Road Trip to Redwood National Park

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Upon our return from Hawaii, we asked ourselves what we should do for New Year’s. One day later we were en route to the northwestern corner of California, about six hours north, to Redwood National and State Parks. Unlike most National Parks, this one is inextricably entangled with its neighboring state parks and the two are basically run as one unit together. Here grow the tallest trees in the world! So we were in for two days of craning our necks and marveling at how small we are in this wondrous place.

Here’s an illustrated map I drew on my iPad of our road trip.

Our drive began with wind and fog, but things cleared up as Alex brought us to our first surprise pit stop: Reeve winery in Healdsburg. We were supposed to visit back in October, but the Kincaid Fire thwarted our Healdsburg weekend. I’m glad to report the winery was unscathed and is beautiful!

Loved this tasting experience!


The loveliest wine tasting patio.

Then we were back on the road for a few hours until we reached the town of Eureka where we had dinner at Brick & Fire.

Home for two nights in McKinleyville. They were so thoughtful, down to the last detail. They even had wrapping paper for people who visited over the holidays in case they needed to wrap their gifts.

The next morning, we were greeted with a misty, wonderful morning as we set off on our grand tour of the redwoods. Alex had been here before but this was my first visit! 

Lady Bird Johnson Grove.


Elk! In Elk Meadow!

The drive over to Fern Canyon. Such spectacular light.

Fern Canyon. Hooray for waterproof shoes! This was so fun to walk through the stream and explore the aptly named canyon, completely lined on both sides with ferns.

Off-roading back up to the main road.

Still gorgeous light.

Back to the elk!

And on to Stout Grove, via another off-roading path.

We eyed this spot along the coast, DeMartin Beach, as a potential sunset spot for the last day of the year. So we returned to it but were greeted by completely white skies and a monochrome sunset.

Still cool! A nice black sand beach to close out 2019.

Alex’s trusty Jeep, taking us on all the off-roading adventures.

NYE dinner was at SALT Fish House in Arcata. Delicious!

Happy New Year! The next day we made the long journey back to the Bay, but first we visited the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and drove through the Avenue of the Giants there.


The Founders Tree was once declared the tallest tree in the world. We’ve since found taller trees, but they’ve always been California Redwoods in this region.

We went home with our own tiny tree. With the potential to grow nice and tall to 379 feet. But probably not since it’s just in a pot on the windowsill. Still alive though!

I’m a big fan of starting the new year quietly and out in nature rather than cramming with crowds at an expensive party. Can’t wait to see what this next year holds!


Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco. She creates beautiful, soft, and timeless imagery while capturing the most fleeting of moments. View her work at, follow her daily adventures on instagram, and contact her to book your own session today.