The best old-growth redwood trails are in Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek. Jedediah Smith is the most scenic, but it’s been getting increasingly busy.
Prairie Creek has a lot more old-growth redwood trails.
|Old-growth redwood trails|
|Overall Rating||Distance, miles||Climbing, feet||Trail name|
|★★★★★||12.1||1350||Miners’ Ridge and James Irvine|
|★★★★★||5.3||750||Boy Scout Tree Trail|
|★★★★★||1.7||200||Grove of Titans|
|★★★★||4.8||300||Mill Creek Trail|
|★★★★||5.8||760||West Ridge and Prairie Creek|
|★★★★||3.5||540||Brown Creek loop|
|★★★★||3.2||190||Big Tree loop|
|★★★||9.5||1520||Coastal Trail, Flint Ridge Section|
|★★★||8.7||1050||Rhododendron and Foothill|
|★★★||8.0||960||Friendship Ridge Trail|
|★★★||7.7||1433||West Ridge and Rhododendron North|
|★★★||7.2||1270||Berry Glen Trail|
|★★★||5.5||700||Emerald Ridge and Tall Trees|
|★★★||4.0||1170||Damnation Creek Trail|
|★★★||3.9||690||Tall Trees Grove|
|★★★||3.6||720||Cal Barrel Road|
|★★★||3.5||710||Ten Taypo Trail|
|★★★||2.8||440||Trillium Falls Trail|
|★★★||2.6||110||Nickerson Ranch Trail|
|★★★||2.1||330||Leiffer and Ellsworth Loops|
|★★★||1.4||100||Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail|
|★★||13.0||2810||Coastal Trail, Last Chance Section|
|★★||12.6||2370||Coastal Trail, DeMartin Section|
|★★||0.6||40||Ah Pah Trail|
|Overall Rating||Distance, miles||Climbing, feet||Trail name|
|★★★||10.4||2490||Dolason Prairie Trail|
|★★||15.4||500||Redwood Creek Trail|
|★★||14.1||2600||McArthur Creek Loop||★★||7.8||1390||Coastal Trail, Klamath Section|
|★★||7.6||1050||Coastal Trail, Skunk Cabbage Section|
|★★||2.2||580||Carruthers Cove||★★||1.5||200||Enderts Beach|
|★★||0.8||350||Klamath River Overlook|
|★★||0.4||60||High Bluff Overlook|
|★||22.0||3100||Lost Man Creek Trail|
|★||15.8||2000||Crossover Road (Mill Creek Watershed)|
|★||10.4||1970||Mill Creek Horse Trail|
|★||9.8||1600||Little Bald Hills Trail|
|★||7.7||1470||Craigs Creek Trail|
|★||7.0||1260||Hobbs Wall and Saddler Skyline|
|★||6.0||590||Coastal Trail, Tey-wo-lew section|
|★||4.5||750||Lyons Ranch Trail|
|★||3.1||70||Picnic Road (Mill Creek Watershed)|
|★||2.8||210||Elk Prairie Trail|
|★||1.5||470||Wellman Loop Trail||★||1.2||100||Yurok Loop|
|★||0.4||90||Little Creek Trail|
The best all-day redwood hike, with spectacular redwood forest, the wild and scenic Gold Bluffs Beach, and a fern-covered slot canyon.
An extraordinary out-and-back hike through a showcase of the world’s best redwood scenery.
A famous grove with some of the world’s largest known redwoods by volume.
This small grove by the side of the Smith River is has an otherworldly cathedral-like majesty, but it gets somewhat crowded on summer weekends.
Connects Stout Grove and the Grove of Titans, two of Jedediah Smith’s best groves. Although the trail between the groves is less impressive, it’s a nice alternative to the more popular access routes.
A superb loop with the best redwood scenery in Prairie Creek. Gets some traffic noise.
Features an exceptionally dense and lush redwood grove by a burbling brook.
A perfect introduction to Prairie Creek, this easy and popular loop passes through some of the park’s most scenic groves.
A really short, little-used trail through a spectacular redwood-filled canyon.
