Driving Through Northern California's Avenue of the Giants (And Tips For Photographing It!)
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Avenue of the Giants is a scenic drive that parallels Highway 101 in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The 31 miles stretch, lined with California redwoods (the tallest trees in the world), has been on my bucket list for quite some time. This past June of 2020, I finally got to experience the majestic road while road-tripping through Northern California and Southern Oregon.
In this post, I’ll be sharing a few tips that might be helpful to anyone who is planning on doing the drive through Avenue to Giants.
WHERE IS AVENUE OF THE GIANTS:
Avenue of the Giants is located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park and parallels Highway 101 and the Eel River for 31 miles. It can be accessed via Exit 672 or Exit 645 off HWY 101, depending on which direction you are traveling.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DRIVE AVENUE OF THE GIANTS:
The full avenue will take about 2.5 hours, and that's without stopping to take pictures or hiking the groves. If you can, plan on spending half a day to get the most out of Avenue of the Giants.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT AVENUE OF THE GIANTS:
I would imagine Avenue of the Giants is beautiful any time of year. We went at the end of June. I found this to be a great time to visit because it's right before peak season (July and August are the busiest times to visit) and because the weather is ideal (warm, less rainfall). It's also a great time to go if you're looking for foggy conditions.
I found the Avenue of the Giants to be a little trickier to shoot than expected. Here are a few tips for photographing Avenue of the Giants.
TIME OF DAY:
One of the best times to photograph Avenue of the Giants is in the early morning. We stayed near Avenue of the Giants for two days. On the first day, we did the drive in the early morning, hoping to catch some foggy conditions. The fog had pretty much dissipated by 8m, but it was still an ideal time for shooting the road.
We also did the drive the next day in the mid-afternoon. Not a great time to shoot in general; this goes double for Avenue of the Giants. The contrast of shadow and light on the road was extremely harsh.
Wide Angle Fast Lens: Probably the most important piece of gear. Due to the height and density of the redwoods, the lighting along Avenue of the Giants can be challenging. Having a fast aperture lens is helpful. Also, a wide-angle lens is key for capturing the height of the redwoods.