Virtual Guidebook to the Northern California Coast and Coast Ranges
Smithe Redwoods State Reserve
South Fork of the Eel River California


The narrow canyon and unstable slopes of the South Fork Canyon have challenged road builders since the road was constructed in the 1920's. One strategem was to bridge over steep or unstable slopes with a sidehill viaduct. Though there are a few modern viaducts, all the classic concrete structures have now been bypassed or demolished. The one near Smith Redwoods was known as "The Slab" and scared many a motorist until it was closed in the 1970's.

Smithe Redwoods was formerly Lane's Redwood Flat, a resort and campground similar to a number of others along the Redwood Highway. Most of them were eventually sold and clearcut, but Save the Redwoods manged to acquire this one. It is the southernmost tall redwood grove on the highway. In its days as a private camp it had a lodge with both front and back doors tunneled through living redwood trees.



 thumbnail

This sidehill viaduct, known as "The Slab" was a notable feature of the Redwood Highway until bypassed in the 1980's

(June 23, 2010)


 thumbnail

A sidehill viaduct high above the South Fork Eel River at Bridges Creek, now bypassed by Highway 101

(June 23, 2010)


 thumbnail

Smithe Redwoods, formerly Lanes Redwood Flat, is the first old growth redwood forest encountered along the Redwood Highway by northbound travelers

(June 22, 2010)


 thumbnail

The gift shop at Lanes Redwood Flat was entered through doorways carved through redwood trees

(June 22, 2010)


 thumbnail

This tree was tunneled through when this was Lane's Redwood Flat tourist camp, then sawed off twenty feet up in an act of vandalism

(June 22, 2010)


Next Locality: Upper South Fork of the Eel River