Redwood National Park
Huge redwood trees framing a deeper view into the forest


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Have you ever driven a long way to a park or forest, and upon arriving thought to yourself, this is nice, but what's the big deal? Well, Redwood National Park is not one of those. Redwood simply screams grandeur, from thirty seven miles of wild Pacific beach to the largest and one of the oldest forests in the world.


The variety of the landscape at Redwood is stunning. Those seeking wild, rushing rivers, tranquil creeks, fantastical vegetation, remarkable ocean life, remote beaches, rugged hikes will likely find this park to be paradise. Throw in the moderate weather, and you have a very comfortable and scenic national park visit. We at Parkcamper consider Redwood to be a top five national park due to its splendor and unique ambiance.

Redwood National Park is comprised of four distinct areas. They are: Del Norte Coast State Park, Jedediah Smith State Park, Prairie Creek State Park and the main Redwood National Park section. For the sake of clarity, this site will be labeling them all as "Redwood National Park", with a specific reference to each area. The campgrounds are managed by state parks, but accept the usual array of federal passes. Confused yet?

Redwoods as we know them have existed along the California coast for 20 million years. They are closely related to the Giant Sequoias of central California. Redwoods are the tallest trees on earth, with an average life span of 500-700 years, with some trees living to 2,000 years. Most Redwoods grow within two miles of the California coast, and some as far as fifty miles out, but not past this point. It is the cool, moist air of the Pacific ocean that brings the rights ingredient for the massive trees. The tallest tree in the world grows in Redwood, at 379.3 feet. It is know as "Hyperion", and was recently discovered in 2006 by tree hunters. Hyperion was found in the logged portion of the 1978 addition. It's amazing that this giant was never cut. The largest tree in pure mass in Redwood is the Lost Monarch tree, 26 feet in diameter and 320 feet tall with 42,500 cubic feet of wood. Still not impressed? Then go to the nearest city and stand below a 35 story building, imagining it to be a tree.

Sadly, there used to be 2 million acres of the majestic coastal Redwoods in northern California. Now only 86,000 acres remain, most of this on protected land. These ancient life forms are a reminder of how wondrous our planet can be, and simply gazing into one of the enormous stands brings humility and a sheer sense of awe to those lucky enough to witness it.
Redwood National Park has also been designated a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.

We can view these splendid trees today thanks to the hard work of The Save The Redwood League's formation in 1918. This group, led by John C. Merriam, Madison Grant and Fairfield Osborn managed to succeed in protecting numerous groves of the trees as highway 101 was being constructed. Without their work, there is no Redwood National Park.

Redwood National Park Facts:

Total acreage: 133,000 acres
Square Miles: 207
Pristine coast line: 37 miles
38,000 acres of old growth forest
Tallest trees on earth, "Hyperion" tree at 379.1 feet
500-700 year life span, some reach 2,000 years
Only the giant Sequoia has more mass
Can weigh up to 1.6 million pounds
12 inch bark thickness
Seed/sprout reproduction
25 species of conifers
Highest point: 3,262 feet
Lowest point: 0 feet Pacific Ocean
Most seismically active region in the U.S.
Tsunami warning system
Established: May 22, 1968, expanded 27th of March, 1978 and
Trails: 170 miles
Horse Trails: 44 miles
Bicycle Trails: 54 miles
5 species of fish in the park including rainbow trout and kokanee
Huckleberry, blackberry, salmonberry common in understory.
Coastal Douglas-fir can grow to 300 feet
400 species of birds
40 species of mammals including whales, dolphins, elk, bear, sea lions, mountain lion and fisher
202 native resident animals
Flora: 816 plant species (621 native)
Drive-in campgrounds: 4
World Heritage Site - September 5, 1980
International Biosphere Reserve - June 30, 1983
Visitation in 2007: 385,171
Redwood National & State Parks
1111 Second Street
Crescent City, California 95531

(707) 464-6101
fax (707) 464-1812

Bull rooseelt elk feeding in meadow
An elk feeding in Redwood National Park.

