Nothing humbles you more than being next to towering trees, knowing that they've been standing strong for hundreds of years and will continue to be pillars of the forest long after we are all gone. The small Northern California coastal town of Eureka offers redwoods visitors a unique way to interact with the majestic green giants, via the Redwood Sky Walk.
What makes these redwoods so special? Coastal redwoods are found along the coasts of California and Oregon. There are two other types of redwoods—the Giant Sequoia, which are found in the Sierra Nevada; and the Metasequoia, which are found in China. These trees are legendary for living thousands of years, making them the largest and tallest trees in the world. All three descend from conifers that grew when dinosaurs roamed the forests. According to the Save the Redwoods League, the trees grew all over North America, Europe, and Asia. Because of environmental changes over the years, the populations shrank to the current locations, which makes preserving their legacy an important mission for the league.
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Coastal redwoods can live between 1,200 to 2,200 years — having been present around things most of us can only imagine. The trees can reach up to 379 feet tall, with trunks up to 30 feet in diameter. Many people who visit Humboldt County can experience the sheer stature of the redwoods by walking along the forest floor. But the Redwood Sky Walk gives visitors a bird's-eye view of the trees and the surrounding forest.
Skywalk visitors scale a ramp of 360 feet to reach the entrance, which is 20 feet shy of the tallest living coastal redwood at 380 feet. The walkway sits 100 feet up in the trees and is a short, easy trek out and back. Even though a quarter-mile round trip may not seem that long, it's actually the longest skywalk in the Western U.S. People can walk along the nine platforms and bridges, allowing visitors to connect more closely with nature.
The optional adventure portion of the trail is 369 feet of suspended bridges that will make you feel one with nature, as you experience every movement while you cross. For those who aren't fans of heights, don't worry — it's perfectly safe. Engineers ensured that the bridges would be safe from high winds and earthquakes. However, this section isn't ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)-friendly, whereas other portions of the skywalk are ADA-accessible.
Tree enthusiasts enter the Redwood Sky Walk through the Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka, open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. I'm not a fan of heights, but this seems like an amazing way to experience the incredible heights of the coastal redwoods. Would you give the Sky Walk a try?
Read More: Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks Enacting Emergency Measures to Protect Sequoias