Awe-inspiring Adventure in the Grove of Titans & Giant California Redwoods [40 PICS]

April 7th, 2014 Permalink

Nature is calling, come out and play; explore and have an awe-inspiring adventure among the giant California redwoods. Here among the fog and trees, sunlight peaks through in god-beams, or crepuscular rays. It’s said that tree-loving people travel from all over the world to visit Redwood National and State Parks, which include Redwood National Park, Del Norte Coast, Prairie Creek and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks. They are not the only California parks with impressive redwoods; Muir Woods National Monument is a sight everyone should see at least once. Yet many visitors to Jedediah Smith will never behold the ginormous redwoods known as the Grove of Titans; that’s because their location is a “secret” in order to protect the massive and ancient trees. [40 Photos]

The Unexplored adventure in the Redwoods

The Unexplored. Nature is calling to you, asking if you can come out and play under the ginormous redwoods. These redwoods have huge diameters and are almost impossibly tall, like nature-made skyscrapers, trees taller than the iconic Statue of Liberty, from the base of her pedestal to the tip of her torch. Some folks who walk among the giants claim that the adventure is awe-inspiring and changed their lives. As naturalist John Muir, known as Father of the National Parks, once said, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” Photo #1 by m24instudio

Cathedral Grove Rainforest, redwoods

“Cathedral Grove Rainforest.” The photographer wrote, “The morning we got to Muir Woods the rain and fog were just clearing out, and all the plants and trees were covered with dew. It felt almost like a rain forest and the height and density of the trees makes it feel closed off from the rest of the world.” Put another way, “people do not just visit Muir Woods. They come from around the globe to pay homage to nature in this cathedral of redwoods. The trees’ ages range from 400 to 800 years, their height up to 250 feet.” Photo #2 by Justin Brown



James Irvine Trail, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

James Irvine Trail as seen during an impromptu afternoon hike at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The photographer noted, “Like kids in a candy store we were too excited and bit off more than we could chew; or, more accurately, we embarked on a more labor-some hike than the daylight hours would allow. We made it partway through The James Irvine Trail before we decided the light was a bit long and we had to head back. Sunset comes a few hours earlier in the old growth and dense forests of the Redwoods than along the coasts, especially when one is along a ridge.” Photo #3 by Justin Kern

Crepuscular rays, the coastal Redwood forests of northern California at sunset

Crepuscular rays, the coastal Redwood forests of northern California at sunset. The photographer noted, “When light comes … be ready! Or, if you are in the Redwoods, you may find that the light is always coming or going and the opportunity for great crepuscular rays (or sunbursts, sunbeams, godrays, godbeams, etc) is ample. It seems that the air here is always filled with a bit of sea mist, campfire smoke and other small particulate; and when one is amongst the tall, deep shadows of the redwoods, god beams are almost always visible.” Photo #4 by Justin Kern

At the base of a giant in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

At the base of a giant in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park; the park was named after explorer Jedediah Smith, the first American to travel by land from the Mississippi River to California in 1826. The park is one of four parks cooperatively managed as Redwood National and State Parks: They are Redwood National Park, California’s Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks. Photo #5 by drainhook

Lost Monarch in the Grove of Titans, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Lost Monarch in the Grove of Titans, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Lost Monarch, discovered in 1998, “is the name of a Coast Redwood tree in Northern California that is 26 feet (7.9 m) in diameter at breast height (with multiple stems included), and 320 feet (98 m) in height. It is the world’s third largest coast redwood in terms of wood volume.” The exact location of the Lost Monarch is a secret, as it is believed that revealing the precise location to the public would result in “excessive human foot traffic may upset the ecosystem or lead to vandalism.” The photographer said the Lost Monarch is “hiding in the damp forest where redwoods and ferns are in a perfect combination.” Photo #6 by Yinghai

Put the world in perspective at Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA

Put the world in perspective at Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA. Yelp reviewer Andrea T. said, “Exceptionally incredible. If you like trees. If you like solitude. If you like feeling the earth’s vibration – then go here.” This park encompasses nearly 53,000 acres, of which over 17,000 are untouched old growth coast redwoods. Photo #7 by Steve Dunleavy

