Redwood National and State Parks offer you the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful redwood forests in the world. But they also offer an amazing variety of other beautiful landscapes to explore and plenty of fun things to do.

Redwood National and State Park is located in Northern California, close to the Oregon border, and consists of four parks: Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and Del Norte Coast State Park. The complex is divided into two halves by the Klamath River, one to the north and one to the south.

Each of the parks deserves an individual visit if you love the outdoors. Together, they are breathtakingly beautiful – from lush redwood forests to pristine beaches and expansive meadows to windswept coastal cliffs. From hiking and driving to cleaning pools and wildlife viewing, there are many exciting things to do in Redwood National and State Parks.

Are you planning to visit these beautiful parks?

Discover the best things to do in Redwood National and State Parks and what you need to know before you go!

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National and State Parks in Northern California.

Businesses in Redwood National and State Parks.

Together, the Redwood National Parks cover about 139,000 acres and protect about 45% of all coastal redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens. These amazing giants once covered much of the California coast, but intensive logging over several decades has greatly reduced the population.

Beautiful views along the Damnation Creek Trail in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park California

Today, Redwood National and State Parks help preserve not only old-growth redwood forests, but also a number of other endangered species. Redwood National and State Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of only three parks in California.

Hyperion, the tallest tree in the world, is part of Redwood National and State Park, as are Helios and Icarus, the second and third tallest. Their exact location is kept secret for their protection.

Because of their location just hours from the nearest major city, the Redwood and State National Parks are among the least visited in California. This means you can explore them in relative peace and quiet, except perhaps during peak season.

Want to know more? Let’s start by discovering the best things to do in Redwood National and State Parks!

Fern Canyon

Perhaps the most popular activity in Redwoods National and State Park, the Fern Canyon Loop Trail deserves a place on the list of things to do for nature lovers in California. The lush canyon carved by Home Creek was featured in Jurassic Park 2.

Exploring Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is one of the best things to do in Redwood National Park.

The two walls of the narrow canyon are covered with a lush vegetation deck consisting of various species of ferns, mosses and other vegetation, with moisture flowing down the walls. Walking through the canyon, you’ll feel like you’re in an adventure movie as you traverse an exotic forest!

You can travel the Fern Canyon in a one-mile loop, or you can ride it out and come back as far as you like. In the summer, footbridges make the trail drier and easier to walk on. The rest of the year, your feet will probably be wet, but the trail is still passable. Before you leave, be sure to put on waterproof footwear and check the condition of the trail.

Location: Redwoods Prairie Creek State Park

Howland Hill Road Drive

Our favorite stretch of highway in Redwood National and State Parks is the 6-mile scenic drive along Howland Hill Road. The gravel road is narrow and it feels like driving through a tunnel of towering redwoods: an exhilarating yet humbling experience.

Howland Hill Road in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, California

Coming from the south, the road climbs into the park, passes some of the most beautiful redwoods you can see, and then descends past other trees and forests. The greenery is deeply soothing, and the piercing sunlight makes for great photos.

There are access roads along the trail and parking spaces on the sidewalks. The Del Norte Titan and the Grove of the Titans, home to some of the park’s largest trees, are not accessible by a walking path: a boardwalk will be constructed so visitors can see them without trampling the vegetation.

Wide vehicles and trailers will not be allowed to cross the narrow Howland Hill Road. Driving slowly is the best way to enjoy the beauty of this drive.

Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Lady Bird Johnson Grove Boardwalk

The flat, short trail through the beautiful redwoods of Lady Bird Johnson Grove is perfect for short hikers. Located just off Bald Hills Road, the trail is about 1.5 miles long and is 1,200 feet above sea level.

Rhododendron in bloom in Lady Bird Johnson Grove in Redwood National Park, California

The undergrowth of the grove is particularly beautiful, with many mature ferns and rhododendrons with beautiful pink flowers in late spring. This is one of the park forests where a swirling mist can reasonably be expected to provide that mysterious atmosphere associated with redwood forests.

You can view a plaque honoring Lady Bird Johnson and, in the summer, take part in a ranger-led walk through the famous grove.

Location: Redwood National Park

Go to Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.

