Where is Redwood National Park
1111 Second Street, Crescent City, CA 95531
Located in California, just south of the Oregon border and 2 miles inland from the coast are the massive trees of Redwood US National and US State Parks. The park is located a 7-hour drive north of San Francisco, California, 6 hours south of Portland, Oregon, and 4 hours west of Redding, California. The closest town to the park is Crescent City, California, located just an 8-minute drive north of Del Norte Redwoods State Park.
The infamous California State Route 1 runs straight through the redwoods park and is a popular scenic coastal drive from San Francisco, north to Washington. The highway is popular for summer scenic road trips.
The national and state parks land is a federal and state partnership which includes land of Redwood National Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks.
How Big is Redwood National Park
The combined state and national park land include 139,000 acres of land and is about 60-miles long. The park includes 37 miles of coastline on the Pacific Ocean, four visitor centers, 200 miles of trails, several campgrounds, and the Klamath and Smith River to recreate in and enjoy the beautiful landscape.
The park contains 45% of the worlds remaining coastal redwoods covering 38,982 acres. The tallest tree in the park and tallest living tree known in the world is named Hyperion and measures 379.1 feet. Most of the large redwood trees are more than 300 feet tall.
The lowest elevation in the park is at the coastline located in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. The highest point in the park is Coyote Peak at 1,170 feet.
Redwood National Park Weather
The redwoods are located near the Pacific Ocean coastline in northern California’s temperate rainforest climate. The summers are warm, humid, and drier than winters, while the winters are rainy, humid, and have cooler temperatures.
Fog during the summer is common and healthy for the redwood forests, providing the trees with moisture that they need year-round.
Snow is rare as the elevation is below 1,500 feet, but rainfall and cooler temperatures are present from October through April. During winter average precipitation is over 10 inches of rain each month. The wettest month is December with almost 12 inches of rain. Temperatures average a high in the 50’s and a low in the 40’s during winter.
The summer from May through September is drier and warmer with temperatures averaging a high of 65 degrees and a low in the high 40’s. Summer is much drier with average rainfall per month around 2”. The driest and warmest month is August. Summer is the most popular time to visit the national and state parks because of the drier weather.
There are many animals that inhabit the national and state park land and coastline: bald eagles, spotted owl, black bears, coyotes, cougars, deer, elk, squirrels, sea lions, gray whales, beavers, otters, chinook salmon, and over 400 bird species.
When did Redwoods Become a National Park
The land of Redwoods state and national parks historically provided a home for several Native American groups who still live in the area today. The redwood forest provided indigenous groups with a physical and spiritual livelihood. Jedediah Smith was a European explorer who explored the Redwood region in 1828.
In 1850, gold was discovered in the area leading to the second gold rush in California. Miners and loggers flooded the area creating conflict with indigenous groups. By 1910, logging of the areas old-growth redwoods led to concerns for conservation by conservationists and citizens of the area. From 1911 to 1920’s, conservation of the redwood forests was funded by private clubs.
In 1927, Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods, and Humboldt Redwoods became state parks. In 1968, Redwood National Park was established. In the next 10 years, over 100,000 acres were purchased to state park land.
In 1980, Redwood National and State Parks was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.
Things to do in Redwood National Park
The park offers 200 miles of hiking trails, mountain biking, camping, beaches to explore, four visitors’ centers, wildlife viewing opportunities on land and in the ocean, Smith and Klamath river kayaking and fishing, scenic drives, and picnic areas. Our National Park Visitors Guide created a list below which outlines the exciting activities this park has to offer.
Visit Kuchel Visitor Center
The southernmost visitors center has exhibits, films, and information about the park’s history and geology.
Take a Guided Kayak Tour on Stone Lagoon
Kayak Trinidad offers guided 3-to-4-hour tours on the scenic Stone Lagoon, plentiful with wildlife as it is protected from the ocean by a sandy beach.
Mountain Bike Along Redwood Creek
Redwood Rides located in Crescent City rents out mountain bikes and offers bike tours. Mountain biking is only permitted on certain trails. Check before you set off.
Hike the Redwood Creek Trail to Tall Trees Grove
Hike 1.5 miles on the scenic Redwood Creek Trail or 8 miles one way into the Tall Trees Grove, hosting some of the tallest trees growing on the flats of Redwood Creek.
