Table of Content
Redwood National Park | Introduction
Redwood National Park is located on the northern California coast, Redwood National Park is a long, narrow national park known for its vast expanse of nearly 34,000 hectares of gigantic California Coastal Redwood forests. California Redwoods are among the tallest trees on Earth, and the original redwood forests were said to have once covered an astonishing 800,000 hectares, stretching all the way into southern Oregon. However, only a mere four percent of the original forest remains today. Still, the remaining redwood forest offers a vast expanse with numerous forest trails to explore.Note that the Coastal Redwoods in Redwood National Park are different from the Giant Sequoias in Sequoia National Park. Coastal Redwoods are slimmer and taller, with a lifespan of approximately 2,000 years, whereas Sequoias have thicker trunks but are shorter than Coastal Redwoods and can live up to 3,000 years.
Traveling through the Redwood National Park is not just about seeing countless giant trees. The park is situated along the coast. When you are driving from north to south or vice versa, you could also enjoy stunning ocean views along the way. If you want to add some variety to your experience, make sure to include coastal attractions in your itinerary.
The massive redwood forest is divided into several parks, including Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek Redwood State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. When planning your trip, it is easier to consider all parks as one area since there is no actual boundaries of each park anyway. With a national park annual pass, you can access all the adjacent state park areas as well. If you look closely at the National Park Service's publications, you'll find them referred to this area as "Redwood national and state parks."
Redwood National Park | Itinerary & Accommodations
The entire Redwood forest area, including the national park and state parks, is divided into six major regions from north to south: the Hiouchi area, the Crescent city area, the Klamath area, the Prairie creek area, the Bald hills area, and the Orick area (see also NPS Map). These areas are intersected by scenic routes, making it quite convenient to explore by driving. In fact, you could fit most of the popular attractions in a day without embarking on long hikes. You could either prioritize the popular attractions in the Prairie Creek Area, Crescent City Area, and Hiouchi Area, or you can simply follow and drive through the scenic routes throughout the park. But if you want a more in-depth experience and pack in few hikes, having three days in the area would allow you to explore the area at a more relaxed pace.
For our trip, we scheduled four days around a long weekend to travel from the Bay Area to the Redwood National Park, also making a stop atHumboldt Redwood State Park along the way. So excluding the time spent driving and stopping at other places, we spent about two full days in the Redwoods National Park area. For day one, we focus on the southern half of the Prairie Creek Area. For day two, we visit the northern half of Hiouchi Area, along with some attractions in Crescent City Area. The detailed arrangement is as follows:
- Day 1: Northern half of the Redwood National Park area. We passed through the Humboldt Lagoon in Orick Area to check out the view points, and then headed straight to Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Our first stop in Prairie Creek Area was the Fern Canyon , following by the Trillium Falls trail. In the afternoon, we drove along Bal Hills Road in thePrairie Creek Redwoods State Park and finish the day with the Lady Bird Trail.
- Day 2: Southern half of the national park area. In the morning, we started at the Hiouchi visitor center, drove along Howland Hills Rd in the Hiouchi Area (the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park) and hiked the Simpson Reed Trail. In the afternoon, we headed south along the coast to explore attractions in the Crescent City Area and did few short hikes.
We were able to explore most of the < 5-miles trails within two days. But if you have the flexibility, splitting it into a three-day itinerary would make for a more relaxed experience.
If you want to save on transportation time, you can consider staying a day in the southern part and another day in the northern part of Redwood National Park. If you're open to camping, there are many campgrounds in the area to choose from. Prairie Creek State Parks and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park also offer cabins within the parks, but they need to be booked well in advance, especially during the summer when they are in high demand. If you prefer hotels, you can find accommodations more easily near Crescent City in the north and Eureka in the south, both of which offer plenty of good options.
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Redwood National Park | Attractions
The whole Redwood National Park including the state park is divided into six areas from north to south, we can divide them into south half and north half to play. The southern half includes Prairie creek area, Bald hills area, and Orick area, while the northern half includes Hiouchi area, Crescent city area, and Klamath area.
Redwood National Park South | Prairie Creek | Bald Hills
In the southern half of the area, most of the attractions are concentrated in the Prairie Creek Area and Bald Hills Area, along Highway 101 to the north, after the Kuchol Visitor Center, you can go to the beach to Fern Canyon/Gold Bluff Beach, or inland into Bald Hills to take the most popular Lady Birds Johnson Grove Trail, there are also Redwood Creek Trail, Tall Trees Trail, all very good trails for people who like to hike and walk. You can also head inland to the Bald Hills and take the popular Lady Birds Johnson Grove Trail. There are also the Redwood Creek Trail and the Tall Trees Trail in the area, all of which are great trails for those who like to hike and walk. The most scenic spots are concentrated in the Prairie Creek Area, along the 101 Scenic Highway section of the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway to enjoy the tall trees along the way, choose the scenic spots of interest to stay, the popular attractions are Prairie Creek Visitor Center and Elk Meadow, Popular attractions include Prairie Creek Visitor Center, Elk Meadow, Trillium falls, etc. Further south, there are alsoHumboldt Redwood State ParkBut since it's not part of Redwood National Park, I'm not sure if it's a good idea for me to go there.Another article.The following is an introduction.