Big Basin Redwood State Park in March 2014

Big Basin Redwood State Park in March 2014. The park brochure (.pdf) states: “California’s oldest state park—covering more than 18,000 acres from sea level to more than 2,000 feet elevation—launched the state park movement in California. Big Basin’s biggest attraction — literally — is a rare stand of awe-inspiring, ancient coast redwoods that are among the tallest and oldest trees on Earth. Some measure close to 300 feet tall and 50 feet in circumference. Scientists estimate that these trees may range from 1,000 to 2,000 years old.” Photo #8 by Christian Arballo

Stout Grove, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Stout Grove, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. According to Redwood Hikes, “Stout Grove is the world’s most scenic stand of redwoods. It’s not all that large, and it doesn’t have the biggest trees, but for sheer photogenic beauty nothing beats this extraordinary grove on a sunny afternoon.” Photo #9 by Steve Dunleavy

Redwood National Park footbridge, ferns redwoods

Redwood National Park. According to NPS ‘Did you know?’… “While oceans contain most of Earth’s carbon, about half stored on land in Redwood National and State Parks is in soils. The amount of carbon in the upper two meters of soil alone is ~14 million metric tons. That’s equal to 1% of total U.S. emission in a year!” The photographer wrote, “This pic is a little footbridge in the park, deep under the redwood canopy 300+ feet above.” Photo #10 by Steve Dunleavy

Prairie Creek State Park, James Irvine Trail, Cathedral Tree & an architect

Prairie Creek State Park, James Irvine Trail, Cathedral Tree & an architect helps you visualize the size. Trees of Mystery explained, “A live redwood that is knocked over will attempt to continue growing via its limbs. If undisturbed, the limbs pointing up will turn into trees in their own right, and this is indeed the source of many row groups of trees. Cathedral or family groups of trees are simply trees that have grown up from the living remains of the stump of a fallen redwood, and since they grew out of the perimeter, they are organized in a circle. If you looked at the genetic information in a cell of each of these trees, you would find that they were identical to each other and to the stump they sprang from. They are clones!” Photo #11 by rachel_thecat

Redwood Starburst, light rays, fog and giant redwoods

“Redwood starburst.” John Muir once said, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” Photo #12 by Craig Goodwin

Bear in the foggy Sequoia Redwoods forest

Bear in the foggy Sequoia forest. Although giant redwoods and giant sequoias may seem very similar, they are actually two distinct species. Did you know?…Giant Sequoias can live up to 3,000 years, have bark that can grow up to 3 feet thick, have branches that grow up to 8 feet in diameter, and can reproduce only by seed. In comparison, Giant Redwoods can live up to 2,000 years, have bark that can grow up to 12 inches thick, have branches that can grow up to 5 feet in diameter, and can reproduce either by sprout or seed. Photo #13 by Linda Tanner

Redwoods, green forest floor

Gorgeous green growing in the shadowy undergrowth of a redwood canopy. John Muir said, “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” Photo #14 by Justin Kern

The incredible canopy of the Muir Woods

The incredible canopy of Muir Woods. Wikipedia says “150 million years ago ancestors of redwood and sequoia trees grew throughout the United States. Today, the Sequoia sempervirens can be found only in a narrow, cool coastal belt from Monterey, California, in the south to Oregon in the north. Before the logging industry came to California, there were an estimated 2 million acres of old growth forest containing redwoods growing in a narrow strip along the coast. By the early 20th century, most of these forests had been cut down.” Just north of the San Francisco Bay is this old-growth coastal redwood forest now known as the Muir Woods National Monument. “On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a National Monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual.” Photo #15 by Justin Kern

Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) on Jedediah Smith Redwoods Mill Creek Trail

Big leaf maple on Mill Creek Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Redwood Hikes explains, “This trail follows Mill Creek for four miles through sunny moss-encrusted woodlands. The trail offers a nice variety of streamside scenery, but despite some nice old-growth redwood groves along the way, there aren’t a lot of really dramatic redwoods to be seen. This is in part because the big redwoods don’t grow right along the creek. The trail hints at the greatness of Jed Smith’s redwoods but doesn’t dive into them.” Photo #16 by Miguel Vieira

