Visiting Redwood National Park - Hike the Redwoods forest Path
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Visiting Redwood National Park (Let’s Plan the Best Redwood National Park Itinerary)

Are you thinking about visiting Redwood National Park?  Want to know some fun things to do at Redwoods National Park? Need to plan a Redwood National Park itinerary?

Awesome, you are in the right place! We recently went on a road trip to Redwood National Park and loved it! I'm excited to share the Redwoods np adventures we had! 

Planning a visit to California Redwoods National Park is a little difficult. The Redwood National and State Parks take up the top 1/3 of California.

Unlike, some national parks there isn't a huge beautiful Redwood national park visitor center. This means it is more difficult to figure out what the best places in Redwood National Park are.

In this post, we are going to give you a plan for visiting Redwood National Park.  We will start with the best places to visit in Redwood National Park. Followed by the top things to do at Redwoods forest national park.  We will even include some tips for visiting the Redwood national forest. 

These tips will include the best time to visit Redwood National Park, the closest airport near Redwood National Park, and some of the best Redwood National Park hikes. 

This information will help you create the perfect Redwoods National Park itinerary! 

Let's explore all of the fun things to do in Redwoods National Park! 

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Contents show

Tips for Visiting the Redwoods

Best places to visit in Redwoods National Park - Tree

There are a few things you should know before you go to Redwood's np.  I am going to try and answer any questions you might have before visiting Redwood National Park in CA. 

What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Redwood National Park?

What I have found is that temperatures are pretty much the same year-round.  It does not get too cold or too hot!

So basically anytime is a great time to visit! The one thing to watch out for is rainfall.  Winter tends to be rainy. The best time to hike the Redwoods is April – October. Summer months will be more crowded.  

Closest Airport Near Redwood National Park

The closest major airport is Medford, Or.  It is about 3 hours away. If you plan to fly into this airport make sure to allow yourself some time to see Crater Lake National Park. 

You can fly into Portland and drive down the Oregon Coast or even fly into San Francisco and drive up the California Coast. This trip will take about 6 hours from either direction.  

 
If you are planning a Redwood National Park road trip you will not be disappointed.  Both the California and Oregon coastlines are gorgeous with lots of stops along the way.  

How Many Days in the Redwood  National Park Do I Need?

Two days is the perfect amount of time to see all the major stops.  As you create your Redwood National Park itinerary, you can decide how much or how little you want to include.  

We only had one day in Redwood National Park.  We were able to explore the upper portion of the Redwood National and State Parks.  If we would have had one more day we could have traveled a little further south to Fern Canyon and Prairie Creek. 

Transportation Options for the Redwoods

If you are flying in you will probably be getting a rental car.  This will do the trick, we rented a van and were able to go on the dirt roads just fine.  The roads are very narrow in some places, so if you are renting an RV off-roading may not be too fun! 

Admission to Redwood National Park

Admission is free when you are visiting Redwood National Park.  If you want to visit Redwoods State Parks there are separate day-use fees. 

To gain access to Gold Bluffs/ Fern Canyon there is a separate entrance fee.  If you have an America the Beautiful Pass your fees are waived. 

Where to Stay Near the Redwood National and State Parks

Places to Stay near the Redwoods - treehouse

There are no major hotel chains near the Redwoods.  There are however a few locally owned hotels along the coast. 

If glamping in the Redwoods appeals to you, I have a suggestion.  We stayed at Out N About Tree Resort in Cave Junction Oregon.  It was fun!  It is about 45 minutes to the Redwoods! 

Staying in a treehouse was the highlight of our trip.  We loved the property and amenities!  Our kids loved it so much that they kept telling me they were vacation sick (instead of homesick) because they wanted to go back to the tree house resort. 

Visiting Redwood National Park

Best things to do in Redwood National Park

As you plan out your Redwood National Park itinerary, you will need to know that there are few different sections through northern California. 

Redwood National and State Parks comprise of 4 areas.  Three state parks and 1 National Park. 

  • Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
  • Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Redwoods National Park

As we create a Redwood National Park itinerary, I am going to hit the north side of Redwood np.  The full itinerary will be posted below. 

Things to Do in Redwood National Park

Must see in Redwood National Park

I'm excited to share with you all the fun things to do in Redwoods National Park! It is such a gorgeous area! 

California Redwood National Park is a bucket list item for me that I am so glad I was able to do! I know you will have a ton of fun with all the Redwood attractions. 

Before I created a Redwoods National Park itinerary I wanted to make a list of all the fun things to do in Redwood National Park.  This will give you an overview and then you can narrow down what you want to include. 

