Established in 1922 and named after Friend W. Richardson, the 25th governor of California, the park is bisected by Hwy. 101 and the south fork of the Eel River. Camping, hiking, swimming, and just relaxing are popular activities throughout much of the year. Fishing for salmon and steelhead is popular during the winter.
Richardson Grove State Park is where you first encounter significant old growth redwood forest when coming north. The 9th tallest coast redwood, a fallen tree ring study conducted in 1933, and a walk-through tree are immediately available.
Over nine miles of hiking trails, picnic area with ample parking, river access, and seasonal fishing.
The park offers a variety of Interpretive/Educational programs during the summer including evening campfire programs, Junior Rangers, and guided nature walks.
A visitor center and nature store are located in the historic 1930?s Richardson Grove lodge and are also open May - September.
4 miles round tripYou can?t miss viewing the redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park; the highway lobby had Highway 101 built right through the heart of the park. But if you really want to experience the magic and majesty of ?The Grove,? as it?s affectionately known, you must get off the highway and hit the trail.
Fortunately, Richardson Grove has some ﬁne footpaths that visit quiet redwood groves and Eel River beaches.
The park, acquired in the 1920s, is named for California?s 25th governor, William Friend Richardson, though it?s any park lover?s guess why. The ultra-conservative Richardson was completely unsympathetic to the state park system, then in its infancy, and vetoed all expenditure bills.
Start your visit to Richardson Grove with a look at the natural history exhibits and history displays at the visitor center. Check out the arboreal curiosities: a walk-through tree, and a dawn redwood, the coastal redwood?s Chinese cousin, located in the group camp. The park features a full schedule of interpretive programs during the summer months.
This loop trip offers an enjoyable jaunt through the redwoods growing above the South Fork of the Eel River. The Eel?s frequent ﬂoods in years past have deposited thick layers of rich soil? ideal for growing especially tall redwoods.
Directions to trailhead: From Highway 101, eight miles south of Garberville, take the Richardson Grove State Park exit.
Once inside the park, getting to either of the trailheads is a bit tricky, unless you happened to have reserved a site in Madrone Campground. If you?re not camping, best bet is to park at the picnic ground near the visitor center, follow the short path to the Highway 101 underpass, emerging on the other side and picking up the path leading to and through Madrone Campground.