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Here are just a few great places to experience Redwood country. We encourage you to go find your own, also!
No matter which highway you take to get to Klamath, or into Del Norte county, you'll drive through the redwoods along the way. IN Del Norte county are several exceptional drives, some that put you right in amongst 'em.
Stout Grove / Howland Hills Road - One outstanding drive is the Stout Grove / Howland Hills road. It starts on the east side of Crescent City and winds about 12 miles back through huge groves of redwoods, finally ending at slant bridge on highway 199. The road is generally good, although it's not paved. It has many narrow spots and tight curves, so motor homes and trailers are pretty much out. (unless you want to spend all day backing up and dodging Subarus.) You'll see many of these wonderful trees Up Close, and there are a few nice little creeks running through the area. Towards the North end of the drive you'll cross the Smith River, one of the west's Scenic and Wild rivers. It's probably the nicest place there is to see the redwoods from the comfort of your car. To get to the beginning of this great drive, take Elk Valley at the south end of Crescent City. You can only go east. At the corner of Elk Valley and Howland Hills take the Howland Hills road.
101 South of Klamath - Here's another great drive that starts just south of Klamath. In Klamath itself a great drive is out to the mouth of the Klamath River. Go south across the 101 bridge, take the exit, then turn west. This drive is part paved, part gravel but wide and smooth. Fantastic vistas of the ocean are yours and if it's the right time of year (August through October) you'll likely see a few whales.
Newton B. Drury / Prairie Creek Area - Prairie Creek is about 16 miles south of Klamath. Take the Newton B. Dury exit off of 101 to get to it. Prairie Creek is a large prairie in the midst of the redwoods, and is home to a large herd of native Roosevelt Elk. These elk are at home among the trees and out on the grassy expanse of the clearing. There is a park campground here, and some interpretive installations. Stop along the road and get some great pictures of the elk. PLEASE READ AND HEED THE SIGNS ALONG THE FENCE. Adult elk are as big as a horse and capable of causing great harm! They can be very aggressive and dangerous! Since the Newton B. Drury bypass WAS highway 101 up until a few years ago, the road is very good, and motor homes and trailers are not a problem. At the prairie itself, the edges of the road have been paved and considerably widened to allow and encourage people to pull over and have a look.
One really great, do not miss, place is Fern Canyon. There are a few Redwoods here, lots of Elk and a big spooky Spruce forest. AND the real gem of Fern Canyon, which I'll describe in a minute. Go south out of Klamath over the bridge. Continue past the Newton B. Drury bypass towards Orick. Just past where the four lane bypass ends you'll see signs pointing to Fern Canyon. Turn right there. The road is maintained dirt, but winding and narrow, so use due caution and forethought. Follow the signs to the park entrance, it's about three miles. This is a State Park so there is a use fee. This is Gold Bluffs State Park and has camp sites, picnic sites, and a really great beach. It backs up on some high bluffs and is usually warm here. But, the coolest thing here is Fern Canyon.
Fern Canyon - On the northern end of the beach is the entrance to Fern Canyon. This is a walk up an ancient creek bed into one of the most awesome natural sights you may ever see. The walls and part of the overhead are lined, neigh, carpeted with ferns. Criss crossing the overhead occasionally, are moss covered logs. The floor of the canyon is clean gravel. It is truly something worth taking the time to see. Our area (Klamath and Del Norte County) has Redwoods all through it, so just exploring on your own will reward you with the discovery of many interesting things and beautiful places.
Beaches - Down by the Ocean in Del Norte County many miles of secluded beaches await you here in Del Norte County. Surf fishing is generally excellent, and we even have a couple of "agate" beaches, where you can spend many entertaining hours sifting for agates. We also have great surf!
Have you ever seen an agate? They are small rocks, usually pea to grape sized, that are fairly translucent and usually have feathery patterns inside. Some have patterns on the outside and resemble tiny planets. Some are so clear, they resemble glass. Many are colored, usually in the yellow to red range. Occasionally you will find a green or blue one. You find them on the beach where the ocean has been turning and rolling them like a rock tumbler until they are shiny and smooth.You don't just find them anywhere, either. That's part of the thrill of hunting them.
Agate Hunting in Del Norte County - Crescent City has a really good agate beach. On your way through town, turn west on 9th street. Follow it west until it ends then turn north (right). The place you are looking for is about a mile north, and has a parking lot and a set of cement stairs leading down to the beach. The best time to find the big agates is right after a storm has settled down. The storm will have turned the beach gravel and brought in gravel from out in the surf. You don't need to look down by the surf line as there will not be any agates to speak of there, and besides, that's a good way to get soaked clear to your knickers. Try up among the rocks high on the beach. Look in the lee of a good sized rock and all along the edges. It's best if you get right down in the gravel, the agates are easier to spot that way. Slowly and lightly brush your hand over a small (1 foot by 1 foot) patch, moving just a thin layer of gravel at a time. Scan over it a couple of times before moving the next layer.
The Thrill of The Hunt - It's really a great thrill to find a big one, but many of the smaller ones are transparent enough that you can see right through them. They come in so many strange and evocative shapes, too. The really exceptional ones we take home and put in a mason jar full of water. They look great on the sill above the kitchen sink and are a nice reminder of the many restful hours spent sifting gravel in search of that one agate, clear as glass, shiny as a new bumper and the size of a Moa egg!
Tricks of The Trade - One little cheater trick is too look alongside the stairs going back up to the parking lot. Many people toss the agates they have found right there. (Guess they don't want to cart them home in their glove box, or maybe the kids found them and the parents think they are crab shells or something.) At the foot of the stairs is another little trick place to find "tossed" as opposed to "found" agates. I've outlined how we get down in the gravel to search a small area thoroughly, but there are others who seem to do as well or better by standing erect and covering a lot of ground looking down between their feet! I don't search this way because my neck gets a crick in it right away and then I have a hell of time looking up to see where I'm going.
Why Are We Doing This? - What's the big deal about agates, anyway? Well, it's kind of like finding a four leaf clover, or a twenty dollar bill in the parking lot of Walmart. A really good agate is beautiful indeed and they are hard enough to find that turning up one is a thrill.
Other Sites - The beach in Crescent City has been the most productive for me , but I am sure there are many others. I've heard of another place in Humboldt County that is supposed to have lots of BIG agates, (moa eggs). It's just south of Orick. The turn off is to the west across form the Little Red Schoolhouse. There. That should be enough clues. Good Hunting!