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Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants (US 101) was in full color between Fortuna and Ukiah, as north coast color spotter Walt Gabler drove south, yesterday.

Eel River, Shively (11/3/18) Walt Gabler

He found black oak at full peak north of Weott and along the Eel River, though was disappointed with color south of Garberville, finding the Van Duzen river east of Carlotta to be disappointing.

Van Duzen River, Carlotta (11/3/18) Walt Gabler

At his family’s homestead in the backwoods of Humboldt County, God’s rays through the fog of a North Coast sunrise illuminated the life-giving mist that sustains the redwood forest. 

Knack Creek sunrise, Humboldt County (11/3/18) Walt Gabler
  • Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt County (1,516′) – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!

 

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Redwood Highway – Glimpses of Brilliance

Bigleaf maple and ferns, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (10/29/17) Max Forster

 

Mill Creek, Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP (10/29/17) Max Forster

James Irvine Trail, Prairie Creek Redwoods SP (10/29/17) Max Forster

North Coast color spotter Max Forster sends glimpses of brilliance from his most recent tour along the Redwood Highway.

He reports that despite recent rain (perhaps until this weekend), stormy weather has not “truly returned to the North Coast, extending fall color into November.”

As Max predicted in his previous report, peak color has continued and the Roosevelt elk “are still very active” from

Howland Hill Rd., Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP (10/29/17) Max Forster

Beneath Mill Creek Bridge, Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP (10/29/17) Max Forster

Big Lagoon to Prairie Creek State Park.

Redwood National Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park – Peak (75-100%) – Bigleaf maple along Drury Parkway near the Big Tree are the finest Max recalls having seen in years.  “Almost all of the trees are peaking together.” GO NOW!

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park – Peak (75-100%) – “The drive through the park

Mill Creek, Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP (10/29/17) Max Forster

along Howland Hill Road will be very colorful this week, with the forest carpeted in golden vine maple,” Max reported. He hiked the entirety of Mill Creek through the park over this past weekend and found bigleaf maple in top form. GO NOW!

Bull elk defends his harem, Elk Meadow (10/29/17) Max Forster

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Two Weeks Left on the Redwood Highway

S. Fork Eel River, Redwood Highway (10/24/17) Max Forster

Bigleaf maple, Prairie Creek Redwoods SP (10/24/17) Max Forster

Bigleaf maple, Mill Creek, Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP (10/24/17) Max Forster

North Coast color spotter Max Forster estimates the Redwood Highway has another couple of weeks of peak color.

There’s a good reason there are so many state parks and a national park in the North Coast region, as it is full of wonderful foliage to see.

Here’s what Max found:

Humboldt Redwoods State Park – Peak (75-100%) – Avenue of The Giants will be seeing peak conditions throughout this week as bigleaf maple and creeping poison oak put on their display.  The drive along US 101 in Mendocino County from just north of Willits into southern Humboldt County is also looking spectacular. GO NOW!

Redwood National Park & Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park – Peak (75-100%) – Bigleaf maple are at peak while most of the vine maple are just starting to turn.  Best places to see color will be along Drury Parkway near the Big Tree parking area, Prairie Creek Trail from the visitor center to the Zig Zag #2 Trail and the road to Lost Man Creek.  Roosevelt elk are still very active, at the tail end of the seasonal rut.  Outside of the bulls protecting their herds of females, you can find groups of rejected bachelors, nursing battle wounds and damaged egos. GO NOW!

El Viejo, Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP (10/24/17) Max Forster

Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park – Peak (75-100%) – Bigleaf maple along Mill Creek are at peak.  The forest understory of vine maple, salmonberry, thimbleberry and cascara along Howland Hill Road will be peaking this week, making the drive through the heart of the park even more spectacular than usual. GO NOW!

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Bigleaf Maple Near Peak on the Upper North Coast

Big Trees, Praire Creek Redwoods State Park (10/3/16) Max Forster

Big Trees, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (10/3/16) Max Forster

Bigleaf maple are near peak among the coastal redwoods (sequoia sempervirens) of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park along the upper Redwood Highway, reports color spotter Max Forster.

Big Trees, Praire Creek Redwoods State Park (10/3/16) Max Forster

Big Trees, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (10/3/16) Max Forster

Leaning Maple, Corkscrew Creek, Redwood Highway (10/3/16) Max Forster

Leaning Maple, Corkscrew Creek, Redwood Highway (10/3/16) Max Forster

Lost Man Creek, Redwood Highway (10/3/16) Max Forster

Lost Man Creek, Redwood Highway (10/3/16) Max Forster

Bigleaf Maple, Redwood Highway (10/34/16) Max Forster

Bigleaf Maple, Redwood Highway (10/34/16) Max Forster

He writes, “While we may not see the uniform display of color seen last year, most bigleaf maple are near peak throughout the redwood forest. 

“Northern Humboldt County isn’t thought of as being a fall foliage destination, though this is one of the finest times of the year for photography in the forest. 

“Mostly green scenes can now be punched up with flourishes of yellow from the bigleaf and vine maples.  The summer crowds have left the national and state parks, leaving many trails practically empty.”

Bigleaf maple is one of a few showy autumn plants along the North Coast, the others being western poison oak (crimson), vine maple (yellow), black cottonwood (gold) and red alder (yellow).

Forster continued, “This is rutting season and Roosevelt elk are very active, as the bulls contest for the harems.  Keep an eye out for signage along trails where the bulls have been seen, recently.

