You can discover some of the world’s most beautiful and best places in Redwood National and State Parks. However, this place also provides an incredible other stunning location to explore and you can enjoy a variety of fun activities.
Redwood National and State Parks are located in Northern California, near the Oregon border, and include four parks: Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. The Klamath River divides the complex into two parts: north and south.
If you enjoy nature, you must see Redwood National Parks once. From thick redwood woods to pristine beaches, huge prairies to windy coastal bluffs, their splendor is breathtaking. Many awesome adventures offer to you at Redwood National and State Parks, from hikes to breathtaking drives, tide-pooling to wildlife observation.
Are you planning a trip to one of these stunning parks?
Read this article to learn about the most incredible and best things to do in Redwood National Park and all the tips that you should know before visiting!
Table of Contents
Tips for Visiting the Redwood National Park
Prior to your visit, print or browse the official park map and brochure. The park warns that in the Redwood National and State Parks area, your GPS or mobile apps may not be reliable.
To find your way through the parks, rely on printed maps, guides, and signs. This convenient reference guide for Redwood National and State Parks includes all of the best trails and sites, as well as maps and color images. It’s available on Amazon too.
A safety page can be found on the website of the Redwood National and State Parks. To have a safe and pleasurable stay, read up on the rules and observe them.
Expect Limited Cell Reception.
Cell phone connection is patchy and limited throughout the park. Near the visitor centers or on the outside of the park, you’ll probably get the best reception.
Groceries And Other Stores Can Be Found
If you’re driving from the south, Trinidad is an excellent place to stop and stock up on mineral water, groceries, and other necessities. Crescent City has complete supermarkets and other shopping if you’re coming from the north.
Bring Plenty Of Drinking Water With You.
Bring plenty of drinking water with you on each trip to ensure you keep hydrated. Potable water is available at the visitor centers.
If you’re going on a trip, a chiller is a great investment. If you do a lot of road vacations or travels to outdoor places, a refrigerator is a smart investment.
Bring Snacks And Food
Because there are no restaurants inside the parks, bringing food and snacks is a good idea. Picnic tables may be found throughout the park, so if you’ve brought food, you’ll be able to stop for a picnic lunch during the day.
Restaurants can be found in the communities surrounding the parks, such as Trinidad, Crescent City, and Klamath. The Larrupin’ Cafe in Trinidad for supper and the Requa Inn for brunch or dinner are both highly recommended.
Layer Your Outfit
The weather in Redwood National and State Parks can be unpredictable at any time of year. Always be prepared by dressing in. Always dress in layers and carry waterproofs with you because you never know when you’ll get a surprise rainfall.
Wear Hiking Shoes That Are Sturdy.
Even for shorter nature walks and hikes, comfortable closed-toed walking shoes are required, and hiking shoes with adequate grip are recommended if you want to perform longer, moderate to hard hikes with a lot of elevation variation.
We recommend wearing waterproof footwear because the trails might be slick and wet.
Bring Bug Spray And The First-Aid Kit With You.
You may meet insects and other biting insects in Redwood National and State Parks because it is a woody, wet area. It’s a necessity to bring bug spray!
Take Your Camera And Binoculars To The Event.
Look for a small digital camera with a good zoom lens if you enjoy capturing birds or nature but don’t want to lug your bulky equipment. Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70 is one of our favorites: it has a 30X zoom and a Leica lens, and it captures wonderful photographs of even small birds in good light.
If we expect to view birds or wildlife, we always pack our compact binoculars: we enjoy the Celestron Trailseeker compact binoculars. They are both waterproof and durable. They are weatherproof and ideal for viewing birds and wildlife in low light conditions such as dawn or twilight.
Things To Do In Redwood National Park
The Redwood National State Parks protect around 45 percent of all familiar coast redwoods, the Sequoia sempervirens, and cover over 139,000 acres. These majestic giants previously covered vast swaths of the California coast, but decades of relentless logging decimated their number.
Redwood National and State Parks now work to protect not only old-growth redwoods but a variety of other endangered species. The Redwood National and State Parks are one of only three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in California.
The world’s largest tree, Hyperion, as well as the second and third tallest, Helios and Icarus, are all found in Redwood National and State Parks. Their exact locations are unknown.
To keep them safe, their specific locations are kept hidden.
Redwood National and State Parks are among the least visited of California’s national parks due to their remote location, many hours from the nearest significant city. That implies you can visit them in relative peace unless it’s during peak season in the summer.
