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. 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.
Check out the view the workers had from the hillside. No wonder the Army chose this site as a lookout!
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.
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 is one of the few that endure today and it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
The official title is Klamath River Radar Station B-71. Check it out if you visit the Redwoods!