Feb 112013

The Avenue of the Giants offers more than the majesty of towering redwoods. This 31-mile route also passes through several small hamlets that give a glimpse into the history of Humboldt County.

The towns along the Avenue, once closely tied to the timber industry, now rely more on the tourists who come to see the redwoods, swim in the Eel River and visit Humboldt Redwoods State Park. At the south end of the Avenue of the Giants is Phillipsville, which has restaurants, a grocery store, a motel, numerous visitor attractions and several river access points. Further north is the town of Miranda, surrounded by redwoods and boasting a growing community of artists. Here you’ll find lodging and dining. Myers Flat, north of Miranda and in the heart of the redwoods has a country inn, fine dining restaurant and wine tasting room, plus a family oriented campground. The town of Weott is not located at its original site. The town used to straddle the Avenue of the Giants until 1964, when a devastating flood washed it and several other local towns away. Look for the tall post marking the depth of the floodwater. Most travelers to Weott come to see the Visitor’s Center at Humboldt Redwoods State Park, just south of town. The town of Redcrest began in 1918 as a logging town. Its location on high ground protected Redcrest from the devastating floods that wiped out the lower-lying towns. An RV park, resort with cabins and an abundance of redwood attractions make Redcrest a popular destination. The northernmost community on the Avenue is called Pepperwood, a low-lying area that used to include stores, a school, church, garages, gas stations and bars. The flood of 1955 eliminated many of these, and the flood of 1964 took care of anything that was left. The residents who remain appreciate the beauty of their home.

Dozens of tourist-oriented attractions cater to the streams of visitors who arrive each year to see the redwoods. Founders Grove, dedicated to the founders of the Save-the-Redwoods League, contains the 346-foot tall Founders Tree and the Dyerville Giant. The Dyerville Giant was the tallest tree in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, but on March 24, 1991, it fell and now lies on the forest floor. Even in repose, however, the tree is an impressive sight.