Avenue of the Giants

The Avenue of the Giants stretches alongside U.S. Highway 101, accessible between Exit 672 near Pepperwood and Exit 645. A typical drive on Highway 101 between these exits is around 25 minutes. Opting for the Avenue of the Giants, however, transforms the journey into a leisurely exploration that can last at least 2.5 hours, including time for a picnic and a stroll through the forest. 

If you take frequent breaks to capture photographs, the trip could even extend to a full day. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the top spots to visit along the route. Spanning approximately 31 miles along Highway 101, this route is not just a road but a destination in itself, rich with history, nature, and awe-inspiring sights that captivate visitors from around the world.

The Cultural and Historical Significance

Beyond its ecological importance, the Avenue of the Giants holds a special place in local culture and history. It has inspired countless artists, writers, and filmmakers, drawn by its mystical landscapes and the stories embedded within its groves. The Avenue’s impact on the local economy is significant, with tourism supporting many small businesses and community initiatives in the area.

What Is the Avenue of the Giants?

As indicated by its evocative name, the Avenue of the Giants is a 31-mile scenic route in Northern California, lined with towering coastal redwoods. Originally part of U.S. Route 101, the roadway was repurposed as a more tranquil, scenic alternative when a new freeway bypass was completed in 1960.

Now, it runs alongside the current Route 101, offering a picturesque and slower-paced journey. The road itself is mostly flat, providing numerous opportunities to park and venture into the forest via various trailheads to explore the natural beauty on foot.

The Natural Beauty of the Avenue

The Avenue of the Giants is enveloped by lush forests that are home to towering redwoods, some of which soar more than 300 feet above the ground. These ancient trees, many over 2,000 years old, create a canopy that dapples the road with sunlight and shadows, making a drive or walk through the avenue a serene experience.

The area’s unique ecology supports a diverse range of flora and fauna, contributing to a vibrant ecosystem that enchants nature enthusiasts and scientists alike.

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Major Attractions Along the Avenue

Among the many groves that line the route, Founders’ Grove and Rockefeller Forest stand out for their iconic trees and picturesque settings. The Immortal Tree, another famed landmark, tells tales of resilience, having survived floods, fires, and even a lightning strike.

Visitor centers along the Avenue, like the Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center, offer educational exhibits and detailed maps, enhancing the visitor experience with insights into the forest’s history and biodiversity.

How to Get Avenue of the Giants?

Accessing the Avenue of the Giants is straightforward. Simply take Exit 672 or Exit 645 from U.S. Highway 101, depending on your direction of travel. After taking the exit, avoid following any signs that direct you back to Highway 101 to ensure you don’t bypass any part of the Avenue. At the journey’s end, U.S. Highway 101 becomes the only route available.

While Exit 645 is labeled as the Avenue of the Giants Alternate Route, the term “alternate” simply indicates that the Avenue serves as an alternative scenic route to the main highway.

The road occasionally narrows, allowing two cars to pass through gaps between tightly spaced trees—so close, in fact, that they almost seem within arm’s reach. Despite these narrow spots, the road is still amply wide for larger vehicles, including RVs and those pulling trailers.

Avenue of the Giants from San Francisco

Avenue of the Giants from San Francisco

Traveling from San Francisco to the Avenue of the Giants offers a breathtaking journey through diverse Californian landscapes. The trip typically takes about four hours, covering approximately 230 miles northward along the U.S. Highway 101. As you leave the bustling cityscape of San Francisco and drive through the rolling hills of the wine country and pastoral beauty of the North Coast, the route gradually immerses you into the serene world of ancient forests. 

Reaching the Avenue of the Giants, visitors are welcomed by towering redwoods that stand as natural skyscrapers, creating a stark and awe-inspiring contrast to the urban environment they left behind. This drive not only highlights the scenic beauty of California but also serves as a gateway to one of the most majestic redwood groves in the world.

What is the Best Part of Avenue of the Giants?

The road is one of the highlights of this region, winding through curves that reveal increasingly impressive views of towering trees as you venture further into the forest. Scenic vistas similar to the ones described are frequent along the Avenue of the Giants, and approximately every half-mile, you’ll encounter signs directing you to another grove.

