World War II Radar Station in Redwood National Park
Location: Redwood National and State Parks (Coastal Dr., just south of the mouth of Klamath River)
When to visit: Daytime hours
Cost: Free to enter Redwood National park
Time needed: 10 minutes
Website: NPS radar station page
Hidden among the gorgeous giant trees of Redwood National and State Parks in northern California is a fascinating relic from World War II.
It’s a radar station built in late 1942 to fend off possible Japanese military strikes, when such attacks seemed possible after the ambush of Pearl Harbor and other Japanese submarine attacks on the U.S. west coast.
The military could have tried to camouflage the structures in the forest, but instead they chose to disguise them as “farm buildings.”
One looked like a farmhouse, another was a barn and a third was an outhouse. All were part of Radar Station B-71 and actually housed radar and anti-aircraft weapons. Clever!
The outhouse is now gone, and you can’t go inside the remaining buildings, but you can walk up to them and see how unassuming they appear.
You can find a small parking pullout along the park road. Just park there and walk down a short trail a bit to reach the site.
There’s a sign describing the history of the site, which was shut down shortly after the war and became a privately-owned property until the land became part of Redwood National Park. “Disguised to protect” is the best description of the site.
Check out the view the workers had from the hillside. Even on a chilly and cloudy day, the view of the rocky shoreline and the ocean is pretty spectacular.
No wonder the Army chose this site as a lookout!
Redwood NP is one of the national parks that is still totally free to visit, so there’s no excuse for not stopping by to see this historic site and great viewpoint!
Why the World War 2 Radar Stations Were Needed
Many people think that Pearl Harbor was the only WW2 attack on American soil, but that is not the case.
Japanese forces actually bombed sites in California, Oregon, and Washington state in 1942, using submarines to get close to the U.S. coast.
They also attacked the Aleutians islands in Alaska, in what turned out to be a year-long battle.
Hence, these radar stations were seen as a crucial need at the time. A total of 72 such stations were proposed, and 65 were actually built along the coastline.
This was the most northernmost station that was built in California. Redwood was not yet a national park at that time, as it didn’t gain that distinction until 1968.
This is one of the few that endure today, and it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can see how hidden it was among the trees on the hillside. It certainly doesn’t look like a building that would’ve been controlled by the American military!
The official title is Klamath River Radar Station B-71. Check it out if you visit the Redwoods!
This is an easy place to stop if you’re doing the Route 101 drive up the Pacific coast. The station is not located right on Highway 101. It’s on Coastal Drive, just a short detour off the road.
Make sure to also visit the High Bluff Overlook Picnic Area, which is on the same road less than a mile south of this location.
Would you be curious to see a World War 2 radar station like this one?