Many of the world’s tallest trees are alive and well within the Redwood National and State Parks in Humboldt County, towering over the growth beneath. These centuries-old redwood trees are still growing today, adding two or three feet to their height every year.
Offering many independent hikes, camping, and viewing of old-growth redwoods, this national park gives you complete freedom to experience all of nature however you like best. Look out for Tall Trees Grove, Lyons Ranch, and Redwood Creek. You will also enjoy unique creeks, prairies, and coastal locations to create a distinct panorama of the beautiful California landscape.
Location: Orick, CA
Entrance Fee: Free
Getting there: Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport, U.S. Highway 101
How Long To Stay: Two-three days
Best Time of Year: Spring, early summer
The Redwood National Park holds many natural wonders that give each guest an extraordinary experience. Though the national site formed decades later than the Redwood state parks, the Tall Tree Grove of Redwood National Park contains the tallest tree in the world, Hyperion.
However, viewers must speculate which tree reaches the record-holding height of 380 feet since the exact location of Hyperion is not available to the public.
Unlike the nearby Redwood State Parks, the National Park upholds its desire to preserve an impression of wilderness. Thanks to smaller crowds, no traffic noise, and less cultivation, you can walk among all the wild and natural elements of the Redwood National Park.
Redwood National Park Facts
Age: Formed in 1968
Size: 138,999 acres
Named After: The famous redwood tree
Weather: Year-round mild temperatures with rainy winters
Since the preserve is situated on California’s northern coast, there is no shortage of variety in the attractions at Redwood Park. Adventurers can take their pick between easy and challenging trails, tree groves, creek views, beaches, campgrounds, and more.
There are many roads along Redwood National Park, so both walking and driving between attractions will yield breathtaking views.
Some of the best activities at Redwood National Park include:
- Redwood Creek Dispersed Camping
- Lost Man Creek Trail
- Lyons Ranch Trail
- The Coastal Trail
- Tall Trees Grove and Hike
Located in the heart of Redwood National Park, the gravelly shores of Redwood Creek provide one of the best camping options for visitors of this park. This peaceful portion of the creek spans over seven miles, meandering directly adjacent to Tall Trees Grove.
All that is required is a backcountry camping permit for visitors to set up wherever they’d like along the shore.
Campers can pitch tents and make fire pits anywhere along the Redwood Creek Trail except within a quarter-mile of the Tall Trees Grove. In addition to the beauty of the moving creek, campers can take in the views of redwoods along the horizon.
Highlight: The months between June and October offer this camping opportunity lower creek levels.
Following an easy-to-walk logging road, this trail spans over 20 miles of both old-growth and second-growth redwoods. The hiker can descend into the heart of the forest on this trail with level paths and abundant greenery surrounding the road.
Beginning at the picnic area of Lost Man Creek with parking available, visitors can follow the trail down into the canyon for as long as they wish before reversing down the same path. Hikers will find a redwood grove after one mile filled with old-growth redwoods and greenery beneath.
Highlight: A beautiful redwood grove nestled within the trail can reward hikers.
The historic area of Lyons Ranch was once pasture for cattle and sheep before becoming part of the Redwood National Park. Visitors can explore the barns, sheep sheds, and bunkhouses that were built in the early 1900s. The rolling landscape of prairies and oak groves create a beautiful foreground with the dark green of redwoods in the distance.
Guests can hike two miles to the historic buildings in the Lyons Home Place from the historic site’s parking.
Highlight: Visit the remnants of century-old newspapers still lining the walls of these historic buildings.
Offering a unique combination of spruce trees, groundcover, and a beach access point, this nearly four-mile hike to the beach provides beautiful views all along the way, full of the natural greenery of wild ferns, moss, and coastal scrub.
To complete the immersive wilderness experience, hikers will find a beautiful and undeveloped beach, except perhaps populated by elk or seals. Visitors can make use of the public parking from Robinson Road to begin this scenic trail.
Highlight: The lavish green trail eventually gives way to a beautiful private beach.
As the most sought-after destination within Redwoods National Park, the pathway to Tall Trees Grove is just as mysterious as the gigantic trees themselves. The section of many of the world’s tallest trees lies more inland than any other state redwood parks, with no interference from busy roads, pushy crowds, or unpleasant weather.
