The 10 Best Hikes in Redwood National Park
Share with your friends:
If you find yourself near Northern California, a must-see is the Redwood National Park. There are plenty of things to do in Redwood National Park such as relax by a waterfall, see beautiful rhododendrons, and of course, hike to giant 300 foot, old-growth redwoods. Grab your hiking boots, backpack and keep reading to discover the ten best hikes in Redwood National Park!
Where is Redwood National Park?
Redwood National Park and Redwood State Parks are in the northernmost area of California’s coast, near the Oregon border. The parks are about 60 miles long and located:
325 miles (six - seven hours) north of San Francisco, CA
330 miles (six hours) south of Portland, OR
170 miles (four hours) west of Redding, CA
Redwood National Park Hiking Tips
Besides getting ready to see incredible nature and majestic wildlife, there are some things you should prepare before your hike in Redwood National Park.
Always check the trail conditions before you start your hike.
Redwood National Park weather is always changing, so make sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear .
Signals can be limited on the trails, so keep a map of Redwood National Park handy on your visit.
Know where the pet-friendly trails are.
The Best Redwood National Park Trails to Hike
Find sea glass on the Coastal Trail or hike among the giant trees in Redwoods Creek Trail. As you adventure around this Northern California gem, you’ll see all the hikes Redwood National Park has to offer!
Fern Canyon Trail
Distance: 0.7 miles
Duration: 30min - 1 hour
Although Fern Canyon Trail is not known for having massive redwoods, it is known for showing off a more unique view. This 50 foot tall mini canyon is covered from head-to-toe in amazing ferns. A short, enjoyable hike where you can see velvety five-fingered ferns, dark green sword ferns, and delicate lady ferns.
Fun Fact: The ferns' ancestry can be traced back to nearly 325 million years ago, probably why it was such a great spot to film parts of The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail
Distance: 1.3 miles
Duration: 30min - 1 hour
The Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail is the perfect option if you’re looking for a pleasantly short hike through the famous redwoods. The trail lies within a protected part of Redwood National Park, thanks to First Lady Bird Johnson, and is home to old-growth redwood, Douglas-fir and tanoak. During the spring you’ll be sure to find beautiful rhododendrons and azaleas, while vines and big maples take over the fall.
Damnation Creek Trail
Distance: 2 miles
Duration: 2 hours
What makes the Damnation Creek Trail so loved is the fact that you can experience two of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park's best features: towering redwoods and rocky coasts. The first 1.5 miles start off displaying the amazing redwoods. Then the trail runs 1,100 feet down a westward-facing slope. Keep in mind that the ascent back up from the coast is why this trail is considered strenuous.
Note: As of July 14,2021, the Damnation Creek Trail remains open to the bridge, but access to the beach from the trail is closed until further notice.
Boy Scout Tree Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles
Duration: 1-2 hours
Located in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, the Boy Scout Tree Trail runs deep into the woods which prevents outside noise from being heard. It is easily recognizable from the partially suspended fallen tree in the beginning of the hike that has become a popular photo spot. The start of the trail contains a dense collection of old-growth redwoods, but the real attraction is near the end where the actual Boy Scout Tree resides, a huge doubletree, given its name by a local troop leader, who first discovered it.
Trillium Falls Trail
Distance: 2.6 miles
Duration: 1- 2 hours
If you’re looking to chase a waterfall on your visit to Redwood National Park, then Trillium Falls Trail is for you! This lightly-trafficked trail will guide you through old-growth forests and ends at Trillium Falls, which is best viewed during April to October.
Elk Prairie Trail
Distance: 2.8 miles
Duration: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Just like the name suggests, Elk Prairie Trail is the go-to hike for spotting majestic elk in their natural habitat. The trail loops around Elk Prairie at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center, offering you the chance to see enormous redwoods and unique wildlife. Visiting during the late-afternoon is the best time to view one of the parks’ most heavily populated Roosevelt elk areas.
Tall Trees Grove Trail
Distance: 3.3 miles
Duration: 2 hours
The Tall Trees Grove Trail is one of the more remote and less traveled trails in Redwood National Park. The hike starts high in elevation and descends 800 feet as you walk. Keep an eye out for more than just the 350 foot old-growth redwoods as you’ll be sure to see moss-covered maples, mixed forests, and rhododendrons.
Note: You will need to obtain a free permit (first-come first-served) from the visitor center, which will contain a code to unlock the locked gate on the access road.
James Irvine Trail
Distance: 10.4 miles
Duration: 3-5 hours
Considered the most popular trail in all of Prairie Creek Redwood State Park, the James Irvine Trail contains hillsides covered in giant redwoods. The hike offers the opportunity to view the old-growth redwoods from many perspectives: looking up from below or elevated viewing across the valleys. Near the end of the trail, you can decide to continue towards Fern Canyon Trail or Gold Bluffs Beach.
Redwood Creek Trail
Distance: 15.7 miles
Duration: 6 hours
The Redwood Creek Trail is without a doubt one of the best hikes in Redwood National Park. Although this trip could be completed in a long day, most hikers choose to backpack and camp along the trail, as it is the only area in the park that allows dispersed camping. To help you prepare for your overnight adventure, read our blog The Ultimate Guide for Beginner Backpackers.
Fun Fact: Here you can view the tallest tree in the world, Hyperion, but you won’t know exactly which one. The exact location of the tree has been kept a secret from the public in order to keep it protected.
Distance: 70 miles
Duration: 3+ days
While there may not be any redwoods, the Coastal Trail is perfect for viewing the ocean and coastal bluffs. Reaching from Crescent Beach to Elk Meadow, hikers can explore sandy shorelines, tide pools, and incredible wildlife from starfish to sea lions and maybe even a black bear! If you’re interested in camping along the beach, there are five backcountry campsites that are about a day’s hike from each other. Some sections are considered difficult due to the steep sections that descend onto the beach, but Crescent Beach is an exception that has flat, easy sections.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to do in Redwood National Park. If deciding where to go or what to do is overwhelming, then let us plan your visit with our North Coast and Redwoods of California adventure getaway! You'll get to visit old forts, drive through trees wider than your car, hike among the woods, and see gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean from the cliffs. The memories you'll make on this trip will last a lifetime!