Are you eager to learn more? Let’s get started exploring Redwood National and State Parks’ finest attractions!
1. FERN CANYON HIKE
The Fern Canyon Loop Trail, arguably the most popular activity in Redwood National and State Parks, is well worth a spot on any nature lover’s California bucket list. Home Creek formed the lush canyon, which was depicted in Jurassic Park 2.
In Prairie, we’re going to explore Fern Canyon.
In Prairie Creek, we went on a hike through Fern Canyon. One of the best things to do in Redwood National Park is to visit Redwoods State Park.
Moisture drips down both walls of the tiny canyon, which are blanketed in a lush growth of various varieties of ferns, mosses, and other flora. Walking down the canyon makes you feel like you’re in an action movie, stumbling through an exotic wilderness!
Fern Canyon can be hiked as a one-mile loop or as an out-and-back as far as you wish. Footbridges keep the path dryer and simpler to walk in the summer. Your feet will most likely be wet the remainder of the year, but the trail is still walkable. Wear footwear that is waterproof.
Before you go out, make sure you have waterproof footwear and verify the trail conditions.
2. DRIVE THROUGH HOWLAND HILL ROAD
The 6-mile picturesque drive down Howland Hill Road in Redwood National and State Parks is our favorite. The graded dirt road is tiny, and it feels like you’re passing through an underpass of tall redwoods: it’s both thrilling and humbling at the same time.
If you come from the south, the road climbs into the park, passing through some of the most beautiful redwoods you’ll ever see, and then descends past more trees and woodlands. The green is extremely relaxing, and the sunlight shining through creates a wonderful atmosphere.
Pullouts and trailhead parking are available along the way. The Del Norte Titan and the Grove of Titans, which include some of the park’s largest trees, are off-trail; however, a boardwalk trail is being constructed to allow visitors to observe them without trampling the vegetation.
The Howland Hill Road is too narrow for wide cars and trailers to pass through. The finest way to enjoy this journey’s splendor is to drive slowly.
3. JOHNSON GROVE STROLL LADY BIRD
The Lady Bird Johnson Grove’s level, a short walk through lovely redwoods is ideal for even the shortest of outings. The ridgetop loop trail is 1.5 miles long and 1,200 feet above sea level, it is located off Bald Hills Road.
Lady Bird Johnson Grove at Redwood National Park, California, has a rhododendron in bloom.
The grove’s understory is particularly lovely, with many matured ferns and rhododendrons blooming in late April with gorgeous pink blooms. This is one of the park’s groves where you may expect to observe whirling mist, which adds to the mystery ambiance of redwood forests.
In the summertime, join a ranger-led informative walk through the famed grove to see the statue dedicated to Lady Bird Johnson.
4. DRIVE THE SCENIC PARKWAY OF NEWTON B. DRURY
The 10-mile Newton B. Drury Beautiful Parkway winds through the center of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, providing a scenic alternative to US 101. Mr. Drury was the executive director.
For many years, Mr. Drury was the executive director of Save the Redwoods League, and he is well-known for his efforts to safeguard redwood forests.
In Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California, looking up at the canopy along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
While the trip alone is a worthwhile activity in and of itself, there are countless opportunities to stay and visit all along the way, since it is the starting point for multiple trails throughout the park. The Corkscrew Tree, with its four twisting trunks, is a must-see!
If you wish to snap photos, there are backcountry campsites along the road.
5. GO FOR A WALK ON THE SIMPSON-REED TRAIL.
The Simpson-Reed Trail is less than a mile long and boasts enormous old-growth redwoods with vivid green moss-draped trunks. Hemlocks and maples, ferns, and the omnipresent redwood sorrel make up the understory.
One of the most lovely short treks in the complex is the accessible Simpson-Reed Discovery Trail, which is ideal for families with young children or tourists who use wheelchairs or walkers. Look for felled trees in the grove, particularly a particularly long one that may be seen close along the trail’s edge.
Although the grove is near to the highway, traffic noise diminishes as you travel deeper into it. A short alternative extension to the loop is the Peterson Memorial Trail. Walker Road leads to the trailhead for the Simpson-Reed Trail.
6. AT THE KLAMATH RIVER OVERLOOK, ENJOY THE VIEWS.
Klamath River Overlook, is arguably the park’s most spectacular overlook, with breathtaking views of the shoreline and the ocean. But it’s the fact that you can watch the Klamath River fall into the ocean from here that makes this site unique. The river forms pools on the beach, which makes for a fantastic photo opportunity.
