Redwood National & State Parks

Location: California

Park Tally: 46/59

Orientation: Three Redwood State Parks – Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast, and Prairie Creek – plus Redwood National Park make up a unique visitor attraction along the California coast: Redwood National and State Parks. These parks are home to the tallest trees in the world (and the tallest living thing on the planet!) Visitors to the parks are treated to a wide range of activities, including forest trekking, coasting walking, photography, backpacking, wildlife viewing, biking, tide-pooling, kayaking and scenic driving. Redwood National and State Parks are open year-round, though the summer months are when most tourists visit.

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Most iconic view:  The most well-known view in the park is not surprisingly – the redwood trees! These magnificent trees can be seen all over the park, with our favorite spot being the Boy Scout Tree Trail. This 2.8-mile trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park leads visitors deep into old-growth forest, via Fern Falls and to the famous Boy Scout Tree. We could have spent all day walking beneath the giant trees and fern canopies!

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Accessible activity:  Redwood National and State Parks has a variety of shorter and more accessible trails. The Fern Canyon Loop Trail is a wonderful 0.7-mile walk through exquisite ferns and towering canyon walls. The vibrant greens of the ferns and trickling waterfalls make you feel as if you stepped into a nature documentary – definitely a must-see!

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Another easy trail, though slightly longer, is the Prairie Creek Trail. This 4-mile hike meanders along crystal-clear Prairie Creek and through lush redwood forest. Visitors can opt to take a short spur trail which leads past the Corkscrew Tree, a single tree with numerous trunk reiterations.

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For the adventurous:  Located in Redwood National Park proper, the Tall Trees Grove Trail is a popular day-hike for those looking to get in a workout plus experience a magical redwood forest. This 4-mile roundtrip trail is rated moderate-strenuous due to an elevation gain of 800-feet. A permit is required to hike the trail and can be acquired from any of the park visitor centers. The Tall Trees Grove hosts a former title-holder of the world’s tallest tree, which helped spur the creation of the National Park in 1968. Libby Tree held the title until 1994 when the top died back and resulted in it dropping down to the 34th tallest tree in the world.

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Best photo opportunities: There are an abundance of photography opportunities within Redwood National and State Parks. We captured some of our favorite images along Howland Hill Road and along the Boy Scout Tree Trail. We also enjoyed capturing sunset images along the southeast end of Bald Hills Road – perfect for those road trip style photos!

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Quick facts

  • Redwood National Park was established on October 2, 1968. Three redwood state parks – Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast, and Prairie Creek – were incorporated by the national park, making up Redwood National and State Parks as it’s known today.
  • The Yurok Indians once inhabited the area that now makes up Redwood National and State Parks. Culturally, the Yurok people are known as great fisherman, basket weavers, canoe makers, storytellers, singers and healers.
  • Numerous movies have filmed scenes within Redwood National and State Parks, including Return of the Jedi, Jurassic Park 2, and BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs.
  • The average age of a redwood tree is 500-800 years old, though the oldest can live up to 2,000 years old.
  • Wildlife found within Redwood National and State Parks includes elk, mountain lions, bobcats, deer, black bears, beavers, coyotes, sea lions, harbor seals, dolphins, whales and more.
  • Logging has depleted California and Oregon’s old-growth forests to 4% of what they were prior to the mid-17th Protection was a large reason as to why the area was made a National Park in 1968.
  • America is home to the largest trees (Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks), the oldest trees (Great Basin National Park), and the tallest trees (Redwood National and State Parks). Tree huggers – start planning your road trip through California and Nevada now!
  • In 2016, over 500,000 people visited Redwood National Park according to the National Park Service, with around 1,00,000 more people visiting the associated state parks each year.

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