Tallest trees in Redwood by feet:

Hyperion 379.3 RNSP
Helios 375.9 RNSP
Icarus 371.2 RNSP
Stratosphere Giant 371.1 HRSP
National Geographic 369.9 RNSP
Orion 369.5 RNSP
Lauralyn 369.5 HRSP
Paradox 369.3 HRSP
Mendocino 368.1 MWSR
Apex 367.4 HRSP

Biggest trees in Redwood by volume (cubic feet, diameter):

Lost Monarch JSRSP 42,500, 26.0
Melkor RNP 39,100 22.4
Iluvatar PCRSP 37,500 20.5
Del Norte Titan JSRSP 37,200 23.7
El Viejo Del Norte JSRSP 35,400 23.0
Howland Hill Giant JSRSP 33,580 19.8
Sir Isaac Newton PCRSP 33,192 22.5
Terex Titan PCRSP 32,384 21.3
Adventure Tree PCRSP 32,140 16.5

Big Groves

Jedediah Smith area: This is as far north as you can go in Redwood. You will want to focus on the Mill Creek trail, Boy Scout Tree Trail, Simpson Reed Discovery Trail and Stout Grove. This area is immediately east of Crescent City.

Main Redwood National Park: This is the southern portion of the park, near Orick. You will want to see Tall Trees Grove and Lady Bird Johnson Grove.

Del Norte Coast: Immediately south of Crescent City. Yo will notice the huge trees right along the highway. You will notice places to pull over, views of the ocean and the massive forest. Damnation Creek trail is excellent.

Prairie Creek Area: Just north of Orick. Focus on Fern Canyon, Gold Bluffs Beach, Prairie Creek Trail, Arco Redwood, Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, Davison Road, Elk Prairie campground.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park: This is a highly regarded Redwood area that is on highway 101 80 miles south of Orick. If heading this direction, this is a must do.

As for beaches Gold Bluffs beach is my favorite, but Enderts Beach, Split Rock and Klamath Cove are all beautiful.

Fees: There is no entrance fee to Redwood National Park, but there is of course a catch. The campground entrance stations do charge day use fees: Del Norte Coast - $8, Prairie Creek - $8, Gold Bluffs Beach - $8.

Crescent City Information Center
Information, exhibits, park film, passport stamps, restrooms, picnic area,
Junior Ranger workbook.

Location: 1111 Second Street, Crescent City, Calif.
Operating Hours: Summer: Open daily, 9 6 p.m.; Winter: Open
daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Spring and fall: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: 707-465-7335

Hiouchi Information Center
Information, exhibits, park film, passport stamps, restrooms, picnic area,
ranger-led activities and programs (summer only), Junior Ranger programs
(summer only) and workbook.
Location: 9 miles northeast of Crescent City, Calif. on U.S. 199.
Operating Hours: Summer: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Off-season: As
staffing permits—please call ahead.
Phone: 707-458-3294

Jedediah Smith Visitor Center
Information, exhibits, passport stamps, restrooms, picnic area, ranger-led
activities and programs (summer only), Junior Ranger programs (summer
only) and workbook.
Location: Jedediah Smith Campground (see page 10), 9 miles northeast of
Crescent City, Calif. on U.S. 199.
Operating Hours: Summer: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Off-season:
Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., as staffing permits.
Phone: 707-458-3496

Prairie Creek Visitor Center
Information, exhibits, park film, passport stamps, restrooms, picnic area,
ranger-led activities and programs (summer only), Junior Ranger programs
(summer only) and workbook.
Location: 6 miles north of Orick, Calif. on the Newton B. Drury Scenic
Parkway (exit off U.S. 101).
Operating Hours: Open daily (year-round), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: 707-465-7354

Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center
Information, exhibits, park film, passport stamps, restrooms, picnic area,
ranger-led activities and programs (summer only), Junior Ranger programs
(summer only) and workbook.
Location: 2 miles south of Orick, Calif. on U.S. 101.
Operating Hours: Summer: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Winter: Open
daily, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Spring and fall: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: 707-465-7765

Fantastic redwood forest highway drive with lush, tall trees
A stunning drive in Redwood National Park.

So I hear Redwood has big trees. Is it really worth visiting? I've seen big trees before. If you haven't been to Redwood, you haven't seen trees like these before. They are the tallest and oldest living things on the planet. Add to this the lush, verdant understory which creates a completely unique park experience. And Redwood is not just about the forest. There are 40 miles of wild beaches, tumbling creeks, whales, seals, salmon, steelhead, bears and other interesting wildlife. Redwood is one of the most diverse parks in the system. If you like water and humongous trees, this is your place.

How far is Redwood from San Francisco? Redwood National Park is 314 miles from San Francisco via highway 101. Plan on six hours for the drive. California is a huge state, and a simple glance at the map can be deceiving.

How far is Redwood from Crater Lake? This is question I see often from people who want to do "the triangle" from Crater Lake to Redwood to Lassen. Redwood is 138 miles from Crater Lake. Redwood is 180 miles from Lassen.

Are there bears in Redwood National Park? Yes. All standard bear precautions apply. The park even has bear lockers at the campgrounds. Bears even come onto the beach at Redwood - a rare thing in the lower 48.

How is the weather? I hear it rains a lot. Redwood has moderate weather, from the 40's to the 60's all year. Some of us from places where the temps can reach -20 would do anything to live in the kind of climate Redwood offers. I'll take the rain and mist over the extreme humidity and cold of the midwest any day. Preparing for Redwood weather is much easier than many national parks.

Are there sharks? Yes. Redwood has 37 miles of wild beaches.

Is it true you can see whales at Redwood? Yes. The Klamath Overlook wildlife viewing area is a good spot.

Is Redwood a state or national park? Both. In my opinion, They should just call the entire thing Redwood National Park. There's no real reason to have both names. It confuses visitors and creates a tangled management system. This site refers to everything between Crescent City and Orick as Redwood National Park, while using the state park names to label certain areas. For example, "The Del Norte section of Redwood National Park".

Is Redwood a good place for kids? Yes, it's excellent. Always keep an eye on young children though, and do not let them out of sight on the trails.

Can I fish at Redwood? Yes. The fishing is outstanding for ocean species. Numerous creeks and large rivers such as the Klamath offer freshwater fishing.

How are the campgrounds? They might be the best in the national park system, but they are also way overpriced at $35 a night. Reservations are highly suggested for Mill Creek and Elk Prairie. Gold Bluffs is first come, first serve.

Are the Redwoods really the tallest trees in the world?
Yes. Redwoods are the tallest known plant species in the world.

Are the Redwoods really the oldest living thing in the world? They are among the oldest living things on earth, averaging six hundred years and sometimes reaching 2,200 years. Redwood is home to the tallest tree in the world, known as "Hyperion".

Which is bigger - a redwood or a sequoia? The two trees are closely related. Redwoods grow taller, while sequoias have more mass.

Getting There: Redwood National Park is located in far northwestern California just south of the Oregon border. Both Crescent city and McKinleyville offer airports. Both towns provide vehicle rentals as well as sporting good stores. Greyhound serves the Redwood area two times a day.

Most people visiting Redwood will be coming from San Francisco. Leave San Francisco via highway 101 north, and take this for 314 miles to Redwood National Park. Some of you may be doing the northern California park tour, and coming from Lassen Volcanic. Exit Lassen via the northwestern entrance on highway 44 and take this west to Redding. In Redding, take highway 299 west through the Trinity National Forest to highway 101, then head noth. This is a 180 mile drive. From Crater Lake, take highway 62 south to 234 south, then take interstate 5 south to 199 south in Grants Pass, which takes you to the northern section of Redwood. Northern California is a truly wild and remote landscape, and those visiting for the first time come away surprised by the lack of development and endless tall forests.

Empty sand beach with pine covered hills and cloudy sky
Redwood beach country.


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