Soaring to more than 300 feet, the coastal redwoods that give this park its name are miracles of efficiency—some have survived hundreds of years (a few live for more than 2,000 years). These massive trees glean nutrients from the rich alluvial flats at their feet and from the moisture and nitrogen trapped in their uneven canopy. Their huge, thick-barked trunks can hold thousands of gallons of water, reservoirs that have helped them withstand centuries of firestorms.
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The world’s tallest trees — up to 379 feet — live in this neck of the woods. Walk the 1.4-mile Cathedral Trees Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
A refuge since 1923, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is the place to spot magnificent Roosevelt elk. Highway signs point to the best viewing locations.
Michael Nichols/National Geographic/Getty Images
The walls of this narrow canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park are plastered in ferns, some belonging to species over 325 million years old.
Randall Levensaler/Aurora Photos/Corbis
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