Have you heard about the Northern California Redwoods? Odds are good you probably have, especially if you are a regular reader. Last time I wrote about the redwoods, we were driving our car through one (see here). This time we parked the car.
Finding our Favorite Movies
After leaving the Chandelier Tree and heading North toward Crescent City, there lies almost nothing but coast and redwood forest. We had read a few pins (link if you can) that spoke of Ewoks, Endor, and our favorite Movie series that were taped in these very forests.
The original Star Wars trilogy used some of the Redwood forests to tape some of the Endor scenes- and as you drive north up 101 you’ll really start to expect speeder bikes and Ewoks.
We had really wanted to find something official looking that said “Han and Leai were here” but not only could we find no sign but we couldn’t find any specific information tying the movie ANYWHERE specific in the Redwoods. We finally decided to just pick a patch of trees and shout ‘This is the place’ and bald face lie to the kids.
I hear you judging. You sit in a car with 3 kids and 2 cats for 5 hours and see what acts of lowness you are willing to commit.
Thankfully for all of us, the Ranger Station sent us packing. She let us know that we weren’t even in an old enough patch of Redwoods. Grabbing a map, she gave us directions that took us past our hotel and further inland than we expected the woods would be. She said that for sure some of the filming happened there, though to be honest, many of the old growth woods were used in the movie. (Hey Speilberg, can we get specifics on this? My kids want to know.)
We dropped the cats off at the hotel and checked in, and then we checked out the woods.
She told us there were two routes in, Howland Hill Road or 199. She warned us that Howland Hill was dirt, and that we would need to wash the van afterward. So we went on 199, not realizing that we would have to take Howland either way.
But the view- Oh was it worth it. Over and over I wanted to park the car and just take in the beauty of the woods.
Up until we hit the dirt road which may have been far more dust than dirt. Then I wouldn’t have rolled down the window for anything. It looked like a dusting of snow had covered the world.
We drove until we were sure that we weren’t going to find the park- When suddenly we came upon the parking lot sign!
We parked the car, and started the short hike.
Take a Hike
There’s nothing really that says “Skywalkers Partied Here” which we found disappointing, but it had enough of the Endor vibe to make us happy.
Maybe Leia hide behind this tree. Probably not, but it made us happy to pretend.
Either way the .5 mile hike down and back was worth taking. This was the biggest tree we have ever seen, so we got some random wonderful person to take our photo as we showed off HOW big this tree is:
We needed a few more families to make it all the way around! The woods were at the perfect moment of the sun setting to get some amazing photos.
I love the way light looks in the forest.
So head on up to Crescent City area, to Stout Grove in Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park. Did I mention- it was totally free?
Go get your explorer on