The Klamath River Overlook is a terrific area to look for marine life and one of the best birdwatching spots in the park. In season, you may see or hear harbor seals, as well as whales spouting or fluking in the ocean. On foggy evenings, the sunsets here are spectacular.
If you wish to take a break from hiking, there are picnic tables available at the overlook.
7. TRILLIUM FALLS ARE ADMIRE
The Trillium Falls Trail is one of the park’s most attractive, containing not just a lovely tiny cascade to photograph, but also a diverse range of vegetation, including redwoods, maples, firs, and ferns. From a steel bridge, you may take shots of the waterfalls, which tumble over rocks.
Western trillium wildflowers have three petals and bloom from late spring through early summer. The exquisite white blossoms, which are often tinted with pink or purple, are a treat to shoot. At that time, the pink Pacific rhododendron may also be in bloom.
Trillium Falls is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile circle walk. You can turn around at Trillium Falls, which is about 0.5 miles into the climb. Elk Meadow has ample parking and is the trailhead. In the parking lot, look for Roosevelt elk.
8. MEMORIAL GROVE OF STOUT
Stout Memorial Grove is the classic redwood grove, with magnificent old-growth redwoods and few other trees to compete with their grandeur. Ferns and redwood sorrel grow abundantly in the luxuriant understory. You can go near the Stout Tree thanks to a viewing deck that protects the undergrowth.
The trees in this grove aren’t the tallest you’ll see, but they’re nonetheless remarkable as a group at roughly 300 feet tall. By far the largest tree in the forest is the Stout Tree. The grove is located near the Smith River, and the 0.5-mile trail is littered with fallen trees.
When the grove isn’t too crowded, the diffused light and quiet environment make for a moving encounter. In the summer, the best light is in the late afternoon.
9. BALD HILLS ROAD DRIVE
Bald Hills Road is particularly lovely in the springtime. On its journey to the trailheads for the Lady Bird Johnson Grove and the Tall Trees Grove, the road climbs sharply from US 101, passing through redwood woods.
Bald Hills Road continues on, passing through broad open prairies for a change of view. Carpets of wildflowers, particularly purple lupine, blanket the grasslands throughout the spring and early summer, creating a postcard-perfect view.
While driving, keep an eye out for animals: Bald Hills Road is a great place to see wildlife in the park. There’s a chance you’ll see Roosevelt elk and black bear! On a clear day, you can view all the way to the Pacific Ocean from the Redwood Creek Overlook.
Near the beginning of the trip, Orick Mill, the last surviving old-growth lumber mill, appears. From this route, you can climb to the old ranches of Dolason and Lyons. Bald Hills Road is 17 miles long in one direction, with the last few miles being unpaved. Trailers and RVs are not permitted on this road.
10. HIKE THE JAMES IRVINE TRAIL, ONE OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD
If you intend on spending a few days in the parks and enjoy trekking, the James Irvine Trail is a lengthier trail that leads to the ocean and back via redwood trees. This hike might also include the Fern Canyon Trail.
Begin at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center and follow the James Irvine Trail until it joins with the Friendship Ridge Trail and the Fern Canyon Loop for the entire 12-mile loop. You’ll pass old-growth redwoods inland, spruce forests closer to the shore, and be amazed by Fern Canyon’s rich greenery. Make your way to Gold Bluffs Beach.
You can either turn around and retrace your ways or continue up Davison Road and return to the visitor center via the more difficult Miners Ridge Trail. This is a difficult loop that will take several hours to complete, so plan appropriately!
11. BIRD WATCHING
Bring your binoculars or zoom lens if you enjoy birding: over 280 species of birds have been observed in Redwood National and State Parks. That’s more than a third of all the species in the United States!
Sea and shorebirds, birds that like rivers, creeks, and ponds, birds that live in coniferous woods, and birds of the woodlands and prairies can all be found in the parks due to their different habitats.
You’ll find everything here, from owls, woodpeckers, jays, and warblers to raptors of all types, ducks, herons, egrets, sandpipers, pelicans, grebes, and loons. If you’re out and about early in the morning during the summer, search for the endangered marbled murrelet.
Within the Redwood National and State Parks, there are numerous birdwatching opportunities, including the trails, drives, and views mentioned above.