HDR Panoramic shot of Stout Grove, Humboldt County, California

HDR Panoramic shot of Stout Memorial Grove. NPS wrote, “Stout Grove, a majestic example of an ancient coast redwood forest, is often considered to be the heart of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. In 1929, Mrs. Clara Stout donated this 44-acre grove to the Save-the-Redwoods League to save it from being logged and to memorialize her husband, lumber baron Frank D. Stout. A walk along this loop trail reveals colossal redwoods thriving in rich soil deposited during periodic flooding of the Smith River. Here, waist-high sword ferns carpet the forest floor and normally flared tree bases stop short, covered in river soils. Flood waters inhibit the growth of understory trees and plants seen in other groves, leaving the 300-foot redwoods on display. A short spur trail leads you to the serpentine waters of the Smith River.” Photo #17 by Michael Holden

Lush forest of redwoods and ferns

Lush forest of redwoods and ferns as seen in February 2014. “My first visit to Muir Woods,” wrote the photographer. “I’ve spent quite a bit of time around the Bay Area, and surprisingly, I’ve never visited the Muir Woods until today. I was hoping for rain, fog, and less of a crowd, and I didn’t get any of those, but it does have a lot of potential for another visit.” Photo #18 by Beau Rogers

Muir Woods Walkway, redwoods

Muir Woods walkway. The photographer wrote, “As crowded as it was on a no-admission Saturday at the Muir Woods, patience helped me with this image. I just had to wait for a gap between all the visitors. This probably wouldn’t have been possible later in the day… tour buses were rolling in just as I was leaving.” Photo #19 by Beau Rogers

Old Man of the North, huge burl on giant redwood, Grove of Titans

In the Grove of Titans where 10 monstrously huge treef were “hidden” until 1998. How can that be? In part because finding them included pushing through a “thick underbrush taller than a man.” Left: Old Man of the North (also known as El Viejo del Norte) is 323 feet tall with a diameter of at least 23 feet, the 5th largest coastal redwood in the world. The photographer wrote, Old Man of the North is “my favorite in the Grove of Titans. It’s not just huge. It has character, with the big claw and branches falling all the way down like a dress. Simply beautiful.” Right: “Huge burl on a very broad redwood in the Grove of Titans.” Grove of Titans added that Old Man of the North “is easily recognized by its very distinctive burl, which can been seen from Mill Creek Trail.” Photo #20 by Yinghai & #21 by Yinghai

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, mossy trunk in Simpson-Reed Grove

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, mossy trunk in Simpson-Reed Grove. Redwood Hikes says of the Simpson-Reed Trail: “In contrast to the open, cathedral-like appearance of Stout Grove or the Boy Scout Tree Trail, the Simpson-Reed Trail has an unusually dense, jungle-like look, with greenery covering almost every available surface.” Photo #22 by Brian Hoffman

Lost Monarch, redwood grove

Lost Monarch, the largest coastal redwood by volume on earth, is 320 feet high and has a diameter of at least 26 feet when measured at breast height, making it “as wide as small house.” Lost Monarch is one among 10 of world’s largest trees in the Grove of Titans. The other nine “titans (name given to the largest redwood trees) encircle this ancient king, including the Del Norte titan, the fourth largest coastal redwood; the El Viejo Del Norte titan (‘the old man of the north’), the fifth largest; and the unforgettable ‘Screaming Titans,’ twin titans whose joined base boasts a colossal 30 foot diameter.” Photo #23 by Matt Roe

Hiking Fern Canyon, California Coast Redwoods

Hiking the 30 to 50 feet (9.1 to 15.2 m) deep ravine known as Fern Canyon, located in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. It was described by Michael S as “An unmatched natural beauty of vertical walls covered in ferns. Like no other place on Earth. Imagine walking through a narrow canyon where the walls are completely covered by luxuriant ferns and mosses and are dripping with moisture like constant mini waterfalls. A stream flows down the middle offering a challenge to your hike. An unforgettable natural wonder that is so beautiful and prehistoric looking with all the giant ferns, five different kinds of them, that Steven Spielberg chose Fern Canyon as a location for Jurassic Park The Lost World.” Photo #24 by Alex Green

Fern Falls on Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Boy Scout Tree Trail

Fern Falls, in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, can be seen when hiking the Boy Scout Tree Trail. NPS said, “Allow at least half a day to enjoy this outstanding trail, which leads you deep into the old-growth forest before concluding at Fern Falls.” Photo #25 by Miguel Vieira

