Redwood National Park

Home of the world’s tallest tree
California > Redwood National and State Parks

The Redwood Creek Valley, seen from the Redwood Creek Overlook

Redwood National Park occupies a huge swath of the Redwood Creek basin, in the middle of which is the iconic Tall Trees Grove. The grove’s 368-foot-tall Libbey Tree used to be the world’s tallest known tree, a fact that was used to generate support for the creation of the park.

Redwood National Park still has the world’s tallest known tree, but it’s now the 379-foot-tall Hyperion, which is not far from the Tall Trees Grove. Hyperion is unfortunately strictly off-limits to visitors; it’s off-trail in a protected area that’s illegal to enter.

In general, Redwood National Park isn’t the best place to go for a hike among the big trees. The nearby Prairie Creek, Del Norte, and Jed Smith parks have most of the really spectacular old growth because they were created in the 1920s, when the area’s forests were mostly pristine and unlogged. By the time Redwood National Park was created in the 1960s, most of the North Coast’s prime old growth had either been logged or added to state-owned parks. Parks had also begun discouraging visitors from entering pristine old growth areas, so the national park trails tend to be in small remnant patches of old growth, in second growth, or in areas without any redwoods.

The national park does, however, have much more of a wilderness feel than the state parks. While a lot of state park trails are near busy roads, most of Redwood National Park’s trails have no traffic noise at all and few other hikers. One of the goals of establishing the park was to provide a wilderness experience, and the park has been very successful in doing that.

The Lost Man Creek Trail

Old-growth redwood trails


Coastal Trail, Flint Ridge Section

Length 9.2 mi · Climbing 1520 ft

A little-used trail in an outlying section of Redwood National Park that climbs into a remnant patch of upland old-growth redwoods.


Berry Glen Trail

Length 7.2 mi · Climbing 1270 ft

Climbs through a scenic and interesting upland grove with some good-sized redwoods.


Emerald Ridge and Tall Trees

Length 5.5 mi · Climbing 70 ft

A loop through the Tall Trees Grove and along the banks of sunny Redwood Creek. Involves wading through water up to waist deep and can only be hiked July–September.


Tall Trees Grove

Length 3.9 mi · Climbing 690 ft

A small grove with what was once the world’s tallest known tree. Requires a free permit and a 45-minute drive, partly on a gravel road.


Trillium Falls Trail

Length 2.8 mi · Climbing 440 ft

A popular loop through a remnant strip of old growth with a small waterfall. Lots of traffic noise from nearby Highway 101.


Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail

Length 1.4 mi · Climbing 100 ft

A short, level loop through an upland grove with relatively small redwoods. One of the most popular trails in Redwood Natonal Park.

Other trails


Dolason Prairie Trail

Length 10.4 mi · Climbing 2490 ft

A long, scenic descent through a prairie with dramatic views of the Redwood Creek basin, then through some old-growth redwoods, ending at Redwood Creek.


Redwood Creek Trail

Length 15.4 mi · Climbing 500 ft

Leads to the Tall Trees Grove. The creekside woodland on the way hasn’t been logged but mostly lacks redwoods. Popular with backpackers.


Coastal Trail, Skunk Cabbage Section

Length 7.6 mi · Climbing 1050 ft

Climbs through a strikingly lush and richly green ravine before descending to a scenic beach. No redwoods.


The High Bluff Overlook

Length 0.4 mi · Climbing 60 ft

A picnic area and viewpoint with some great views of the rocky coastline.

Lost Man Creek Trail

Length 22.0 mi · Climbing 3100 ft

An old mainline logging road that starts in a dark and exceptionally lush grove of big old-growth redwoods, then climbs through heavily-logged redwood forest.

Lyons Ranch Trail

Length 4.5 mi · Climbing 750 ft

Strikingly different from the rest of Redwood National Park, this remote trail features wide-open prairies, dramatic views over the Redwood Creek watershed, and some old ranch buildings.

Coastal Trail, Tey-wo-lew Section

Length 4.5 mi · Climbing 750 ft

Previously known as Coastal Drive, this road along high coastal bluffs is now closed to cars. Most of the ocean views are blocked by trees, making it a pleasant but unexceptional hike.

Drive-in campgrounds


Sue-meg State Park

Open all year · $35/night + $8

Try this park if the campgrounds in Redwood National and State Parks are full. It’s a 15-minute drive away and it has three nice, large campgrounds.

Big Lagoon County Park

Open all year · $25/night · no reservations

A small, densely packed campground about a 15-minute drive south of Redwood National Park.

Backpacking campgrounds


Redwood Creek Dispersed Camping

Open all year · Free

A peaceful and secluded camping experience. There are no defined campsites and no facilities; just pick any spot on the wide, sunny gravel banks with views of redwood-carpeted hills.

Elam Backcountry Camp

Open all year · Free

Set among second-growth redwoods just off the Redwood Creek Trail, this camp was originally intended for equestrians.

44 Camp

Open all year · Free

On a heavily-logged hillside near the end of the Redwood Creek Trail. Huge stumps and dense second growth makes the area dark and gloomy.

The Orick Horse Trails

Overview of the

Orick Horse Trails

A little-used network of old logging roads intended for equestrians.


McArthur Creek Loop

Length 14.1 mi · Climbing 2600 ft

Part of a large network of horse trails, this loop mostly runs through second-growth redwoods, but with a few interesting sections of old growth.

Getting to Redwood National Park

Except for the equestrian trails, all trailheads in the Redwood Creek basin are off Bald Hills Road. From Arcata, drive north on Highway 101 about 40 miles. Just north of the run-down little town of Orick is the well-marked Bald Hills Road / Lady Bird Johnson Grove turnoff.

Kuchel Visitor Center, on the beach just south of Orick, serves as the main visitor center for Redwood National and State Parks. It’s open from 9 am–5 pm except November–February, when it’s open from 9 am–4 pm.

There’s no charge to visit Redwood National Park, but the Tall Trees grove requires a free permit.

Lupine blooms on Bald Hills Road, May 2009

Lupines on Bald Hills Road



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