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Recreational Activities and Conservation Efforts

The Avenue of the Giants is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It boasts a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, such as the renowned Bull Creek Flats Trail. Visitors can enjoy picnicking at designated spots, camping under the stars, and participating in ranger-led tours that explore the deep history and ecology of the redwoods.

The preservation of the Avenue of the Giants is a testament to ongoing conservation efforts. Initiatives by both local and national organizations have played crucial roles in protecting these woods from logging and degradation. Visitors are encouraged to engage with conservation programs, learning about sustainable practices that help maintain the health and beauty of the redwoods for future generations.

Visitor Information

The Avenue of the Giants is accessible year-round, but the best time to visit is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and the foliage is vibrant. The route is well-equipped with facilities that cater to a diverse range of needs, ensuring that everyone, from casual tourists to serious naturalists, can enjoy what the Avenue has to offer.

Tips for Avenue of the Giants

The Avenue of the Giants is located within Humboldt Redwoods State Park, with the park’s visitor center situated in Weott. This area is a significant part of the scenic drive known as the Redwood Highway. As you drive, you might notice brown Auto Tour signs along the road. While these signs theoretically point towards noteworthy sights, the reality is that many are relatively ordinary.

  • Cellular service is largely unavailable along much of the Avenue, so it’s advisable to download a map beforehand or obtain a printed version.
  • Humboldt Redwoods hosts two marathon events annually, typically in early May and early October. These events can lead to closures of the Avenue of the Giants for up to six hours. For specific dates and more information, refer to the Avenue of the Giants Marathon website or the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon site.
  • Under California state law, if you’re driving slower than the traffic flow and accumulate a line of five or more vehicles behind you, you are required to pull over at the next safe opportunity to let them pass.
  • When driving from sunlit areas into shaded ones, the abrupt change in light intensity can impair your vision temporarily. This effect is exacerbated by dust on the outside and a filmy residue on the inside of your windshield. Keeping your windshield clean, both inside and out, helps mitigate this issue.

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Is Avenue of the Giants Worth It?

This renowned route, arguably the most picturesque drive through the redwoods, is often described as the world’s most spectacular forest drive. Flanked by gigantic trees, the 31-mile Avenue runs alongside Highway 101, providing a superb, albeit slower, alternative for traversing southern Humboldt County.


The Avenue of the Giants is more than just a road; it’s a portal to another time. It invites visitors to step back and contemplate the ancient beauty of the natural world, offering a profound connection to Earth’s past and a reminder of the importance of its preservation. Whether you’re seeking solitude among the giants or adventure along its trails, the Avenue offers an enchanting experience that resonates long after the journey ends.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Avenue of the Giants

What is the Avenue of the Giants?

The Avenue of the Giants is a scenic highway in Northern California that runs through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It is renowned for its magnificent coastal redwoods and some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world.

How long is the Avenue of the Giants and where is it located?

The Avenue of the Giants is approximately 31 miles long. It is located in Humboldt County, Northern California, and runs parallel to U.S. Highway 101.

Are there any specific attractions I should visit along the Avenue of the Giants?

Yes, notable attractions include the Founders’ Grove, the Immortal Tree, and the Visitor Center at Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Each location offers unique views and educational opportunities about the ancient redwoods.

Is there a fee to drive through the Avenue of the Giants?

There is no fee to drive along the Avenue of the Giants. However, some state park areas along the route may charge parking or day-use fees.

What are the best times of year to visit the Avenue of the Giants?

The Avenue can be visited year-round, but the best times are during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and the natural scenery is particularly vibrant.

Can I find accommodations near the Avenue of the Giants?

Yes, there are several options for accommodations ranging from campgrounds within the state park to hotels and inns in nearby towns such as Garberville, Redway, and Scotia.

Are there guided tours available on the Avenue of the Giants?

Yes, during peak tourist seasons, guided tours are often available, offering in-depth explorations of the redwoods. These tours can provide additional historical and ecological context to enrich your visit.