Boy Scout Tree

Boy Scout Tree on Boy Scout Trail in Jed Smith SP. This Boy Scout Tree is a double redwood, named due to its discovery by a local Boy Scout troop leader. An article from 1931 reported this tree was the largest yet discovered and was 31 feet in diameter. “The big tree is 87 feet in circumference, it being of oval shape, and was probably at one time two separate trees. The trees have merged and grown together until they reach a height of 250 feet above the ground.” Photo #26 by NAParish

Redwood Rays through the fog, crepuscular rays, starburst in coastal redwoods

Redwood NPS asks, Did you know?…”Fog accounts for up to one-fourth of the precipitation needed so the mighty coast redwoods can survive. While you hike, fog drip is a good thing!” Left: Sunlight rays filter through an ancient coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forest. Right: Sunlight filtering through coast redwoods and fog. Photo #27 by NPS & #28 by NPS

In awe of the beautiful giant redwoods in California

In awe of the beautiful giant redwoods in California. Photo #29 by Margaret Killjoy

Crepuscular rays, sunlight shining through the redwoods at Redwood National and State Parks

Crepuscular rays, sunlight shining through the redwoods. Did you know?…By the time Redwood National Park was created in 1968, nearly 90% of the original redwood trees had been logged. How sad is that? Photo #30 by Fovea Centralis

Trillium Falls, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

The trail for Trillium Falls, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, is described by NPS as: “The trail leads you through the misty hallways of an ancient redwood home. Along the path, families of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce reside under the shade of the world’s tallest trees. The forest floor creates a moist sanctuary for red tree voles, Pacific giant salamanders, and banana slugs. Along the creek, scattered patches of silky white trillium bloom in the spring. Near the waterfall (a 10-foot cascade over deep green, moss-covered rocks), the heavy, sloping limbs of big-leaf maple reach out in every direction.” Photo #31 by Justin Kern

Scars of flames remain in the Grove of Titans

Scars of flames remain in the Grove of Titans. Photo #32 by drainhook

Grove of Titans, climbing a redwood

Climbing a redwood in the Grove of Titans. Photo #33 by drainhook

Redwoods of northern California, splash of green

How many tree lovers does it take to hug a redwood titan? I’m not sure, but I wish I could magically transport you there and we could find out. Photo #34 by Brian Hoffman

Del Norte Titan, Screaming Titans in the secret Grove of the Titans and foggy Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

Man compared to Screaming Titans in the secret Grove of the Titans. Where did the name Screaming Titans come from? Elliott Almond said: “The story goes the two men crawled, clawed and otherwise bushwhacked some seven hours through dense, remote forestland 15 years ago when suddenly encountering the Titans grove with some of the world’s most noteworthy redwoods. One of the young men screamed after tumbling into the understory and then looking up to see a huge redwood. The tree became known as the Screaming Titans because it was two trees connected at an ample base.” Right: Foggy Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. The park, “established in 1927, has approximately 50% old growth coast redwood and 8 miles of wild coastline.” Photo #35 by H Dragon & #36 by Minette Layne

Hiking in the Grove of Titans

Hiking in the Grove of Titans. Of Jed Smith SP, Redwood Hikes wrote, “The park’s largest trees, particularly the Grove of Titans and the nearby Del Norte Titan, can’t be seen by most visitors, as their location has been kept a secret to protect the trees from damage. The fact that this legendary grove of monster trees is somewhere out there in the wilderness gives the park something of an air of mystery. Judging from the faint trails that now lead to these trees, though, the secret hasn’t been very well kept.” Photo #37 by Matt Roe

Among the giants, Redwood National Park

Among the giants, Redwood National Park. “Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean,” ~ quote by John Muir. Photo #38 by Brendon Burton

A gift from God Looking up at the redwoods in Muir Woods

“A gift from God,” the photographer called these redwoods in Muir Woods before quoting John Muir ~ “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” Photo #39 by Robert Couse-Baker

James Irvine Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

James Irvine Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The photographer explained, “The knots that you see on the side of the trees are tumors. A common form of tree tumor is the crown gall disease, which is the source of all that burl wood that you see in the dashboards of expensive cars. These tumors are formed as a consequence of infection by bacteria.” Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful shot. Nature is calling, come out and play; explore and have an adventure among the giant California redwoods. Photo #40 by Justin Kern

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