I saved my favorite for last. We visited Prairie Creek Redwoods twice. The first time, we did a long, 15 mile, hike that started at the visitors center, where we saw the elk herd grazing in a meadow. From there, we took James Irvine to Fern Canyon. Fern Canyon was really cool. Just an unbelievable amount of green there. Then there was a mile of walking along an undeveloped stretch of beach, which was harder than it sounds. The sand was very soft and smooshy, which made every step an effort. Then it was back to the beginning on Miners Ridge. Just a lovely trip all around, with so many different things to see.
The second visit to the park was a shorter hike, but the part I liked the most, which I didn’t really capture in my photos well, was along Prairie Creek itself. The ancient trees there are so enormous and many of them are strange- gnarled and twisted. You get the feeling they must have some real stories to tell. And this park as a whole is very lush and feels quite wild. If there’s anywhere you feel like a dinosaur could appear at any moment, this is it.