In 1850 there were more than 2,000,000 acres of Redwood Forest along the California coast. By 1968, unrestricted clear-cut logging had reduced the forest to a mere 10% of its original size — 90% of the trees had been destroyed!
The Sierra Nevada Mountains contain the last survivors of the Sequoiadendron giganteum species of Redwood, from which Sequoia National Park derives its name.
The coast of Northern California, from the border with Oregon down past San Francisco Bay, are home to the last coastal Redwood forests, which are comprised of several species of Redwoods.
The images here on alandersen.com were taken in the Northernmost Redwood groves of California, up around Crescent City, in the Redwood National and State Parks.
The Redwood National and State Parks was created to preserve the remaining old growth temperate rain forests along the Northern California coast. It consists of the Redwood National Park and the California Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks. The combined federal and state parks total 133,000 acres, or about 45% of the remaining California Redwood forests.
A couple of tips for better images and experiences:
Get to the groves early to beat the dappled light and the influx of tourists and RVs/SUVs.
The trees are huge and your impulse is to make mostly vertical images. Horizontal images are better at capturing the expanse of the forest. Try to include a hiker now and then to better represent scale.
The magical mist appears when it wants to, but a good time to find it is between 9am and 11am, especially on the Del Norte coastal trail which is difficult trail to hike.
Wear good ankle-protecting hiking boots! Wear appropriate outer-layers! Roots and rocks are going to try and take you down, and fog and mist are going to try to chill you out.
Be aware of wildlife. Black bears are mostly docile, unless they feel threatened. Female black bears with cubs will likely consider you to be a threat.
I will always remember the time I spent in these forests, especially the coastal trail in the Del Norte Coast forest just South of Crescent city — 10 miles of pristine coastal forest and mist all to myself, where I got amazing images and almost broke my leg three times within a quarter mile while descending those steep rocky switchbacks above Nickle Creek.