Alternative to US 101, the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway stretches 10 miles into the heart of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Mr. Drury was the executive director of Save the Redwoods for many years and is highly respected for his work protecting the redwoods.

Looking up at the canopy along Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

This is a rewarding activity in itself, but you will also have many opportunities to stop and explore along the way, as it is the starting point for several hiking trails through the park. Don’t miss the corkscrew tree with its four crooked trunks!

On the south side of the road, watch for elk in the large meadow. The Newton B. Drury Parkway is wide enough for RVs and recreational vehicles. There are walking trails along the road if you want to stop and take pictures.

Location: Redwoods Prairie Creek State Park

Take a walk on the Simpson Reed Trail.

The Simpson-Reed Trail is less than a mile long and features large, old-growth redwoods with bright green moss on their trunks. Underbrush includes hemlock and maple trees, ferns and the ubiquitous sorrel.

Simpson-Reed Grove Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park California

The accessible Simpson-Reed Discovery Trail is one of the most beautiful short hikes in the complex, ideal for families with young children or visitors in wheelchairs or with walkers. Watch for fallen trees in the grove, especially the very long ones that can be seen just off the trail.

Although the grove is close to the highway, traffic noise is reduced at the entrance to the grove. The Peterson Memorial Trail is a short additional extension of the loop. The Simpson-Reed Trail is located at Walker Road.

Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Check out the view of the Klamath River.

Probably the most beautiful vantage point in the park complex, the Klamath River Overlook offers stunning views of the coast and ocean. But what makes this spot so special is that you can see the Klamath River flowing into the ocean! On the sand, the river flows in pools, making for a beautiful picture.

A view of the mouth of the Klamath River in California

The view of the Klamath River is one of the main bird-watching points in the park, but it is also an ideal place to observe marine life. In season, you may see whales swimming in the ocean, and you may see or hear seals. Sunsets are beautiful here at night, without fog.

There are picnic tables in sight if you want to have lunch there. Large vehicles such as RVs are not recommended on the access road.

Location: Del Norte Redwood Coast State Park

It’s good to know: If you want to come with an RV or caravan, the High Bluff viewpoint, just south of the campground, offers great views and parking for all types of vehicles.

Admire the Trillium Falls

The Trillium Falls Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in the park, where you can photograph not only a beautiful little waterfall, but also very interesting flora, from redwoods to maples and from spruce to ferns. From the steel bridge you can take pictures of the waterfall flowing over the cliffs.

Trillium Falls in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

The three-flowered wildflowers of western trilium bloom from late spring to early summer. White, sometimes with a hint of pink or purple, the delicate flowers are a joy to photograph. The Pacific Pink Rhododendron also blooms during this time.

The hike to Trillium Falls is a 2.6-mile loop and is considered moderately challenging. Trillium Falls is about 0.5 miles from the hike, and you can return there if you wish. The trailhead is at Elk Meadow, with ample parking. Look for Roosevelt Elk in the parking lot!

Location: Redwoods Prairie Creek State Park

Walk in the grove of the Stout Memorial

The quintessential redwoods in the Stout Memorial Grove are old, mature redwoods and almost no other trees to make you forget their size. The lush undergrowth consists of ferns and redwoods. A viewing platform allows you to approach the Stout Tree without damaging the undergrowth.

A fallen redwood tree in the Redwood National and State parks California

Although the trees in this grove are not the tallest, about 300 feet tall, they are impressive as a group. The Stout Tree is the largest tree in this grove. The grove is located on the Smith River, and you will see many fallen trees as you hike the 0.5 mile trail.

The peaceful setting of the grove (when it’s not busy!) creates a sense of movement. Visit in the late afternoon in summer to enjoy the best light.

Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Bald Hills Road Drive

Bald Hills Road is a beautiful hike, especially in the spring. The road climbs steeply from US 101 to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove and Tall Trees Grove trails with sequoias along the way.

Then Bald Hills takes you across the vast prairie for a change of scenery. In spring and early summer, carpets of wildflowers, especially purple lupine, cover the prairie, making it a postcard scene.

