|Sunday we visited Stout Grove, considered by many to be one of the world's most scenic stand of redwoods. It's not all that large, and it doesn't have the biggest trees, but for sheer photogenic beauty nothing beats this extraordinary grove!
Located on a small floodplain at the junction of two rivers, the Stout Grove has an openness and cathedral-like majesty combined with a lush, lawn-like ground cover. The grove also contains the Stout Tree, which is the bulkiest known coast redwood. It is 340 feet tall and 16 feet in diameter at chest height. The tallest redwood trees here are equal in height to a 35 story skyscraper and are densely packed, especially at the west end of the grove. A perfect, plush layer of ferns and redwood sorrel carpets the ground which creates a remarkably hushed and serene environment. The sounds are damped out by the thick, spongy layer of needles on the ground. We both commented that it looked like the kind of environment dinosaurs would have lived in. Remember the third Star Wars movie, Return of the Jedi, when the Ewoks were driving the jet sleds among the big trees? Yep, those scenes were filmed here.
Each time we visit, we like to begin our journey on the north end of Howland Hills Road. It is a well-traveled, two-way, very narrow dirt vehicle road. So, when you occasionally meet another car coming from the opposite direction you just carefully pull aside in one of the many 'turnouts' so the other vehicle can pass. Apparently built and/or improved by Chinese laborers in the early 1900's, this road was once used by logging vehicles. Before that it was part of the stagecoach route to Oregon.
We love coming here and make certain to re-visit each & every time we're in the area. If you happen to get in this area and plan to do this drive, we suggest you begin your journey from Brookings by traveling Hwy 197 to Hwy 199, South Bank Road, ending your journey just a few miles outside of Crescent City on Elk Valley Rd. You can take the drive in the opposite direction, beginning on Elk Valley Rd and ending on Hwy 199 but the drive just isn't as nice. Just our humble opinion...:)