Fall Glows and Elks Rut at Redwood Nat’l Park


Elk Meadow, Redwood National Park, Orick, Calif. (10/2/09) Rick E Martin

There may be a federal shutdown, but no one told the Roosevelt Elk at Redwood National Park to stop rutting or the fall colors to stop changing.  Color spotter Grant Roden reports from the Elk Meadow Cabins that the “‘federal shut down’ really has had minimal impact at Redwood National and State Parks for visitors that want to see the old growth redwood and habitat. Some of the best areas to visit are in the state parks, where visitor centers and public services are still available, as normally provided.”

30 – 50% – Redwood National and State Parks – These parks are known for their yellow and golden displays of Big Leaf Maple and Alder set in contrast to the redwood forest.  Look for spots of crimson poison oak in open brushy areas and along the edges of meadows (it is found infrequently beneath the redwood canopy, as it needs light to survive), but be careful not to touch it!  Grant writes, “The red and yellow hues are stunning in contrast to the towering evergreen redwood giants.”

Fall Wildlife Viewing Grant reports that several wildlife shows are now in progress in Humboldt County.

  • Elk Rut – The annual rut of the Roosevelt Elk is at peak, presently, with large bull elk bugling and battling to take charge of harems of elk cows.  This is ranks up there with coastal whale, central valley waterfowl and bat migrations as being one of California’s most dramatic wildlife spectacles.
  • Shore Birds – A fall migration of shore birds is to be seen at beaches all along the North Coast.  Beaches at Freshwater Lagoon, Stone Lagoon and Big Lagoon, near US 101, are good locations to see the migratory birds.
  • Chinook Salmon Run – the fall run of Chinook salmon is at peak on the Klamath River.
  • Whale Watching – Grey and Blue whales are now migrating along the North Coast.  Several charter boat companies offer trips from Eureka and Trinidad