Stroll Around the Lady Bird Johnson Trail
Hike the 1-mile loop through Redwoods and Douglas fir trees.
Drive the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway
This is a 10-mile drive taking you through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, lined with massive redwoods and a tunnel.
Visit Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek
Fern Canyon is the filming site of Jurassic Park 2 with lush ferns and diverse trees.
Visit the Prairie Creek Visitors Center
Offering exhibits, maps, ranger program, and a souvenir shop. Trails lead from the visitor center down to Gold Bluffs Beach through Fern Canyon.
Fish on the Klamath River
The Klamath River has great fishing opportunities depending on the time of year.
When to go to Redwood National Park
The park is open year-round; however, summer draws the largest crowds due to less rainfall and warmer temperatures allowing for more comfortable hiking and camping conditions. Reservations for a campsite are highly recommended during summer months as the campgrounds book up.
The fall and spring are the most desirable time to visit the park as crowds are much smaller, there is minimal traffic, the weather is fair, and finding a camp site is easier.
Must-Have Things to Bring to Redwood National Park
With limited cell phone service and amenities in the park, stop at the nearby town of Crescent City just north of the park, or Arcata just south of the park to stock up on necessities.
List of Parks highly suggest that you bring plenty of water to stay hydrated on hiking trails, even in the humid wet environment.
Food and Snacks
There are limited food concessionaires in the park itself with minimal hours. Stop of a grocery store in
Download park maps or print some at home before visiting the park. Cell phone service is limited to none because of the sheer height of the redwood forest blocking cell service.
Proper Hiking Boots
Because of the high humidity, rainfall, and fog, the trails are frequently slick with mossy and muddy conditions. Bring waterproof hiking boots with solid traction.
Rain jacket and Warm Layers
The wet and humid environment with unpredictable weather off of the Pacific Ocean makes it necessary to have a rain jacket and warm layers during anytime of the year.
Bear Spray and Bug Spray
There are black bears in the area and the humid environment breeds bugs and mosquitos. Bring bear spray and bug spray and keep your food and water enclosed and on you at all times.
With plenty of wildlife opportunities and the amazing redwoods to photograph, you will want a camera handy!
The Klamath river and Smith river both offer fishing opportunities year-round. Check water conditions and fishing conditions before visiting to bring the proper fishing gear!
Where to Stay in Redwood National Park
There are 4 campgrounds in the park, Jedediah Smith Campground, Elk Prairie, Gold Bluffs Beach, and Freshwater Lagoon Spit. It is highly recommended to make a reservation ahead of time for a spot from May through September.
Jedediah Smith Campground is located along the Smith River 10 miles east of Crescent City. There are 86 tent or RV sites, and it is open year round.
Mill Creek Campground is located in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, 7 miles south of Crescent City and is open from May 18 to September 30th. There are 145 tent or RV sites.
Elk Prairie and Gold Bluffs Beach campgrounds are located in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Elk Prairie Campground is located 6 miles north of Orick in the southern end of the parks. Elk Prairie is open year-round and has 75 tent or RV sites. Gold Bluffs Beach campground is located 10 miles north of Orick with easy access to the beach and Fern Canyon. Gold Bluffs campground is open year-round with 26 tent or RV sites.
Arcata and Eureka are towns located just south of the park along Highway 101 that offer many hotel options. A short drive north of the park is the town of Crescent City offering many services, hotels, and B&B’s.
Food Nearby Redwood National Park
There are no food options or venders in the park. The nearest town to the south offering food and grocery is Eureka, just a short 10-minute drive from the south park entrance. To the north just 10 minutes is Crescent City, also offering many food and grocery options. Try some local seafood at Café Marina & bar, Café Waterfront, or Oberon Grill in Eureka.
Airports near Redwood National Park
The closest regional airport to Redwood National and State Parks is the Eureka Arcata Airport about 20-minutes north of Eureka. San Francisco International Airport is the closest major airport located about a 6 hours’ drive south of Redwoods. The most popular way to travel to the Redwoods is by flying into San Francisco, renting a vehicle, and driving the scenic California State Route 1 north on the coastline to the Redwoods.