Founder’s Grove stands just east of Highway 101 near Weott, Calif.
Fifty years is nothing to a redwood. But since people like big round numbers, it’s worth noting that California’s Avenue of the Giants—a winding 32-mile road south of Eureka that traverses the world’s largest stand of old-growth coast redwoods—turns 50 this year. Running parallel to Highway 101 between Garberville and Scotia, the route skirts a number of 300-foot-tall trees that were already several centuries old during the fall of ancient Rome.
As befits such a timeless scene, a drive along the avenue shouldn’t be rushed. “The slower the better,” says Ruskin Hartley, executive director of the Save the Redwoods League in San Francisco. “It’s like taking a hike through the redwoods in your car.”
Autumn is an especially inviting season. Dogwood Founder’s Grove stands just east of Highway 101 near Weott, Calif.and maple leaves add spots of red and orange to the backdrop of green and brown, and occasional cool rains freshen the air and the forest floor. Plan ahead to raft the Eel River or stay at one of several campgrounds; you can walk the half-mile Founder’s Grove nature trail or simply pull into a turnoff and start exploring at any time. Not a bad way to celebrate an anniversary. (707) 946-2263, avenueofthegiants.net.