Star Wars trek: Redwoods - June 2001

Star Wars stories

My search for Ewok country had some mixed results. First I hit a homerun at Owen R Cheatham Grove in Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park. I only had a vague mention to this place but the park ranger knew exactly what I was talking about and directed me to the right spot. Unfortunately I didn't have that many reference pictures with me for this area but lots of things looked familiar as soon as I started walking around the well-marked nature path. I struck out at my next stop in Smith River. I knew this one would be hard since it was on private property and the area had been logged since the original filming took place. Plus I didn't have an exact address which would have really helped. Still, its a beautiful area and I'm glad I visited.

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Smith River pictures.
Owen Cheatham Grove pictures.

Smith River
Rockerfeller Forest hosted some small Return of the Jedi scenes. Exit 101 at Mattole road to reach south entrance to forest. - unknown quote
Smith River Tract outside of Crescent City about 12 miles south of the Oregon border: This is where the Battle of Endor and speeder bike chase was filmed. - unknown quote
Ship Ashore Resort Motel (now Best Western): 12370 Highway 101 North (Jedi crew stayed here) - unknown quote
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park: few miles north of Crescent City on Highway 199 - Endor Battle was filmed near Morrison Creek which is private land. - unknown quote
The trucks rolled through the town then disappeared up an unmarked dirt road high into the vast redwood forest overlooking the town and the clear, cobalt waters of the Pacific." - Empire Building
All of the next quotes are from The Making of ROTJ
Lead for Endor location came from Lenny Fike at Saxton's Tackle Shop behind the Ship Ashore Resort Motel - he took them to see Miller-Rellim Lumber Company
"40 acre ground area that was relatively flat,"
"There was clear cut to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west,"
"it was 15 minutes from Crescent City, ten minutes from Smith River,"
"on private property hidden behind the tree line,"
"The turnoff for the road to the location didn't even hint at what was going on up in the hills. The mailbox merely read, JL RT2, and security consisted of a narrow wooden bridge checkpoint over a local stream,"
"The most picturesque of the redwood locations, well away from the battlefield bunker set, is called Normans's Log. It is a part natural, part man-made bridge across a ravine. This is where the tiny ewok warriors will carry their trussed prisoners back to their treetop village,"
"Four miles away from the Miller-Rillem location, on a country back road, is the warehouse - a series of garages...small production line of artificial redwood trunks and logs...25-foot tall gun-metal-colored Imperial Walker...stands at ease against the fence...herd of Jersey cows in the next field over,"
"dailys are viewed at night in the Ship Ashore Redwood Room,"
"Room number four, the Production office,"
Outside room number four you can "feed the sea gulls on the dock,"
"the little people's hotel across the Oregon border is spacious and has an indoor swimming pool and Brookings"
Harrison Ford liked to eat at "Jim's, a restaurant in Crescent City," "The Ewoks are having their final costume fittings and have been getting in shape with movement rehearsals in the dance hall of a local roadhouse,"
Owen R Cheatham Grove
Dennis Muren - "I was involved in doing the speeder bike sequence, shooting in the redwood forest in Eureka, California." - Star Wars Galaxy 13
While at the Big Bake Off on 8-16-01, I asked Dennis Muren where exactly the speeder bike chase sequence was filmed. He wasn't sure exactly but it was in the Avenue of the Giants area. I mentioned my trip to Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park and he didn't recognize that name. When I said it was specifically Owen Cheatham grove he said that name sounded familiar and might be right but he wasn't sure. After telling him about the one scene that I lined up he said I was probably right about the location. He didn't recall flipping the film image but said he could have done it. Which ever grove it was, all of the steadycam shots were there and there was another area used for a few other shots. In the Avenue of the Giants they shot the side view scenes from the back of a truck as they drove down the road. He said that area wasn't spectacular enough and they wanted to get away from traffic and people so that's why they went to the grove for the steadycam shots.
My notes - Owen R Cheatham Grove - 36 West -> go past the Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park visitors center - go over the curved bridge - just before straight bridge, turn right into parking area
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You are way off base on your locations....

Lennis Fike

Some more details of what you're talking about would be helpful. My article clearly states that I didn't make it to the correct location in the Smith River area. The World Map page shows the correct location if you're interested. The Grizzly Creek Redwoods location is the right one though. My pictures don't line up prefectly since I didn't have any screenshots with me but there was an eBay listing recently with some really great photos.

Do you think you could give me a little more information abou Lennie's for a film class project. If you can... Email it to Thanks
I don't know anymore than what is posted in the story. All of my info about him came from The Making of ROTJ book.
Great line-up shots. do you have the exact coordinates of the shot? are the shots easy to find at the park? im going up there ina couple of weeks and want to go to grizzly creek and see and shoot these spots.
I didn't have a GPS with me when I was there to get the exact coordinates, but the locations inside Grizzly Creek were very easy to find. I only had a vague reference to go by when I went and was lucky that the park ranger knew what I was looking for and sent me down the road to Owen R Cheatham Grove. The pictures I posted above were taken right on the marked path that goes through the grove. You can't miss them. If you do go, it would be great if you could return to this website and post a few pics of your own after you get back. I'd love to see them.
You better go to Cheatham Grove soon. It is closing, along with the rest of Grizzly Creek State Park, July 1, 2012 due to budget shortfalls (campgrounds are closing May 1). Pretty sad.
I did hear that it was on the list to be closed. It is sad and has me worried after reading of the vandalism that has happened at other parks that have closed.
Wow. This has to be the longest gap between conversations Smile