Paul Bunyan in the Trees of Mystery
Yes, there's a hint of the American-road-trip cheese factor, but for a family on the stretch of road from Northern California to Oregon on Highway 101, this stop would be a home run. It's 36 miles south of the Oregon border, amid the miles of coastal redwood forests; Paul and Babe appear just at the right time for a restroom break and a chance to stretch your legs on some of the interpretive trails. I was skeptical as I walked through, and had honestly ignored the Trees of Mystery many times when I'd been leading family camping trips in the Redwood National Forest for Backroads in years past, not giving it the credit it deserves. This park has been owned by the same family for the last 67 years and their genuine intent is to protect these magnificent trees and educate their visitors (with huge helpings of humor in the process). There are different entrance fees based and a good selection of trails, walks, and experiences to choose from while you're there. If all you're looking for is a quick photo op with Paul and Babe and a free public bathroom, then this is your spot as well. Have those cameras ready: Paul is just over 49 feet tall and his ox Babe is 35 feet.
By Bronwen Gregory, AFAR Local Expert
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Trees of Mystery Park in Northern California
At the entrance to the Trees of Mystery park, just off the 101 in California, you are greeted by a giant 49-foot statue of Paul Bunyan and his bull, Babe. The lumberjack and his blue bull are the center of many North American folk tales. And yes, Paul Bunyan will talk to you as you walk past him to the main entrance. Redwoods are fascinating trees and although this park is a little touristy, there are some wonderful examples of redwoods on easily walked paths. Did you know that if a live redwood tree falls, it can continue to grow from its limbs? For example, if you see a circle of the trees, it means they sprouted and grew from the perimeter of a redwood stump! There is a skyline ride that takes you to a point where you can see the ocean and part of the Siskiyou Mountains. As well as the trees and the skyline ride, there is an excellent museum dedicated to the history of the "First Americans," with examples of clothing, baskets, and food. This is the best museum about Native American history and culture that I've seen on the West Coast, and it's worth coming to the park just for the quality and quantity of items on display.
By Rajam Roose, AFAR Local Expert
15500 US-101, Klamath, CA 95548, USA
Sun - Sat 9am - 4pm