The drive into Richardson Grove State Park on US-101 is one you won’t soon forget. Here one of the largest stands of roadside old-growth coast redwoods in California shoot skywards hundreds feet overhead, dwarfing the vehicles below. What you see from the road, however, is only a taste of what the park has to offer; you’ll need to pull off of the highway and explore this remote southern Humboldt redwood grove on foot for the full experience.
Originally established in 1922 as a concession containing 120 acres of redwoods, Richardson Grove has since grown to encompass over 2,000 acres and become a beloved public land holding within the California State Park system. In addition to the virgin coast redwood trees, some of which exceed 1,000 years in age and heights over 300 feet, the park is home to a scenic stretch of the South Fork of the Eel River complete, copious wildlife, shaded campgrounds and numerous hiking trails all worth exploring.
Not surprisingly, summer is the park’s busiest time of year, and vacationers come from near and far to camp under Richardson Grove’s giant trees. Huckleberry and Madrone campgrounds offer year round access, and Oak Flat is a seasonal summertime campground. Summer also brings the heat, turning attention to the river's calm waters that draw in both locals and visitors alike to cool off in Richardson Groves multiple swimming holes. Family-friendly beaches, deep pools and jumping rocks make for a fun and refreshing way to spend a mid-summer's day. During winter the same river waters are popular with anglers fishing for Eel River steelhead and salmon.
Richardson Grove is also home to multiple hiking trails ranging from an ADA-accessible Grove Nature Trail, which explores some of the grandest trees in the park, to longer and more strenuous loops. For those looking to get out beyond the park's core, the Toumey Trail and Lookout Point Loop are good options. A visitor center and picnic facilities are also available.