Found only in California and southern Oregon, redwood trees occur in a narrow area close to the Pacific coast. California's Humboldt County features the largest number of redwoods. The trees grow up to several hundred feet in height and up to 22 feet in diameter. Redwoods live up to 2,000 years. More than 160,000 acres of redwood forest receive federal, state and county protection.
One of California's largest state parks, 53,000-acre Humboldt Redwoods State Park features Rockefeller Forest, home to one the biggest groves of redwoods. The park includes 17,000 acres of old-growth trees. Visitors find more than 100 miles of trails help them explore the forest.
Several other state parks and a national park offer access to exploring the redwoods. State parks include Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, a small park on the Van Duzen River. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park offers trails to see the redwoods along with small herds of Roosevelt elk. All of these state parks are managed together along with Redwood National Park, where more than half of the remaining old-growth redwoods exist.
In 2006, a team of scientists discovered three new trees that became the tallest trees in the world. Located in an undisclosed location in Humboldt County, one of the trees was measured at 379.1 feet in 2006, making it six stories taller than the Statue of Liberty. The tree, named Hyperion, was identified as the world's tallest tree after scientists used hand-held lasers to verify the its height.
While a few grow from seeds disbursed by the wind or animals, most redwood trees grow as seedlings growing from a fallen redwood tree. The fallen tree, also called a nursery tree, provides nutrients to the seedlings from the original tree's root system. Often, new redwood trees grow in a circle, indicating they all grew from the same fallen tree. Resistant to disease and insects, redwood trees rely on their bark, up to 12 inches thick, to help resist fire.
Goose pens consist of live redwood trees with openings in the bottom of their trunks hollowed out by fire. The openings tend to be so large that settlers would keep their livestock in these openings for the night.
Fifty albino redwoods exist, six in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Found in the deepest, darkest parts of the forest, these small redwoods feature snow-white needles. The trees grew up without pigmentation, requiring them to tap into the roots of other nearby redwood trees for nutrients. Visitors who drive the 30-mile Avenue of the Giants through Humboldt State Park can see these trees.