12. CHECK OUT THE LARGE TREE ON THE SIDE
Do the short walk from the parking lot off the Newton B. Drury Scenic Byway to the Enormous Tree viewing area if you want to see some really big redwood trees in a short amount of time. You can get up close and personal with the Big Tree thanks to a viewing platform built around it.
Other mature redwoods can be found in the grove, so if you have some extra time, take one of the smaller treks that runoff from here, such as the Circle Trail. There is plenty of signs pointing you in the right direction, as well as interpretative panels if you really want to discover more.
The Big Tree is obviously busy, so this isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for some “cathedral calm.” However, it’s a wonderful little visit to see some beautiful trees that you shouldn’t pass up.
13. AT THE CRESCENT BEACH OVERLOOK, LOOK FOR WHALES.
On clear sunny days, the park’s many coastal overlooks are worth visiting, not only for the beautiful ocean vistas but also for the chance to see marine life, like whales, when they are in season.
Crescent Beach Overlook is located in the complex’s northwestern corner. On clear days, the panoramic view of the sandy beach, the ocean, and the underwater rock formations will take your breath away. It’s a fantastic location for whale watching.
14. HIKE TO THE GROVE OF TALL TREES
Want to go on an exciting Redwood National and State Parks backcountry hike? The journey to Tall Trees Grove is four miles round way and includes a 1,600-foot elevation change if you are an experienced climber.
The Tall Trees Grove trek descends 800 feet to Redwood Creek’s bed. Because of the sheltered position and ample water, the redwoods here are quite tall, reaching heights of up to 350 feet in certain cases. The understory is lovely, and the brook is lined with spruces and other trees.
While there are other groves in the parks with trees as tall and huge (and simpler to approach! ), this one is unique.
15. HORSE RIDING OR BIKING
While hiking the more than 200 miles of trails in the Redwood National and State Parks is undoubtedly the finest way to experience being close to the redwoods, the parks also offer bicycling and horseback riding.
The majority of the parks’ bike routes are located in the south, mostly along rebuilt logging roads. The Coastal Trail’s Gold Bluffs portion is three miles long. A 3-mile cycling portion is also available on Davison Trail.
The Newton B. Drury Scenic Byway is a hiking and bike trail that is closed to motorized traffic from October through May on the first Saturday of each month.
Guided riding excursions of Redwood National and State Parks are available from local farms. If you want to go on a few days’ journeys, the park complex offers designated horse trails and stock-ready camps. Short rides are enjoyable.
16. TRAIL OF THE BOY SCOUT TREE
The Boy Scout Tree Trail is just over five miles round trip, with a 750-foot elevation difference, so it’s a good workout. The walk is one of the park’s most scenic lengthier hikes for seeing old-growth redwoods. Howland Hill Road leads to the trailhead.
In California’s Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, redwoods line the Boy Scout Tree Trail.
You will ascend a couple of hills along the trail, which will provide you with spectacular views of the surrounding area.
You will ascend a couple of hills along the trail, which will provide you with spectacular views of the surrounding woodlands. The scarlet trail meandering among the moss-covered trees and green ferns makes for a very lovely picture. The silence should be appreciated.
The Boy Scout Tree is located at the foot of the valley, at the end of a little unmarked route to the right. The walk terminates at Fern Falls, a little but beautiful) cascade: this trek is about the trip more than the destination.
The Boy Scout Tree Trail is popular, especially in the summer, so get there early to enjoy the peace and quiet. The best photo opportunities are in the mornings when the sun is shining.
17. AT ENDERTS BEACH, SEARCH THE TIDEPOOLS.
The tidepools at Enderts Beach are well-known, and the coastline is also beautiful. Starfish, anemones, mussels, crabs, and other intriguing species can be seen in the pools at low tide. This beach is also a great area for taking pictures.
Hike the California Coast Trail’s Last Chance Section to Nickel Creek Camp, where you can descend to the beach via a downward trail.
Things to Do in Redwood National Park – FAQs
To conclude, Redwood National Park is no less than a heaven on earth. Must go there with proper preparation we have discussed above. This place is worth visiting once in a lifetime.
You can camp inside the parks or stay in hotels or Airbnb accommodations in the surrounding areas when visiting Redwood National and State Parks. Many people stay on a vacation property along the Klamath River, which provided a great base for touring the parks.
The best time to visit Redwood National and State Parks in terms of weather is in late spring through early fall, however, you can enjoy dry, clear weather in the winter as well. Summer is peak season in the parks, with drier, warmer weather and longer daylight hours, so popular trails and attractions will likely be packed.