1. Talk to a Ranger

Redwood National Park must see - ranger

One of the first things you should do is set your GPS for one of the small visitor centers located in the area. 

The Redwoods National Park is not set up like other national parks.  You will have to stop at the visitor center to get a map to know where to go.   

I knew I had to ask a park ranger “what to do in Redwoods National Park!” All I knew is that I wanted to see the amazing trees! The park rangers are so nice and will direct you on the right path. It is worth stopping in for a chat!

Redwood National Park Visitor Centers

  • Hiouchi Visitor Center (Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park)
  • Jedediah Smith Visitor Center (Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park)
  • Crescent City Information Center (Crescent City, CA)
  • Prairie Creek Visitor Center (Prairie Creek Redwood State Park)
  • Thomas H Kuchel (Redwood National Park)

One thing that we learned was that most of the groves of trees are on dirt roads.  Some of the sites are not even labeled! 

Tip for Redwood National Park

Internet reception is horrible! We could not use GPS. We were very grateful we had the map and directions from the ranger! 

2. Become a Junior Ranger

Redwood Activities - Junior ranger

One of the best things to do at Redwoods National Park is to become a junior ranger. You do not need to be a kid to be a junior ranger!!!  Actually, even adults can participate.  

My family loves the junior ranger program.  One of the best parts is if you complete your assigned pages you will get a souvenir badge.  We have a collection from lots of national parks.

The Junior Ranger Program is designed for kids.  It is a fun interactive and informational workbook.  As you visit the Redwoods forest attractions you can fill out your book.  This is great because there is a lot of driving a Redwood np.  

3. Scenic Drive on a Dirt Road

Redwood National Park Things to do - scenic drive

After stopping at the Redwoods Visitor Center, we were told to go on Howland Hill Road. A dirt road that would lead to some of the most famous groves of the Redwood forest. 

Howland Hills Road

Driving on this road is breathtaking! You literally are driving between gigantic trees! The road is actually really smooth and flat so it isn't bad.  

This is the best scenic drive in the Redwoods.  The trees in this area are old-growth trees meaning that there are some that are over 300 feet tall.  Howland Hill Road is the best place to visit in the Redwoods. 

You will follow this road for 10 miles. There are lots of stops along the way.

Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway

This scenic drive is located at Prairie Creek Redwood State Park. It is the only area where you can actually drive next to the giant Redwood trees.  

On the first Saturday of each month, this scenic road is closed to motorists.  It is open to biking and hiking pedestrians. 

 

4. Visit the Famous Redwood Forest Groves

Things to do at Redwood National Park - Visit the Groves

There are many groves of trees in Redwood np.  We are going to highlight three.  You should at least include one of these in your Redwood National Park itinerary.

Stout Grove

If you are coming from the northern end of California, your first stop will be the famous Stout Grove.  It is located off of Howland Hill Road in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.  It is gorgeous. 

This was one of my favorite stops in the Redwoods.  It is the perfect family-friendly hike in the Redwoods.  It is only about a .5-mile loop. 

It is really hard to describe how amazing this area is! These trees are over 300 feet tall! Some have fallen over and you can see the circumference of the trunk.  

Everything you have imagined about the Redwood forest comes true in this grove! 

Lady Bird Johnson Grove

If you are coming from the south or in the southern part of Redwood National Park you will find both Lady Bird Johnson Grove and the Tall Tree Grove.

Lady Bird Johnson Grove has a 1.5-mile trail through the Redwoods.  You will most likely find the Hyperion Redwood Tree.  These trees are really tall and part of the old-growth section of the Redwood forest. 

This hike is breathtaking! There is a nice little bridge that makes the walk nice.  

Tall Tree Grove

Tall tree grove is south of Prairie Creek Redwood State Park. It is another amazing stop. 

This is the hike at the Redwoods that has a tree that has fallen on the path with a cutout that you can walk through! 

This Redwood hike is more strenuous than the other two groves.  It is about 4.5 miles round trip.  

If you are not in great shape may plan to visit one of the other two groves.  They are all amazing! 

It is so cool! 

5. Hike Redwood National Park

Hiking at Redwood National Park

All of the groves we mentioned above are amazing. In fact, they are some of the best hikes at Redwood National and State Parks. When visiting Redwood National Park be sure to enjoy a few hikes! 

Best Hikes at Redwood National Park

  • Stout Grove
  • Grove of Titans
  • Simpson Reed Trail
  • Fern Canyon
  • Big Tree Wayside Trail
  • Lady Birdy Johnson Grove
  • Prairie Creek and Cathedral loop
  • Tall Tree Grove
  • Karl Knapp Foothill Loop Trail
  • Trillium Falls

These hikes are listed from Northern to Southern.  They are the best hikes in Redwood National Park.  If you have two full days you can probably do most of them. 