Fern Canyon is a canyon, so be aware that reservations are required to enter Fern Canyon during the summer months. This is my favorite spot in Redwood National Park. The special thing is that the canyon is not surrounded by bare cliffs, but full of green ferns, walking in the canyon has a magical atmosphere of primitive jungle, details recorded in this post:
Old State Highway Viewpoint
This viewpoint is not very famous, but the scenery is quite amazing. The reason why I know this place is because the first time we came to Redwood National Park, a ranger told us that we must turn around at 120 miles to come to this private attraction. At that time, there is no signage here, after we saw the 120 mile turn, we realized that people would not pass by here, it is a very narrow road, this road used to be old state highway, the road is very bad, but you can see the whole Humboldt Lagoon from the high point, usually people will drive on the big road below the photo, and you can watch the birds towards the lagoon. Usually, you will drive on the main road below the photo, and you can watch the birds towards the lagoon. However, we were able to see the panoramic view because we climbed up to the high point.
Trillium Falls Trail
The entrance of Trillium Falls Trail is at the south side of Elk Meadow Day Use Area, the length of the trail is 2.5 miles, if you just want to see the waterfalls, the distance to the waterfalls is only 0.6 miles, soon after the entrance, you can see a fork in the road to the right and go up, and you can get to the waterfalls very soon, but the road is a little bit more difficult to walk. However, the road is a little bit harder to walk, the weather was a little bit cloudy and cold when we came here, the soil was a little bit watery, it is best to wear hiking shoes.
This area is an Old Growth Forest and the redwoods along the trail are very tall. The humidity here is relatively high, so there are many places covered with green ferns on the trees and along the trail, which is quite atmospheric. It was summer time when we came here, the waterfall was a little bit smaller.
Slightly north of the Trillium Falls trailhead is Elk Meadow. Deer can be easily seen from the roadside here, and we have seen them both during the day and at night when we drove by. Sometimes they are crossing the road in groups, sometimes they are grazing on the grass.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Further north is the most accessible area of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, with many gentle trails and many routes from the Visitor Center. The most important attraction is the Big Tree, which can be seen within 100 meters from the roadside parking. In addition to the Big Tree, there are also the Revelation Trail, Karl Knapp Trail, and Foothill Trail, all of which are very suitable for the whole family to walk together, and you can easily spend half a day on them.
I'll write a more detailed introduction in this post:
Lady Bird Johnson Grove
Lady Bird Johnson Grove is on Bald Hills Rd and is the most well known trail in Redwood National Park. There is a 1-mile loop trail that goes around Lady Bird John Grove. Due to the high terrain, 1000 feet above sea level, it is especially humid. It is best to bring a waterproof jacket here, because walking on this trail is like walking in a misty forest.
The redwoods here look a bit different from other places, the humid environment makes the trees here look lighter in color. In addition to the redwoods, there are also many Douglas Firs, which are interesting to look at closely. Redwoods are very resilient, we saw a tree that had survived a wildfire and was charcoal burned inside, but with a hole that could fit several people in, not only did the tree still stand, but a new tree grew out of it.
Redwood National Park North | Hiouchi Area | Crescent Beach Area | Klamath Area
The northern part of Redwood National Park includes Hiouchi Area, Crescent City Area, and Klamath Area, and the northern half of the park is surrounded by mountains and the sea, so each area is interesting in its own way, and you can arrange to do it on the same day. If you are driving down from the north and want to see the redwoods, you can first take a forest trail in Hiouchi Area, and then 101 south to Crescent Beach and Enderts Beach in Crescent City Area to see the beautiful sea view. Finally, at dusk, you can see the sunset at the Klamath River Overlook in Klamath Area, and you can also drive a section of Coastal Drive.
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Most of the Hiouchi Area focuses on the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park area. For those who want to take it easy, at least walk around the Simpson Reed Trail to see the classic old-growth redwood forests. If you have enough time, you can drive into Howland Hill Road, where you can find great redwood sites such as Stout Grove and the Grove of Titans. Details are documented in this article:
Battery Point Lighthouse
The Battery Point House, built in 1856, is a small historic lighthouse. The interior of the lighthouse has been converted into a museum. The beach around the lighthouse is a good place to observe the intertidal zone in addition to the ocean view.
Crescent Beach Overlook
If you are tired of seeing the forest, come to Crescent Beach to see the sea. There is a short walkway on the right hand side of Crescent Beach parking lot, you can walk up to the observation deck of Crescent Beach Overlook, the sea view from the high point is quite beautiful.
Enderts Beach is near Crescent Beach, and you can see the Last Chance Trailhead next to the parking lot, which is a 1.3 mile walk down the beach. The trailhead is 1.3 miles down to the beach, but the return trip is moderately difficult because you have to walk down from the hill. Although it's summer, we still saw a lot of wildflowers along the way, which should be very beautiful in spring.
Yurok Loop Trail
Yurok Loop Trail is beside Lagoon Creek, it is also a part of Coastal Trail, it is divided into two laps, the outer one is along the coast and the inner one is along the Lagoon. It is divided into two loops, the outer loop is along the coast and the inner loop is along the Lagoon, if you like to see the sea, the scenery of the small section of the coastal trail in front of here is also quite nice.
Klamath River Overlook
Klamath River Overlook is a scenic spot where you have to turn onto Requa Rd from 101 and walk a bit more towards the sea, where you can see the outlet of Klamath River. The scenery here is quite beautiful, but the weather is very changeable and often foggy. We were lucky when we came here, it was clear and there was a rainbow, so we could see the mouth of the river very clearly.
I met a small black bear on the way down. According to ranger, there are not many bears in this area, only three in the whole area, so it is a rare sight.
- Two-Day Adventure Guide to Redwood National Park: An Ultimate Travel Guide
- Redwood National Park | Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
- 【Redwood National Park】Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
- Redwood National Park】Fern Canyon Half-Day Tour
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park | Avenue of The Giant | Scenic Spots | Camping Tips
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