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California Road Trip: Lady Bird Johnson Grove
Ladybird Johnson Grove--An American Treasure
Ladybird Johnson Grove is a great-one stop destination amid an entire region dedicated to the redwood forest experience. Near Orick, in northern California, Lady Bird Johnson Grove showcases massive three hundred-foot trees in old-growth forest. The 1-mile loop nature walk with hollowed trees reminiscent of Tolkien's elf-dwellings has a sense of scale that is difficult to describe. The interpretive trail has 13 numbered stops along the way explaining a bit about the ecology and history of the redwoods.
My children enjoyed exploring in and around the hollowed trees, pretending each one was their own special tree dwelling. This is a great, frugal stop on your Northern California road trip.
We took much longer than average to complete the loop, because we stopped to read all of the information and took way too many photographs. It was an easy trail, and is wheelchair accessible.
Recommended Reading on Amazon
Official Redwoods National Park Guide
Click HERE to get a 16-page online copy of the 2008 Redwoods National Park Visitor Guide. This brochure contains excellent information about:
- Where to go and what to see.
- How to get there.
- Tidal pool etiquette.
- Conservation efforts.
- Safety—what to do if a bear or cougar attacks.
- Maps of important locations.
- Camping information
Stay In Nearby Patrick's Point State Park
- California Road Trip: Patrick's Point State Park
This Northern California State Park is a local treasure, and a great place to camp while exploring the nearby California redwoods.
A Frugal Destination
We were shocked that Lady Bird Johnson doesn't require a service entrance fee. We spoke with the park's representatives at the nearby Orick interpretive center, and they told us that a large corporation had provided for free entry to all park-goers.
An Easy Day Trip from Nearby Patrick's Point State Park
We broke camp at nearby Patrick's Point State Park and drove to Lady Bird Johnson Grove along California's Pacific Coast Highway 101. This was one scenic drive with a stop at the interpretive center in Orick.
One thing you will not find along the way is fast food, so be prepared with a picnic lunch, snacks, and something to drink.
Ladybird Johnson's Legacy
In an age where young girls need great role models more than ever, we were quite touched to visit this park very soon after the death of the late Ladybird Johnson. This first lady was a strong advocate for preserving the treasures of our nation through the national park system. At the foot of the towering tree that stands as her monument, I couldn't help but think that this living emblem was a greater monument than any mausoleum made from marble or carved stone. It is astonishing to think that large parts of our nation and areas of Europe were once covered in old growth forest like these!
Educational to See the Impact of Logging
As parents you sometimes wonder if the experiences you have together as a family make an impression on your kids. Part of the drive to Lady Bird Johnson is up a steep and winding logging road where logging companies are actively removing trees.
A year after our visit to this site, my 4th grade daughter wrote, as a school assignment, a bill to limit the number of trees that can be removed by loggers. She believes that trees are a precious resource that must be replaced by logging companies.