Don't worry if you are short on time. Just pick a few and enjoy the time you do have. 

5. Visit a Beach in Redwood National Park

Things to do in Redwood - Beach

Did you know that Redwood np includes beaches, lighthouses, and tide pools? Redwood np is amazing! There are a few beaches you will want to check out! 

Redwood National Park Northern Beaches

  • Enderts 

Redwood National Park Southern Beaches

  • Gold's Bluff 
  • Orick Fishing Access Beach
  • Redwood Creek Picnic Beach

If you want to enjoy the ocean while visiting Redwood National Park these are great options. If you are looking for the best beaches at Redwood National Park go with Enderts and Golds Bluff. 

6. Visit Battery Point Lighthouse

Things to do in Redwood National Park - visit lighthouse

Battle Point Lighthouse is a great stop while visiting Redwood National Park.  It is located near Crescent City, CA. 

Take a Tour of Battery Point Lighthouse in Redwood National Park

At some times of the day, it is not accessible because the tide comes in.  We wanted to take a tour but couldn't access it. 

Tours are available when the tide is low.  You will be able to see some nautical items and pictures of ship wrecks.  Apparently, there is a ghost in the light house as well! 

7. Explore Tidepools at Redwood National and State Parks

Redwoods national forest tide pools

Have you ever seen a tidepool? A tide pool is a shallow area of seawater that exists along rocky shorelines. During low tide, you can see pockets of sea life.

This is a Redwood activity that you will want to do while you visit one of the beaches.  

Some of the things you will look for are rock crab, barnacle, limpet, green anemone, kelp, sea slug, sea star, hermit crab, and mussels. 

The Best Places to Visit at Redwood National Park to See Tide Pools

  • Enderts Beach (Near Crescent City)
  • Damnation Creek (Near Crescent City)
  • False Klamath Cove (Near Klamath) 

  

8. Stop in Crescent City California

Redwood forest national Park stops - Crescent City

Crescent City is probably the best place to stop for lunch or dinner.  There are lots of fast food options.

You will also want to stop by the Crescent City Visitor Center.  You can ask any questions you have about the area. There is a park ranger stationed there.  

Things to Do at Crescent City

  • Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Battery Point Lighthouse
  • Ocean World
  • Crescent City Harbor (Sea Lions)
  • Eat

9. Visit Trees of Mystery

What can you do in Redwood National Park - trees of mystery

If you are up for a good Redwood attraction the Trees of Mystery is a fun stop. This tourist stop is a privately owned facility that has access to the giant redwood forest. 

Redwood Attractions

It is pretty goofy with tall structures of Paul Bunyan and Babe out front. You can visit the museum and gift shop for free. 

If you want to ride in a gondola (sky trail) through the trees this is the perfect thing to do in the Redwoods! You can also go on a canopy trial which includes bridges from tree to tree.  These Redwood attractions are about $25 per adult. 

10. Drive Through a Redwood Tree

Redwood Forest attractions - Drive through a tree

One of the Best things to do in the Redwoods is drive through a Redwood tree! We headed down to Klamath.  

It does have an entrance fee which depends on the number of people in your car.  It will probably be under $10. 

Redwoods Attraction

Driving through a tree is such a fun experience! Honestly, a minivan is slightly too big to drive all the way through. 

We drove in and took a picture but had to back out otherwise the mirror would hit.  We did not want to damage the rental car! 

We were also able to jump out of our car and grab a family pic! 

Visiting Redwood National Park would not be complete until I had driven through a tree! 

11. Klamath Whale Migration

Redwood National Park in California - Overlook

Another awesome thing to do in Klamath is to drive to the Klamath Overlook.  At certain times of the year, you can see the whale migration.  

You can also hike around this beautiful coastal area.  Unfortunately, we did not see any whales.  We did love just looking out over the ocean.

11. Fern Canyon

Redwood Tree National Park - fern canyon

If you keep heading south you will get to another one of the most famous things to do in the Redwoods.  Fern Canyon is one area where Jurassic Park was filmed.  

Fern Canyon is a long hike! It could take you 4-8 hours if you complete the entire 12 miles.  I suggest the first 4.5 miles because this is where you will find the old-growth trees. 

Redwood Attractions

I am such a nerd and totally wanted to see this area, but it was too far for us to do in one day.  If you have two days you will have time to do so much more! 

Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park is actually 2 hours south and that is where Star Wars was filmed. 

Both movies had various filming locations throughout the Redwood National and State Parks. 