Viewers can stare up at the redwoods among the lively brush of ferns and hazelnut trees. The area requires a free permit but only 50 cars are granted access to it every day. Beginning at the Tall Trees trailhead, visitors will pass through a locked gate, drive six miles down an abandoned logging road, and hike a little over one mile to arrive at the grove.
Highlight: The public does not have access to the exact locations of the tallest trees in this grove to avoid overcrowding.
If you have a limited amount of time to appreciate the wonders of Redwood National Park, there are a few destinations that should be at the top of your list. Since most activities in this park require walking and hiking, one of the best tips I can offer is dispersing the strenuous walks throughout the day.
In this itinerary, I recommend two of the most popular and rewarding hikes which are broken up by scenic drives and completed with a relaxing overlook view. The plan will keep you moving, so you can expect to work up a well-deserved appetite. Be sure to pack snacks and picnic supplies for the day!
One of the most popular sites of Redwood National Park is the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail. Dedicated in honor of the former First Lady to Lyndon B. Johnson, this calm and easy trail offers scenic views and many educational sights along the way. Hikers can enjoy large and small redwoods alongside many other shrubs, flowers, and ferns covering the ground.
The upland trail sits northeast of the Kuchel Visitor Center, offering a pleasant attraction for an easygoing morning.
After completing the short Lady Bird Johnson Loop, take the scenic drive down to the Tall Trees Trailhead. Driving through this rich forest is a great opportunity to rest and still take in the natural surroundings along Bald Hills Road. With an online permit, you will enter a unique code at the Tall Trees access road.
After another short drive and a one-mile hike, you can spend the afternoon gazing up at the tallest redwoods in this secluded and tranquil grove.
Once you return to the parking zone, gather your picnic supplies and head to the Redwood Creek Overlook just north of the Tall Trees Grove. This vantage point beckons you to stop and appreciate the 9,000 acres of redwoods in view.
What’s more, these beautiful old-growth and second-growth trees are situated right next to beautiful clouds, hills, and the distant Pacific Ocean. With an unhindered view of the sunset and the towering redwoods along the horizon, you can enjoy this elevated view with a new perspective on those massive trees.
The main visitor’s center, Kuchel Visitor Center is open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the spring, summer, and fall and remains open between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. from November through February.
- Camping is allowed in permitted areas.
- Many trails are open to the public.
- The Tall Trees Grove admits 50 cars per day.
Yes, you can drive towards Redwood National Park along Highway 101 to reach the Kuchel Visitor Center and Prairie Creek Visitor Center.
Routes and roads:
- Bald Hills Road
- Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway
- Bald Hills Road to Schoolhouse Peak
- Trinity River National Scenic Byway
- Lost Coast Loop
Thanks to the steady stream of sightseers and adventurers who visit the national and state parks in this area, there is no shortage of rentals, hotels, and campgrounds nearby. I have compiled a list of some of my favorites in this area, so take your pick and get on with your journey!
The closest city to Redwood National Park is Trinidad, California. You can enjoy a commute of 20 minutes or less from many of these Orick and Trinidad locations below for all of your redwood excursions.
- Elk Meadow Cabins
- Sylvan Harbor
- Emerald Forest Cabins & RV
- Trinidad Bay Bed & Breakfast Hotel
- Lost Whale Bed & Breakfast Inn
- Ocean Grove Lodge & Restaurant
- Gold Bluffs Beach & Campground
- Azalea Glen RV Park & Campground
- Redwood Creek Dispersed Camping
Do you still have questions? See below for quick answers!
With a large population of wildlife like Roosevelt elk, black bears, and mountain lions, it is always wise to alert these potential neighbors of your presence with noise and proper distance. Some plants may be threatening as well such as poison oak.
Yes, there are a few main roads that span the length of Redwood National Park. You can enjoy a scenic drive through Highway 101 or along Bald Hills road to reach the many trailheads within this area.
There are two main options for airports near this park. While Crescent City Airport is the closest, only 20 minutes away, the airport is smaller and can be more expensive. The cheaper option is Oregon’s Medford Airport which requires a two-hour drive south to reach the park.
Explore Redwood National Park: