Last Fall, after spending 7 months diligently social distancing and quarantining, I decided to take a short trip out of the Bay Area to get some much needed fresh air. I wanted to go some place relatively close that we could still avoid people, and I decided on the Northern California Coast and Redwoods near Trinidad. (At the time, cases were still low before the spikes that came in late Fall/Winter)
I decided to stay in an Airbnb to avoid human contact as much as possible, and we spent 4 nights enjoying the Redwoods and Coast. Here are my favorite things we did while in Trinidad
Avenue of the Giants On your way north from the Bay Area, Avenue of the Giants is your first opportunity to stop and see the redwoods. We actually made the stop on our way home and ended up not spending a lot of time here because it wasn’t as impressive as the groves we saw near Trinidad. Still, it was a fun stop and gives you a great opportunity to literally drive through groves of Redwoods.
Redwood National Park, Lady Bird Johnson Grove If you don’t have a ton of time to stop and see the Redwoods, make sure this grove is on your list to see. This easy trail takes you through an amazing grove of Redwoods, featuring these beautiful massive trees on a peaceful hike. This is just a few miles off the highway, so you’ll get a less noisy (from cars) experience compared to Avenue of the Giants.
Redwood National Park, Tall Trees Grove This was by far my favorite place during our entire trip, and I highly recommend for everyone to go here. To access this grove you do need a permit, so plan ahead. During covid restrictions, the permit process was done online and you’re emailed your permit the day before. You cannot access this grove/hike without a permit, as you will need a code to pass through a gate before driving 7 miles down a gravel path to start your hike.
The grove itself is home to some of the tallest and oldest Redwood trees. I love how remote and quiet this grove is. There is absolutely zero noise from cars since you’re pretty far from any main roads, unlike the previous two stops. Photos do not do this grove justice, but it was beyond magical to be in the presence of these huge trees.
Patrick’s Point State Park for Sunset Patrick’s Point State Park is beautiful park on the coast just north of Trinidad. Patrick’s Point Trail is an amazing place to view the sunset over the Pacific Ocean, and the colors that cascade across the rocky coast are amazing. You can also view the sunset from nearby Wedding Rock, pictured above left, but of the few times I’ve been, it’s been really windy and not as enjoyable.
Trinidad State Beach Another great spot for sunset, but also for hanging out during the day. We spent a whole day here after enjoying brunch in Trinidad, just relaxing and watching the waves crash. You can also hike nearby Trinidad Head, a short loop trail around the rocky outcropping along the ocean.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Home to more Redwood groves and scenic drives. Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is like a mini, quieter version of Avenue of the Giants. You can get spectacular views of Redwoods and some really tall trees right from your car. I liked how quiet this road was and how easy it was to park and take a quick walk into the forest. This is also supposed to be a great place to spot Elk, but we didn’t see any on our way through.
Fern Canyon Also within Prairie Creek Redwoods SP, Fern Canyon is a lush riverbed with fern covered walls that feels like you’re in a Jurassic Park movie. Which is kinda true, because apparently they filmed some scenes in this very canyon for the movies. I definitely recommend bringing waterproof shoes, or an extra pair of dry shoes because your feet will probably get wet walking up the river through the canyon.
I loved my time in Trinidad and exploring the redwoods and it was the perfect socially-distanced trip after being cooped up all summer. I would love to go back again. Have you been to Trinidad?