Lupine in bloom along Bald Hills Road in Redwood National Park in the spring

Watch for wildlife while driving: Bald Hills Road is the best place to observe wildlife in the park. You may see moose and Roosevelt black bears! From the viewpoint at Redwood Creek, you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.

The Orick mill, the last remaining old lumber mill, is about to begin. You can also take this road to the historic sites of the Dolason and Lyons ranches. Bald Hills Road is about 17 miles one way and the last few miles are unpaved. This road is not suitable for RVs or recreational vehicles.

Location: Redwood National Park

Walking on James Irwin’s epic path.

If you want to spend a few days in the parks and enjoy hiking, the James Irvine Trail is a longer trail through redwood forests to the ocean and back. You can also extend this hike with the Fern Canyon Trail.

Trail through Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods SP California

The full 12-mile round-trip hike begins at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center and follows the James Irwin Trail until it connects with the Friendship Ridge Trail and the Fern Canyon Loop. You’ll pass ancient redwoods inland, spruce forests closer to the coast, and be amazed by the lush vegetation of Fern Canyon. Showing up at Gold Bluffs beach.

You can turn around and retrace your steps, or continue on Davison Road and follow the more challenging Miners Ridge Trail back to the Visitor Center. This is a difficult loop that will take several hours to complete, so be prepared!

Location: Redwoods Prairie Creek State Park

go bird watching

If you enjoy bird watching, bring binoculars or a zoom lens: more than 280 species of birds have been spotted in Redwood National and State Parks. That’s more than a third of all species found in the United States!

A male Northern pintail in flight

Because there are so many different habitats in the parks, you will see sea and shore birds, birds that like rivers, streams and ponds, birds that live in coniferous forests, and forest and meadow birds.

From owls, woodpeckers, jays and warblers to a variety of raptors and ducks, herons, egrets, waders, pelicans, grebes and larks, you will be spoiled for choice! In the summer, don’t forget to look out for the endangered Marbled Partridge early in the morning when you get up.

There are many places to bird in Redwood National and State Parks, including the trails, boardwalks and elevation changes described in this article.

Location: Redwood National and State Parks

Check the way to the big tree.

If you want to see very large redwoods in a short time, take a short walk from the Newton B. Drury Scenic Byway parking lot to the Big Tree Lookout. The viewing platform around the Big Tree allows you to get up close.

There are other mature redwoods in the grove. So if you have a little more time, take the short hikes that lead from here, like the Circle Trail. There are many signs to show you the way, and signs with explanations if you want to know more.

The big tree is obviously popular, so it’s not the right place for this “silent cathedral.” But it is a nice short stop to see beautiful trees that should not be missed.

Location: Redwoods Prairie Creek State Park

Watch the whales at Crescent Beach, which overlooks the ocean.

On sunny days, the many coastal viewing platforms are worth the detour, not only for the spectacular ocean views, but also for observing marine life, including whales, in season.

Crescent Beach Overlook in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park California

The Crescent Beach Overlook is located north of the resort. On a clear day, the panorama of the sandy beach, the sea and the rock formations in the water will take your breath away by its beauty. It is a great place to spot whales and seabirds.

Parking is limited, but there are picnic tables on the observation deck where you can sit and enjoy the view and lunch. Sunset is a particularly spectacular time to be here.

Location: Del Norte Redwood Coast State Park

Walking in the forest of tall trees.

Want to take an epic hike through snowy terrain in Redwood National and State Parks? If you are an experienced hiker, the High Trees Grove hike is a four-mile trek and 1,600 feet of elevation gain.

A walk through the forest of tall trees takes you 800 feet deep into the bed of Redwood Creek. Because of its sheltered location and abundant water, the redwoods are very tall, some reaching heights of up to 350 feet. The foothills are beautiful, and there are spruce and other trees along the creek.

You will find other groves in the parks with equally large and tall trees (and easier access!), but this hike is beautiful and much less crowded because you need a permit and there is a limit on the number of days. If you want to go on a trek, you must register online before your trip.

The banana slug is commonly seen in redwood forests in Northern California

Biking or horseback riding

Although hiking on 200 miles of trails in Redwood National and State Parks is by far the best way to enjoy the proximity of the Redwoods, you can also bike and horseback ride in the parks.

