The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
Avenue of the Giants
The stretch of historic US‑101 through the redwood country of Humboldt County, frequently called the “Avenue of the Giants,” is lined by pristine groves of massive trees and provides boundless opportunities to come face-to-face with your own insignificance in nature’s greater scheme of things. If you tire of this display of natural majesty, or simply want to keep it in context with the modern “civilized” world, you’re in luck: Every few miles, amongst the stately trees, you’ll come upon shameless souvenir stands selling redwood burl furniture and chainsaw sculptures, as well as wonderfully tacky tourist traps like the Legend of Bigfoot. Many of these hyper-tacky attractions now exist only in memory (and on old postcards!), but none of the survivors is big or bold enough to detract from the main event—the big trees—and since they’ve been in operation since the early days of car-borne tourism, they’re as much a part of the redwood experience as the trees themselves. Most charge only a few dollars’ admission, so there’s not a lot to lose.
While you’re encouraged to stop at any and all of them—at least long enough to buy a postcard or two—the most tried-and-true attraction is the Trees of Mystery, marked by huge statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox along US‑101 in Klamath, well north of the official Avenue of the Giants. In Myers Flat is the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree, at 13078 Avenue of the Giants (old US‑101), which wagon-borne travelers drove through more than a century ago. Two more classics are found in the south: One of the best stops in redwood country, Confusion Hill in Piercy is one of those places where water runs uphill and the rules of physics seem not to apply, and there’s also a little railway train here that chugs uphill to a very nice grove of trees. Finally, at the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree, in Leggett off old US‑101 on Drive Thru Tree Road, drive your car through a 315-foot redwood tree, still growing strong despite the gaping hole in its belly.