Unfortunately, the bridge and much of the town were washed out in major flooding in 1964. The town rebuilt further upriver on higher ground.
The new bridge paid homage to the old by placing gold bear statues on either end.
Also along the Coastal Drive Loop, keep your eyes open for a single interpretive sign on the left side of the road. If you happen to catch it, you’ll get out to find two buildings that look a lot like old farm houses. However, these buildings are all that remain of disguised World War II Radar stations. They were staffed by soldiers and civilians who would alert communications centers in San Francisco if they spotted any suspicious boats or planes in the area.
Any chance we can get to let Rizzo off leash for a bit is a lot of fun. Klamath Beach is an almost deserted strip of beach protected by a sand spit reaching almost all the way across the mouth of the Klamath River. And Rizzo had a blast stretching her legs and running at full speed up and down the beach.
The Triumph and Tour Thru Tree
Just before our trip, we added a new toy for our adventures, a Triumph 900 adventure bike. This is the first time we’ve gotten to take her out for a ride. We did the Coastal Drive Loop and then took her over to the Tour Thru the Tree. Granted, it’s not like driving a car through but there’s no way our big beast of a truck would fit so this was a bit more exciting!
Trees of Mystery
Twenty two years before there was a national park to honor these giants, there was the privately held nature attraction, Trees of Mystery.
Some might say this is nothing more than a tourist trap. They might be right but heck, I’m a tourist so I’m in!
Most of the park, including the gift shop and Skytrail gondola are dog friendly.
The only area we couldn’t take Rizzo was on the Canopy Tour along rope bridges in the air.
This park was full of amazing facts about how redwoods are connected and often fuse together to support one another. This shows up in how you can see multiple trees growing from one base or how it appears as though trees are growing on top of fallen trees.
And we love an oversized statue of any sort!
Including this oversize mosquito which is foreshadowing the stop to come.
The RV Park – Klamath River RV Park
This park was a grassy meadow surrounded by forest on three sides and the Klamath River on the fourth. The site was pull through and grassy. Most sites allowed for adequate spacing though ours was a tad snug if we had a neighbor (we usually didn’t). They had a great laundry facility and bathroom/showers. And the staff was super friendly!
The wifi was about 50/50 AMAZING and non-existent. When it worked, it worked great. We did use the WeBoost which helped a lot.
My only other complaint is that dog walking areas are somewhat limited. They try to limit grassy areas to people and that’s pretty much the whole park. There’s one pet “trail” through the woods that is pretty overgrown and very buggy.
Miles hiked at this stop – 14
Animal Sightings to date – 6
Book & Movie Recommendations
E.T. – Elliot’s famous bike ride was filmed in Redwood National Park.
Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman – An African monkey carrying a highly contagious disease is released into the Redwood forest.