Most of the parks’ bike trails are in the southern part of the region, primarily along reclaimed logging roads. The section of the Golden Bluff Coastal Trail offers three easy miles. The Davison Trail also has an easy 3-mile bike section. From October to May, on the first Saturday of each month, the Newton B. Drury Scenic Byway is a traffic-free hiking and biking trail.

Local companies offer guided horseback rides in Redwood National and State Park. The park complex has marked bridle paths and campgrounds if you want to take a multi-day trip. Short-term trips are also available.

Location: Redwood National and State Parks

Walking on the path of the Boy Scouts

The Boy Scout Tree Trail is 8 miles in either direction, with an elevation gain of nearly 150 feet, so it’s a good workout. The trail is one of the best long hikes in the park to see the ancient redwoods. The trail starts at Howland Hill Road.

Redwoods along the Boy Scout Tree Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park California

Along the way, you’ll climb a few hills that offer stunning views of the surrounding forests. The mossy trunks and green ferns through which the reddish trail snakes make a beautiful picture. The silence is to be appreciated.

You’ll find the trailhead tree at the end of a small unmarked path on the right, at the bottom of the valley. The trail ends at Fern Falls, a small (but beautiful) waterfall: this hike is more of a journey than a destination.

The Boy Scout Trail through the trees is especially popular in the summer. So arrive early to enjoy a quiet and secluded time along the trail. Sunny mornings offer the best photo opportunities.

Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Explore the intertidal areas at Enderts Beach.

Endert’s Beach is known for its high and low tides, and the shoreline is also beautiful. At low tide, you can look for starfish, anemones, shells, crabs and other interesting creatures in the ponds. This beach is also a great place for photography.

To get to the beach, park on the south side of Enders Beach Road and hike the “Last Chance” section of the California Coastal Trail to the Nickel Creek campground, where the trail descends to the beach.

Enders beach is not a beach for swimming because the waves are too high and the water temperature too cold. Never turn your back on the sea and visit it only at low tide.

Location: Del Norte Redwood Coast State Park

Go up Prairie Creek to the loop.

The relatively easy 2.5-mile hike from Prairie Creek to the base of the mountain is scenic and accessible. You’ll hear some traffic, so it’s not exactly peaceful, but the reward is high. You can also take the Prairie Creek Trail and return via the Cathedral Trail, a slightly longer loop that is just as scenic.

Hiking Prairie Creek Trail in Redwood National and State Parks, California

The Prairie Creek Trail winds past tall, ancient redwoods and the creek flows underneath. Along the creek you will see maples that are beautiful in the fall. There are ferns and sorrel in the undergrowth.

The trail leads to the Big Tree, one of the largest redwood forests in the park. The trail at the base of the hills leads to the edge of the redwood forest. The longer Cathedral Trail offers spectacular redwood forests and a more secluded return.

Location: Redwoods Prairie Creek State Park

Go kayaking.

Local companies offer guided kayak trips on the Smith River or on the ocean. Rafting trips are also available on the Smith River. Diving into the beautiful turquoise river surrounded by redwoods on a sunny day is a wonderful experience! You can choose between morning and afternoon trips or an all-day adventure.

In the summer, you can participate in a kayak trip on the Smith River, led by a ranger, so ask about it if you are planning a visit at this time of year. On a ranger-led tour, you will have the opportunity to learn more about geology, flora and fauna through play. Tours last about three hours and begin at the Hoochie Visitor Center.

Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Look for Roosevelt’s elk (and other wildlife).

Redwood National Parks and State Parks are home to many different land mammals. Although the parks are best known for their Roosevelt elk populations, black bears, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes and foxes, as well as river otters and North American beavers can also be seen.

Roosevelt elk in Redwood National and State Parks California

Roosevelt’s elk are the most common land animals seen in the parks. You’ll likely see them in Elk Prairie, the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway or at Elk Meadow, Davison Road on U.S. 101 or Gold Bluffs Beach. The chances of seeing moose and other wildlife are greatest in the early morning and late evening.