Redwood National Park Itinerary

Visiting Redwood National Park

I have listed everything we were able to do with only one day at the Redwoods.  We explored the northern section down to Klamath.  We did not get to explore Prairie Creek Redwood, State Park. 

Day 1

  • Visit Houchi Visitor Center
  • Howland Hill Road
  • Visit Stout Grove
  • Hike Grove of the Titans
  • Visit Battle Point Lighthouse
  • Tide pool
  • Eat in Crescent City
  • Head to Klamath – Drive through a tree
  • Mystery of Trees
  • Klamath Overlook
  • Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway
  • Big Tree Wayside Trail

Day 2

  • Visit Prairie Creek Redwood Visitor Center
  • Visit Gold's Bluff
  • Fern Canyon
  • Lady Bird Johnson Grove
  • Tall Tree Grove
  • Trillium Falls 

If you keep going south towards San Francisco you can stop at Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park and even Muir Woods.  If you follow this Redwood National Park itinerary backward you will be traveling north to Oregon. 

Camp at the Redwoods

National Redwood forest camping

There are a few campgrounds in Redwoods National Park.  If you do plan on camping you will need to book months in advance.  These sites fill up fast! 

Campsites are $35 a night.  There are also cabins in Jedediah Smith and Elk campgrounds for $100 a night.

Jedediah Campground has 86 sites for both tents and RVs (no hook-up)

Mill Creek Campground has 145 sites for tents or RVs (no hook-up)

Elk Prairie has 75 sites for tents and RVs (no hook-up)

Golds Bluff Beach has 26 sites for tents and RVs (no hook-up)

To reserve your spot go to the California State Site.

 

Check out the Wildlife

Redwood National Park in CA - elk

Another one of the things to do at the Redwoods is look out for the wildlife. Elk, Whales, and seabirds are the most common wildlife in the Redwood forest. 

Elk are bigger cousins of the deer. They will be found in Elk Valley near Prairie Creek.  You will find lots of elk in these areas.

The best places to look for whales and seabirds are at the Klamath Overlook and the Crescent Overlook.

When we visited we really didn't see any wildlife! 

Questions About Visiting Redwood National Park

Redwood National state park

Before you head off and start creating your Redwood National Park itinerary. I thought of a few more questions you might have. 

Is the Redwood National Park Worth Visiting?

YES!  Seriously 2000-year-old trees that are over 300 feet in the air.  It is super cool! 

Is the Redwood National Park Good for Kids?

Yes,  I have 4 kids and they loved it.  My kids do not love hiking but it didn't feel like hiking when you are walking next to these incredible giant trees! 

Kids do reach a limit.  We started at about 9:00 am and finished at 5:00 pm.  This was all that they could handle in a day! They enjoyed it but if I would have pushed them to see more they would have protested! 

If you have any more questions be sure to ask me in the comment section! 

Things to Do in Redwood National Park in California

California Redwoods National Park- trees

Hopefully, this has given you a few ideas of things to do in Redwoods National Park.  I hope you can take this Redwood National Park itinerary and plan the perfect Redwood National Park adventure. 

I loved visiting Redwood National Park.  It was truly amazing! I know you will love it too! Have so much fun! 

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20 Comments

  1. I’m definitely going to refer back to this post, because even though I was born and raised in California, I’ve never been to the Redwood forest! It’s definitely at the top of my list of things to do, and your post has inspired me to get on it sooner rather than later!

  2. I’ve always wanted to go to the Redwood Forest since I was little! Thanks for such an informative post! You answered a lot of the questions I had. We hope to get out that way next year. *Fingers crossed!

  3. Those trees are massive! I can’t think of anywhere here in Ireland where we would ever find trees even close to their size! What an amazing experience!

  4. I had never heard of Fern Canyon, so gorgeous. Great itinerary for Redwood National Park – maybe I can get there one day – fingers crossed.

  5. We will be visiting Redwood National Park this year and was searching for things to do. This itinerary has provided us with so many options!

  6. Great tips! We loved our trip to the Redwoods a couple of years ago. The trees are so majestic. I hope we can return one day. As you said, there is just so much to see. It’s hard to see it all when you have limited time on your trip!

  7. Redwood National Park is high on my husband’s list of places to travel! It looks wonderful and full of adventures!

  8. Redwood National Park is at the top of my bucket list. I absolutely love trees and to see trees like this would be a dream! I too would love to stay in a treehouse – that sounds like so much fun. And your pictures of Redwood National Park are stunning!

  9. I’d love to visit Redwood National Park! I’ve always wanted to see the trees. And there’s so much to explore in the area.

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