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Category: 2017

Damnation Creek Trail

Damnation Creek Trail

Redwood National Park

After checking out of Jedediah Smith Campground, we drove along route 101 to a trail with an awkward name. Damnation Creek Trail is in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, part of Redwood National & State Parks. It’s a well-known hike, and considered one of the best in the park. The trail descends 2.1 miles through redwood trees, and across Damnation Creek, to a coastal rocky beach. It’s both a diverse and difficult hike…

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Kayaking the Smith River

Kayaking the Smith River

Redwood National Park

Kayaking is a lot of fun…especially when it’s free. Redwood National & State Parks runs a free ranger guided kayak tour on the Smith River, with a limited number of spots available. Sign up early so you don’t miss out! Planning The Smith River is a National Wild & Scenic River, and is the largest free-flowing river system in California. It runs along the park’s northern border, past the town of Hiouchi and Jedediah Smith Campground. The route, which goes…

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Jedediah Smith Campground

Jedediah Smith Campground

Redwood National Park

After a great backpacking trip along Redwood Creek and Tall Trees Grove we drove to our home for the next two nights: Jedediah Smith Campground. The campground is located in Jedediah Smith State Park, at the northern end of Redwood National and State Parks. It’s also just outside Crescent City, which gave us the flexibility to check out some local restaurants during our stay. Glamping, anyone? We reserved our campsite the day it became available so we wouldn’t miss out….

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Backpacking Redwood Creek & Tall Trees

Backpacking Redwood Creek & Tall Trees

Redwood National Park

There are plenty of places to backpack in Redwood National & State Parks. All backcountry camping must be done at designated campsites – except for Redwood Creek, located in southern Redwood National Park. Along the creek, camping on gravel bars is allowed. We only had time to do one backpacking trip in the park, and Redwood Creek was our choice…

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James Irvine and Miner’s Ridge Trails with Fern Canyon

James Irvine and Miner’s Ridge Trails with Fern Canyon

Redwood National Park

We woke up in our campsite at Gold Bluffs Beach in Redwood National & State Parks refreshed and ready to go. Our plan was to hike to the picturesque Fern Canyon, one of the most popular spots in the park. Ferns line its walls and a stream runs through it. Part of Jurassic Park 2 was filmed there due to its primeval appearance. The trail to Fern Canyon is a 12.1 mile loop linking the James Irvine and Miner’s Ridge…

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Gold Bluffs Beach Campground

Gold Bluffs Beach Campground

Redwood National Park

When I heard about Gold Bluffs Beach Campground in Redwood National & State Parks, I immediately wanted to stay there. I pictured myself sitting on the warm sand, soaking up the sun. I had only been to Northern CA once before so…in my mind, it was a combination of camping and a beach vacation. Reserving a campsite at any campground in Redwood can be a challenge. Back in 2017 when we reserved a site for Gold Bluffs, we were online…

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Lyons Ranch Trail

Lyons Ranch Trail

Redwood National Park

Towering redwood trees. That’s what you think of when you come to Redwood National & State Parks. Our first hike in the park though? It would feature no redwoods. Lyons Ranch, a National Historic Site, has an easy 4.5 mile loop trail and features wide open prairies, dramatic views, and historic structures. You can see more than just trees at Redwood N&SP. Lyons Ranch Trail is in a remote section of the park called Bald Hills, near the park’s southeast…

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Best Hikes and Planning Guide

Best Hikes and Planning Guide

Saguaro National Park

The desert was kind of a new experience for us.  It had been a long time since either of us had hiked in it.  Kristin went in with a bit of trepidation, and she ended up loving the park.  So you never know what you’ll find.  And Saguaro National Park definitely surprised us as we explored.  Not really knowing what to expect, and going in with no expectations.  Here were our favorite spots in the park, as well as some tips for visiting.  We hope they help you plan your trip…

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Tucson Eats and Drinks

Tucson Eats and Drinks

Saguaro National Park

We have 2 main interests in life: the outdoors and great food. Saguaro National Park is conveniently located just outside of Tucson, so we got to check out a sampling of its restaurants on our trip. Tex-Mex Tex-Mex cuisine is seriously lacking in DC, so we were excited to try some in the southwest. Tucson Tamale is a local institution that I had read about before our trip. We visited during the week and at an off-time, so we had the…

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Garwood Trail

Garwood Trail

Saguaro National Park

Our intention was to visit as much of Saguaro National Park as we could.  Crisscrossing desert trails in the northwest corner of the Rincon Mountain (east) District are known as the Cactus Forest.  We wanted to hike somewhere up there, so we reserved a full day for it.  Our initial plan was to do a longer loop, but we were exhausted after backpacking to Manning Camp, so we decided on a shorter hike.  A ranger at the Rincon Visitor Center recommended a 4.0 mile out-and-back on Garwood Trail…

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