Always observe wild animals from the vehicle or from a very safe distance. Elk can also be unpredictable, especially during rutting and calving season.

Location: Redwood National and State Parks

Picnic in the parks

Picnic tables can be found in many areas of the park, from beaches overlooking the coast to meadows and forests. Each of the parks has a seating area for the day.

If you bring a portable grill, you can grill outside (but check with the park first), or you can prepare a picnic to enjoy.

Having a meal (or three!) in the parks is a great way to take a break and enjoy the scenery while you sit for a while.

The path of the cursed brook

The Damnation Creek Trail, one of the most popular hiking trails in Redwood National and State Park, is challenging with an elevation gain of over 1,000 feet above sea level. Along this trail you will find typical redwood forests with curling rhododendrons at the base of the large redwoods.

Hiking Damnation Creek Trail in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California

If you walk this path, you will experience a very different one: pink rhododendron flowers bloom and mist fingers create this mystical spectacle associated with the redwood forests.

The 4-mile route has large redwoods near the highway and leads to the Pacific Ocean, although there is no real ocean view until the end. The closer you get to the ocean, the more the redwoods give way to spruce, but the scenery remains very attractive.

Location: Del Norte Redwood Coast State Park

Enjoy the walk along the coast

Coastal Drive is a narrow 9-mile road that offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the mouth of the Klamath River. The road is steep and winding in places, and depending on the time of year (or due to erosion) parts of the road may be closed, so check before you head out.

Don’t forget to stop at lookout points along the way to admire the view, and bring binoculars to keep an eye out for whales, sea lions and seabirds. Along the way, be sure to stop at a World War II radar station disguised as a farm: there’s plenty to see!

Location: South of the Klamath River

Redwood National and State Park schedules and fares

Redwood National and State Parks are generally open all day, every day. But before you visit the park, check the website for special closures. Visitor centers, day recreation areas and campgrounds are open at different times of the year.

Visiting Redwoods National Park is free. The Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park charge a one-day use fee at the entrance to the developed campgrounds. Holders of an America Beautiful National Park pass receive a discount. California State Park Passes are accepted.

For a fee, you can drive to Gold Bluffs Beach and Fern Canyon. National park passes are accepted.

Before your visit, check the parks’ websites for up-to-date information on entrance fees and passes.

Do you already have a pass to the national parks? The America the Beautiful National Parks Pass is valid for a full year from the month of purchase. It costs $80 and provides access (per vehicle or for 4 people) to more than 2,000 state recreation destinations, including national parks, national forests and more! Buy yours online now at REI!

Driving the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway in Redwood National and State Parks in California

Redwood National and State Park Visitor Centers

There are five Visitor Centers in Redwood National Parks and State Parks (see map). It is recommended that you stop at one of the Visitor Centers upon arrival for orientation, answers to your questions, information and suggestions for hikes and other activities tailored to your needs.

Visitor centers offer exhibits and information about the parks, and some have bookstores where you can buy maps, books and souvenirs. Some organize programs and conferences.

If you are coming from the south, the Thomas H. Kuchel is located in Orica. Here you can watch a film about the parks and attend ranger conferences during the season. It is open year-round except during summer vacation.

Other drop-in centers are located at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Crescent City, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and Huchey.

Redwood National and State Parks in Northern California

Where to stay when visiting Redwood National and State Parks.

When visiting Redwood National and State Parks, you can camp in the parks or stay in hotels or Airbnb rentals in the communities surrounding the parks. We stayed in Klamath River for our vacation and found it a very convenient base for exploring the parks.

Airbnb’s near Redwood National and State Parks.

Nestled among spruce trees, this beautiful home overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the Klamath River. This three bedroom, two bathroom home is a five minute drive from Redwood National and State Park. The house has a fully equipped kitchen, laundry room and jacuzzi overlooking the ocean. Book your stay here!

This charming cottage has a king-size bed in the large loft room and a balcony with partial views of the Klamath River. It is nestled among spruce trees and very close to parks. The house has a kitchen and a wood burning stove. A perfect retreat for couples in nature! Book your stay here!

