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10 Unique Redwood Experiences In California That You’ll NEVER Forget

Are you a fan of California’s majestic redwood trees?

If you think hiking is the only way to experience these majestic trees, think again! 

Get ready to discover some of the most unique and thrilling redwood adventures you’ve never heard of. 

From soaring high above the forest floor to kayaking through crystal-clear waters, there’s a redwood experience for everyone. 

These unforgettable activities will leave you in awe!

Get ready because we’re about to take you on a wild ride through the heart of California’s redwood forests!

1. Redwoods By River

Redwoods By River is a kayaking or rafting adventure offered by Redwood Rides in Redwood National Park. 

This experience is perfect for beginners and families, allowing you to paddle through clear, turquoise waters surrounded by ancient redwoods. 

As you glide along the Smith River, one of the cleanest rivers in the world, you’ll be in awe of the towering 300-foot redwood trees all around you. 

The trip can last from 2 to 6 hours, with options for half-day or full-day excursions. 

The half-day upper section float includes a side hike to Stout Grove which is renowned as the world’s most scenic redwood grove. 

For a more remote feel, the lower section float offers beautiful, less-frequented groves and small rapids. 

The full-day adventure combines both sections, featuring a picnic lunch and a relaxing paddle through Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park’s old-growth forests.

2. Trees of Mystery

Trees of Mystery is a fun and unique park in California’s Redwood National and State Parks. 

Located in Klamath, it features giant redwoods and numerous exciting attractions. 

You can walk along trails to see amazing tree formations like the Cathedral Tree and the Brotherhood Tree. 

The SkyTrail gondola ride offers stunning views of the redwoods from above and allows you to glide effortlessly amongst them.

At the top, you can explore the observation deck with breathtaking forest views. 

One of the best things to do at Trees of Mystery is their Redwood Canopy Trail which allows you to see the redwoods from a new perspective.

You’ll cross 8 suspension bridges and 10 platforms, some as high as 100 feet in the air, with beautiful views of the forest.

As you explore the trail, you’ll feel the gentle sway of the bridges and enjoy breathtaking sights of the lush foliage below and the sky above.

3. Falk

Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

Falk is an abandoned logging town hidden in the redwoods of the Headwaters Forest Reserve, not too far from Eureka. 

Once a bustling community in the late 1800s, it was home to loggers who worked in the surrounding ancient redwoods. 

Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

Many men, and some women, worked hard in this town harvesting giant redwood trees and turning them into lumber.

The town grew to over 400 residents and had a post office, a general store, places to eat and even a dance hall.

Although the town was abandoned in 1937 during the Great Depression, today you can still explore the remains of this historic town by walking along the peaceful forest trails. 

As you walk, you’ll see old foundations, relics, stumps of old redwoods that were logged and interesting signs telling the town’s story. 

Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

The towering majestic redwoods all around create a peaceful and mysterious atmosphere. 

It’s a great place to imagine life in a long-ago era while being surrounded by nature. 

4. Avenue of the Giants

The Avenue of the Giants is a scenic drive through California’s Humboldt Redwoods State Park. 

This famous road stretches for 31 miles, winding through some of the tallest and oldest redwood trees in the world. 

As you drive, you’ll be surrounded by towering redwoods that reach up to 300 feet high. 

There are plenty of places to stop, take photos and enjoy short walks among the giant trees. 

You can visit iconic spots like Founders Grove and the Immortal Tree which is over 1,000 years old. 

The road is easy to navigate and suitable for pretty much everyone. 

5. The Chandelier Tree

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Chandelier Tree is a famous redwood tree in Drive-Thru Tree Park. 

Located in Leggett, this giant tree has a 6ft-wide tunnel carved through its base. 

russellstreet / Flickr

You can actually drive your car right through the tree which is a truly unique and memorable experience. 

The tree stands 276 feet tall and is over 2,400 years old! 

The tunnel in the tree was actually cut out way back in the 1930s.

Besides driving through the tree, the park also has picnic areas and walking trails among the redwoods. 

It’s a great spot for families and photographers. 

6. Skunk Train

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Skunk Train is a historic train ride through the redwoods of northern California. 

Starting in either Fort Bragg or Willits, it takes you on a scenic journey through the beautiful Noyo River Canyon. 

As you ride, you’ll see towering redwoods, lush ferns and stunning forest landscapes. 

Images by John ‘K’ / Flickr

The train chugs along at a leisurely pace, crossing over trestle bridges and tunnels which makes it perfect for taking photos and enjoying the views. 

There are also open-air cars for a closer look at the nature around you. 

You might even hear the conductor share stories about the area’s history. 

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

It’s super interesting stuff as the Skunk Train has been running since 1885.

Riding the Skunk Train is perfect for those looking for a fun and relaxing way to experience the redwoods.

7. Big River Estuary

Kayaking at Big River Estuary in Mendocino is a peaceful and scenic adventure. 

As you paddle through the calm waters, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful redwoods and lush greenery. 

The estuary is home to many birds and wildlife, so keep an eye out for herons and otters. 

The water is super clear and reflects the towering trees which creates some truly stunning views. 

Kayaking here is great for beginners and families because the water is gentle. 

You can rent kayaks nearby and spend a few hours exploring the estuary or join a guided tour.

It’s a wonderful way to enjoy nature and see the redwoods from the water.

8. Redwood Canopy Tour

The Redwood Canopy Tour at Mount Hermon Adventures is an exciting zip line experience. 

Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this tour lets you soar high among the towering redwood trees. 

You’ll zip from platform to platform, getting a bird’s-eye view of the forest. 

The guides are extremely friendly and will teach you about the redwoods and their ecosystem. 

The tour includes several zip lines, sky bridges and rappels. 

It’s perfect for thrill-seekers, families or anyone who wants to see the towering redwoods from above.

Expect an unforgettable adventure as you glide through the majestic redwoods, getting a view of them that few people ever experience.

9. Redwood Forest Steam Train

Don DeBold / Flickr

The Redwood Forest Steam Train by Roaring Camp Railroads is a historic train ride through the towering redwood forest. 

Located in Felton, this 19th century steam train takes you on a scenic journey through the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

As you ride, you’ll see majestic redwoods up close and you’ll get to enjoy the peaceful forest all around you. 

The train chugs along at a leisurely pace so it’s perfect for taking in the views and snapping photos. 

The friendly conductors love to share interesting stories about the area’s history and the redwoods. 

The trip includes crossing various bridges and winding through lush, green forests. 

It’s pretty magical!

10. Airbnb Treehouse

Airbnb is a gold mine for finding interesting and unique places to stay across the world.

There are actually many redwood treehouses and cabins listed on Airbnb in California that you can rent for the night!

These unique treehouses and cabins are hidden deep within the ancient redwoods, providing a secluded retreat. 

You can relax in hot tubs, cozy up by fireplaces and enjoy views of the majestic trees through large windows. 

Each Airbnb has amenities like a well-equipped kitchen, comfortable beds and outdoor living spaces. 

You’ll feel close to nature whilst also enjoying modern comforts! These places don’t lack luxury. 

Activities like hiking, exploring nearby towns and visiting the coast are easily accessible. 

Here’s a few of the best Airbnbs amongst the redwoods that I’ve found:

Sophie Davis

Born and raised in the Bay area of California, Sophie is a California native. She joined our team in 2023 to create travel guides on California.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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