“You don’t have to venture far from your car, as some of the best color can be seen from Drury Parkway or the road to the Lost Man Creek picnic area.”

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park & Redwood National Park – Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW!

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Humboldt County – Now Peaking Tree By Tree

Avenue of the Giants (11/16/15) Max Forster

Avenue of the Giants (11/16/15) Max Forster

Max Forster reports from Humboldt County that, “It’s hard to really give a blanket rating of Peak/Past Peak for the area.  It’s more about individual trees or small areas than wide swaths of color.  Some spots are past, while others are just getting into peak.”

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Humboldt Redwoods State Park – While some of the big leaf maple have petered out, others that have been surviving outside of full sun are peaking now.  Avenue of Giants is still a worthwhile drive. 

Maple at the extreme southern and northern ends of Humboldt Redwoods State Park are looking nice.  For the south, by the Bolling Grove to Myer’s Flat.  For the north, specifically by the Drury-Chaney Grove in Pepperwood and the unnamed trail by Elinor Road are peak.

Mad River (11/16/15) Max Forster

Mad River (11/16/15) Max Forster

Vine maple, Pacific Coast Trail (11/16/15) Max Forster

Vine maple, Pacific Coast Trail (11/16/15) Max Forster

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park – Roosevelt Elk bulls are still actively rutting, battling rivals and gathering their harems.  They have been seen daily by Big Lagoon and the little red schoolhouse.  Similar to Humboldt Redwoods, bigleaf maple that have been growing without direct sunlight are really going off now.  The big maple by the visitor center is at peak. 

Vine maple is also finally peaking, turning brilliant yellow like their big leaf neighbors.  Some parts of the trails are like walking through a sea of yellow. 

Specific spots are along Drury Parkway by the Big Tree for the big leaf maple. For the vine maple, the Prairie Creek Trail is your best bet.  A very brilliant vine maple grove can also be seen roadside on Drury Parkway by the Brown Creek Trail.

Avenue of the Giants, Drury Chaney (11/16/15) Max Forster

Avenue of the Giants, Drury Chaney (11/16/15) Max Forster

Drury Parkway (11/16/15) Max Forster

Drury Parkway (11/16/15) Max Forster

Drury Parkway (11/16/15) Max Forster

Drury Parkway (11/16/15) Max Forster

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What A Difference Three Days Makes

Crab Park, Eel River, Loleta (9/28/15) Crys Black

Three days ago, Mendocino County color spotter Crys Black had decided to report fall color as Just Starting north of Willits on U.S. 101, but when she drove The Redwood Highway this morning, “the color was beautiful and I have to bump it up to 10-50% with the best location just north of Willits.”

Oriole in Yarrow, Crab Park, Eel River, Loleta (9/28/15) Crys Black

Crys says Mendocino County received two inches of rain recently, nourishing beautiful orange, yellow, “even some purple… wildflowers.”

The fall color along 101 is Patchy, with a lot of yellow and some oranges and reds. Most of the yellow comes from bigleaf maple, the orange from alder, chartreuse from climbing wild cucumber and splashes of red from poison oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum.

There is no poison in poison oak. What creates its irritating, painful rash is contact with urushiol oil, a potent allergen found on the plant’s leaves. Unfortunately for those affected, poison oak is California’s most prevalent woody shrub. That prevalence, for those of us who appreciate red fall color, has the positive aspect of brightening woodlands with crimson in autumn.

U.S. 101 North of Willits (9/28/15) Crys Black

U.S. 101 North of Willits (9/28/15) Crys Black

U.S. 101 North of Willits (9/28/15) Crys Black

U.S. 101 North of Willits (9/28/15) Crys Black

Crys says the vines are showing pretty color around Asti and Geyserville, though it’s Just Starting.  Crush arrived early this year, though fall color will develop as in previous years.

Donna Hufford a color spotter at Elk Meadow Cabins in Orick reports that alder and bigleaf maple beside U.S. 101, north of Orick, are now coloring Redwood National and State Parks with bright patches of orange and yellow.  Roosevelt Elk bulls, the largest in North America, are in full rut as they trumpet and fight one another for mating rights to harems of elk cows.

Just Starting (0-10%) – North Coast Vineyards

Patchy (10-50%) – U.S. 101 – Willits to Klamath 

Just Starting (0-10%) – U.S. 101 – Klamath to Crescent City

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Color Found Along The Redwood Highway

The Redwood Highway between Willits and Laytonville (10/26/14) Walter Gabler

The Redwood Highway between Willits and Laytonville (10/26/14) Walter Gabler

Color spotter Walter Gabler traveled the Redwood Highway between Ukiah and Fortuna in search of fall color.

The Redwood Highway between Willits and Laytonville (10/26/14) Walter Gabler

The Redwood Highway between Willits and Laytonville (10/26/14) Walter Gabler

Wild Cucumber, Redwood Highway (10/26/14) Walter Gabler

Wild Cucumber, Redwood Highway (10/26/14) Walter Gabler

Walt reported the color was beautiful, though spotty along US 101.  He said the best color is seen between Willits and Ukiah, near the highway, but it is patchy.  Brilliant yellow, chartreuse, orange and lime are seen in the bigleaf maple, black oak and wild cucumber.

The Redwood Highway – US 101 (Patchy – 10 – 50%) – Color is spotty along the highway with the best color showing between Ukiah and Willits.