Week 4: Camping in the Redwoods

Luckily we didn’t have far to drive for our fourth week of life on the road. This weekend we traveled about 200 miles or so down the Oregon Coast Highway (Highway 101) to camp in the Redwoods of northern California. We’d never been there before and I guess other than seeing really huge trees, didn’t know what to expect.

Driving Highway 101 to Crescent City, CA

Watch for sharp curves and sudden stops along Highway 101

Highway 101 is a beautiful drive, between the tall trees and regular ocean views, it’s pretty great! But it is very curvy and hilly. For a big rig like ours, that can mean slow driving. Two words of caution here: Watch for sudden stops and sharp curves. The curve pictured here must have been too much for a van. We arrived just as a tow truck pulled it from the oncoming traffic side of the road. We had to come to a sudden stop when this happened — so be very attentive and allow for room between you and the car in front of you, particularly if you’re driving a big rig that needs more space to stop.

Additionally in between Seal Rock and Florence, Oregon there is a tunnel which has a curved roof. While the top of the tunnel cleared our fifth wheel just fine, but we had to hug the center line because the right side of the tunnel had a shorter clearance than our camper. That was a little nerve-wracking for me. But we did just fine.

One final note: we have a diesel truck but no matter if yours uses gasoline or diesel, fuel is about a dollar more expensive in California than in Oregon. So despite Crescent City, California being closer to our campground, we drove back up the coast to Brookings Oregon (about 10 miles) to fuel up. So plan accordingly.

Hiking with Dogs in the Redwoods

At Ramblin Redwoods RV Park

Being in the Redwoods did not disappoint. The Ramblin’ Redwoods Campground and RV Park is one of the best campgrounds we’ve stayed at. We were there for a full week.

We quickly learned that construction was causing hours in delays on Highway 101 if you traveled south of Crescent City. So we stayed north of that and hiked with our dogs just off Walker Road within Jedediah State Park which was recommended by the National Park Service website. It was everything we’d imagined and more. Tree trunks were as wide as vehicles and hundreds of feet tall. Amongst the trees there were a few that had been struck by lightning and hollowed out by what we can only think was a smoldering fire. Our dogs had a chance to cool off in a shallow, rocky stream that wove its way through the forest.

While there were a lot of people at this location, Walker Road is pretty long and there are several trails off of that road. So you can drive past all the folks who park right at the entry and find a place along the side of the road a little farther in. There is a bathroom facility at the entry as well.

We also went to Oregon for a little ocean sight-seeing. We went to Secret Beach and Arch Rock. Both are cool places to see. Arch Rock is an easy walk to the view point and has picnic tables and rest rooms if you want to land there for a few hours. Secret Beach is: 1. not so secret and 2. NOT easy to get to the beach — particularly if you have older dogs with you. The trail down is pretty steep, and then you have to climb down some slanted rocks to get to the beach. Bella ended up getting up and down the rocks just fine but it was a little dicey for a few minutes.

Where go in Crescent City?

Well, the answer to this question, in our experience, is — there’s not much to see here. Crescent City lies on the ocean and there is a nice beach on the south side of town that we saw people enjoying.

In each location we stay, we try to hit up at least two restaurants, Crescent City made this very difficult. The ones we thought could be interesting were mostly walk-up service. There were a few dine-in restaurants but they just didn’t seem to be what we were looking for. So we actually left Crescent City and went 20+ miles north to Brookings, Oregon.

We had a meal at O’Holleran’s Steakhouse and Lounge and Oxenfre Public House during our time there. O’Holleran’s was a more consistent experience between Joel and I. My experience at Oxenfre was great but Joel was not very impressed. We didn’t think it would be so difficult to find good restaurants in this area but it was — for us anyway.

Overall, we would love to go to the Ramblin’ Redwoods RV Park again, but if you don’t already live in that area of California or Oregon, just know it takes much longer to get anywhere. Between the two weeks in Oregon and the Redwoods, we didn’t see an interstate that whole time. This definitely provided us with a very local experience, which we enjoyed, but we were happy to see I-80 when we drove back east to get to our next destination: Flaming Gorge (Utah/Wyoming border).