This renovated and very popular mobile home is located in Hunter Valley, Parks. The two bedroom, one bathroom home has a mahogany deck on a double fenced and gated lot. You’ll feel like you’re stuck! Book your stay here!

This comfortable lodge is located in Huchey, near Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP. A single cabin, ideal for a couple. The log cabin is built of sustainably harvested redwood and has a fully equipped kitchen. Book your stay here!

A beach in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California

Hotels nearby Redwood National and State Parks

Emerald Forest Cabins is located in Trinidad, about 0.5 miles from the beach and about a 20-minute drive from Thomas H. Kuchel. “Each room has a microwave and a refrigerator. Dining rooms are also available. Book on booking.com | Book on hotels.com

The Cross View Lodge is in an exceptional location in Trinidad. Located just 5 minutes from the beach, each cottage is equipped with a microwave and small refrigerator. Some cottages have full kitchens. View Crest Lodge is approximately an 18-minute drive from Thomas H. Kuchel. Book your stay here! Book with booking.com |Book with hotels.com

Camping in Redwood National and State Parks.

There are four landscaped camping areas in Redwood National Parks and State Parks: Jedediah Smith, Mill Creek, Elk Prairie and Gold Bluffs Beach. All campgrounds are managed by the state parks and can be reserved at the California Reserve. Reserve well in advance – the campgrounds are very popular.

Camping is also permitted in designated backcountry camping areas and campgrounds scattered in a designated area along Redwood Creek. Permits are required. If you would like to explore the backcountry or scattered camping areas, call the park for details prior to your visit.

There are also campgrounds and RV parks built around the parks. If you can’t find a spot in the park, find an option nearby. Northeast of the parks is the Smith River National Recreation Area, which also has campgrounds.

Hiking in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, California

How much time do you need to plan for Redwood National and State Parks?

You can plan an itinerary for Redwood National and State Parks from a few hours to a week or more. How much time you spend in the parks depends entirely on how much time you have and what you want to do.

Hiking offers a unique opportunity to get up close to the tallest trees in the world (California Bucket List experience!), but if you are short on time or don’t want to hike, you can focus on a few car rides, going out just for the view or for a very short hike to the trees.

With more than a few hours, you will have the opportunity to choose longer and more challenging hikes to explore the different habitats of the park, to choose moments with perfect light for photographs, to observe birds and wildlife and, in general, to enjoy your time among these magnificent giants of the forest.

We came from the central coast and enjoyed the parks for a week. Frankly, we could have spent another week without anything new to do. It really is a beautiful part of the state that deserves all the time you can give it.

A view of redwoods and prairie from the Elk Prairie Trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods SP in California

Reach Redwood National and State Parks.

Redwood National and State Parks are located along the northern coast of California, with the northern terminus at Crescent City, a few miles from the Oregon border, and the southern terminus at Orica, about 5.5 hours from San Francisco. The best way to reach the parks is by car.

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The parks are accessible from the north or south via U.S. 101. If coming from San Francisco, the Thomas H. Kuchel is about 312 miles north of the city along Highway 101. If coming from Redding, take California Highway 299 west on U.S. 101 N to the Kuchel Visitor Center.

Driving south from the Oregon coast, the Crescent City Information Center is about 26 miles south of Brookings. From central Oregon, take Hwy. 199 to U.S. 101 south to Crescent City.

Explore the Redwood National and State Parks.

You will need a vehicle to travel in Redwood National Parks and State Parks, either a car or a motorcycle. You can explore parts of the park on horseback or by bicycle.

Please note that some roads in the park are not suitable for large vehicles such as vans or trailers.

Fog envelops Damnation Creek Trail in Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP California

The best time to visit Redwood National and State Parks.

In terms of weather, late spring and early fall are the best times to visit Redwood National and State Parks, although there may be areas of dry, clear weather in winter. Because of the drier, warmer weather and longer daylight hours, summer is peak season in the parks, and popular hiking trails and attractions are likely to be crowded during this time.

Temperatures on the coast vary year-round from the mid-sixties to mid-forties, with precipitation between October and April. In summer, fog from the ocean infiltrates, creating the humid conditions necessary for the growth of redwoods.

