Howland Hill Road

Driving Howland Hill Road through redwoods in California

Tucked away in Del Norte County, in the US state of California, Howland Hill Road is a premier drive through a canopy of redwoods and the location where 1983 Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was filmed.

How long is Howland Hill Road?

The road is 10.94km (6.8 miles) long, running west-east from Crescent City (the county seat of Del Norte County) to Hiouchi. The road is very steep in parts, topping out at 195m (643ft) above the sea level. The road, or part of it, may be closed in winter if it’s damaged by storms.

Where was 1983 Star Wars: Return of the Jedi filmed?

Located in Northern California, the road was the location of 1983 Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. It’s one of the most scenic drives in the Redwood National and State Parks. This twisting single-lane road through old-growth redwood forests, runs through the center of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. This mixed gravel and paved road will take you twisting through a forest of giants. It’s said to be one of the best redwood drives anywhere. To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 35 and 45 minutes.

Is Howland Hill Road difficult to drive?

Built in 1887, the road is narrow which only enhances your closeness to the magnificent redwoods. Imagine driving through a redwood forest on a road so narrow that you could literally touch the trees, which are magnificent to behold. Motorhomes/RVs and trailers are not advised. This gravel road is great to take as long as you are not pulling a trailer. Expect plenty of dust in the dry summer months and keep an eye out for potholes. The road is suitable only for drivers not afraid of dust and getting very, very close to redwoods. Mosquitos are plentiful here in the summer, so be sure to bring bug repellent.

Is Howland Hill Road paved?

The road, originally constructed as a plank road, is suitable for all standard passenger vehicles. Depending on how recently it’s been resurfaced, this narrow dirt road can be as smooth and flat as a paved road, or it could be a continuous string of potholes. So, the hard-packed gravel road varies in surface durability depending on season and when the road was last graded. While the road is dusty and a little rough, it is worth it. The road is closed for resurfacing once a year sometime in May, June, or July: road maintenance requires heavy machinery with limited visibility.



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