The Redwood Forest is home to large numbers of sequoia redwood trees, the largest trees (and also among the oldest and largest living things) on Earth. Located in a series of four parks (one national, three state), the redwoods here soar hundreds of feet into the sky and date back thousands of years. Collecticely the Redwood Forests are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.
The first Native American groups arrived in the Redwood Forest area around 1000 BC, and the forest has been inhabited ever since. The first western explorer to the area was Jedediah Smith in 1828. Logging became rampant in the area during an after the California Gold Rush, and it wasn’t until the 1920s that areas of the irreplaceable forest finally began to be protected. It wasn’t until 1968 that a national park was formally established.
The Redwood Forest spreads out over a large stretch of the Pacific Coast in Northern California. The main attractions of course are the various redwood species of the giant sequoia family. Most of the world’s record setting trees are here, including Hyperion, which at 379 feet in height is the tallest tree on Earth. Some of the trees in the park clock in at over 2,000 years in age.
The various Redwood Forest parks, collectively known as Redwood National and State Parks, incorporates the Del Norte Coast State Park, Jedediah Smith State Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (another park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, is not included). They are easily reached along the Pacific Coast Highway, and are popular both with day-trippers and hard core outdoor enthusiasts. Interestingly, the exact location of Hyperion is kept a secret to prevent it from being overrun by tourists. Web: www.nps.gov/redw (official website).