In late spring, you’ll see an abundance of wildflowers in the park, from pink Pacific rhododendron flowers to white trillium and red purple sorrel. In late spring and early summer, the prairie is covered with wildflowers, making it a spectacular visit. In the fall, the leaves of the maple and other hardwoods along the streams change color, making it an excellent photo opportunity.

Pacific gray whales migrate south to Baja California in November-December and return north in March-April. Although this is the best time to see the whales in the ocean, you can see a few at any time of year from the Klamath River Overlook.

Whipplea modesta in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park California

Tips for visiting Redwood National and State Parks

Download the park map and brochure

Download or print the official park map and brochure before your visit. In Redwood National and State Parks, your GPS or mobile applications may not be accurate.

Rely on printed maps or guidebooks and signs to get to the parks. This handy guide is an excellent guide to the Redwood National and State Parks, with the best hiking trails and attractions, and color maps and photos. Buy it on Amazon!

Learn more about safety in the park

There is a safety page on the Redwood National Parks and Parks website. Please read and follow the instructions to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.

Don’t expect good cell phone reception.

Cell phone reception in the park is erratic and quite limited. You will probably have better reception near the reception centers or on the outskirts of the park.

Find grocery and other stores

If you plan to drive from the south, Trinidad is a great place to stop and buy bottled water, groceries and any other supplies you think you may need. Coming from the north, Crescent City offers a wide selection of grocery stores and other stores.

Redwood National and State Parks in California

Bring plenty of drinking water.

Bring plenty of drinking water, and take enough with you on each hike to stay hydrated. Potable water is available at the visitor centers.

A cooler is a good investment if you travel a lot or go on outings.

Bring snacks and food

There are no restaurants in the parks, so you must bring your own food and snacks. Picnic tables are available throughout the park. So if you are preparing a meal, you can stop for a picnic during the day.

Restaurants can be found in the nearby towns of Trinidad Park, Crescent City and Klamath. The Larrupin’ Cafe in Trinidad for dinner and breakfast or dinner at the Requa Inn is highly rated.

diaper dress

In Redwood National and State Park, you can experience changing weather conditions at any time of the year. Prepare yourself by always dressing in layers and bringing rain gear: you may experience an unexpected shower at any time.

Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are always recommended for camping. Bring a sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for open trails and time spent at the beach or waterfront.

Canopy in Lady Bird Johnson Grove in Redwood National Park, California

Wear sturdy walking shoes.

Comfortable hiking boots with closed noses are a must even for short hikes and nature walks, and hiking boots with good traction are recommended if you are planning longer, moderate to difficult hikes with lots of elevation changes.

The slopes can be slippery and wet, so waterproof footwear is recommended.

Bring mosquito repellent and a first aid kit.

Redwood National Parks and State Parks are forested and wet areas where mosquitoes and other biting insects may be present. Mosquito spray is a must!

Also bring your own first aid kit, including clean tweezers, disinfecting wipes and lotion.

Bring your camera and binoculars.

If you like to take pictures of birds or wildlife, but don’t want to carry heavy equipment, look for a digital pocket camera with a good zoom. We love our little Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70: it has a 30x zoom and a Leica lens and takes great pictures of small birds, even in good light.

Whenever we expect to see birds or wildlife, we always have our compact binoculars with us: we love the Celestron Trailseeker compact binoculars. They are waterproof and perfect for use in the light of dawn or dusk, when you are most likely to see birds and wildlife.

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Planning to further explore the natural beauty of California? Check out our articles on California’s other national parks!

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Discover the best things to do in Redwood National and State Parks on the Northern California Coast, from epic hikes to scenic drives and wildlife viewing!

Frequently asked questions

What should you not miss in Redwood National Park?

23 magical things in Redwoods National Park.

How many days should I spend in Redwood National Park?

Re: How long can you stay in the Redwood National Park area? Four to six nights is ideal. There are many long but moderate hikes to keep you busy.

Is Redwood National Park worth a visit?

All the mahogany parks are worth the trip. I love camping there. If you’re staying in the park, you have to book in advance – Yosemite is also beautiful, and it’s just as hard to find a camping spot or a room if you don’t book a year in advance.

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