A little-used trail in an outlying section of Redwood National Park that climbs into a remnant patch of upland old-growth redwoods.
The little-used Rhododendron Trail climbs through sunny old-growth redwood uplands, while the Foothill Trail passes through two impressive alluvial-flat groves.
A varied and scenic hike that combines an easy walk through coastal meadows with a climb into attractive old-growth redwood uplands.
A peaceful, little-used loop that winds dramatically through canyons and over ridges through lush redwood uplands.
Climbs through a scenic and interesting upland grove with some good-sized redwoods.
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.
Climbs a hillside above Highway 199 into sun-dappled redwood uplands. The scenery is great, but there’s traffic noise throughout.
Del Norte Coast’s most scenic trail descends through old-growth redwoods from Highway 101 to a small rocky beach.
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.
A scenic gravel logging road that climbs through redwood uplands. Open to cars in summer.
An interesting and enjoyable hike that starts in an impressive redwood-lined canyon and leads to a lushly-wooded ridgetop.
A popular loop through a remnant strip of old growth with a small waterfall. Lots of traffic noise from nearby Highway 101.
Runs along the banks of Mill Creek to an impressive lowland redwood grove just across the road from the Boy Scout Tree Trail.
These little-used loops start at scenic Walker Road and pass through remarkably lush old-growth lowlands before climbing a hillside into more mundane uplands.
A short, level loop through an upland grove with relatively small redwoods. One of the most popular trails in Redwood Natonal Park.
A short roadside loop with an unusually dense, jungle-like look.
Follows an old alignment of Highway 101 through mixed-species woodland on high coastal bluffs, then turns inland and runs through old-growth redwoods. No views after the first half-mile.
This enjoyable hike starts in attractive mixed-species woodland and climbs into old-growth redwoods. One of the most enjoyable sections of the Coastal Trail.
A little-used dead-end trail that climbs a hill through mostly small upland redwoods.
A short, steep loop with some first-rate old growth. Conveniently located next to the visitor center and Elk Prairie Campground.
A short trail that follows an old roadbed through exceptionally nice redwood uplands.
Branching directly off of busy Highway 199 is a forgotten, little-used trail that doesn’t have an official name. There isn’t even any way to safely pull off the road at the trailhead.
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.
Leads to the Tall Trees Grove; along the way, the creekside woodland hasn’t been logged but mostly lacks redwoods. Popular with backpackers.
Runs along steep, spruce-covered bluffs high above the ocean, with no roads or other development in sight. There are no rewoods, but the last half-mile has some great ocean views.
Climbs through a strikingly lush and richly green ravine before descending to a scenic beach. No redwoods.
Follows the Smith River, mostly through uninteresting mixed-species forest at the edge of the old growth redwoods.
An enjoyable trail that starts with an impressive stretch of old-growth redwoods, then descends to a secluded beach.
A short descent to a quiet, secluded beach.
A short, popular walk along the bluffs to an isolated beach with tidepools. Sometimes closed due to landslides.
A picnic area on a high bluff with a commanding view of the coast. A trail descends to a viewpoint far below, but the view from the parking lot is actually better.
A picnic area and viewpoint with some great views of the rocky coastline. Despite its name, the bluff isn’t actually all that high.
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.
Mostly unattractive second-growth, but with two short sections of old growth, one of which is actually pretty magnificent.
Climbs out of Jed Smith’s old-growth redwoods and through lush fir groves before entering a sparse hilltop pine forest.
A little-used trail that rises and falls through an interesting variety of woodland before descending to the confluence of two rivers.
A loop through second-growth redwoods on a steep hillside above the Mill Creek Campground.
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.
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.
Circles Elk Prairie. Mostly passes through smaller trees and brush, with short stretches of impressive redwoods at the beginning and end.
Climbs through unspectacular redwood uplands, then descends through dense non-redwood forest. Located across Highway 199 from the campground.
A short loop with some nice ocean views that starts from a rest stop alongside Highway 101.
A short trail that climbs through a canyon off Drury Parkway. The mixed-species forest doesn’t have a lot of redwoods.
This is what I bring for hiking the redwoods.
The following items are only needed in winter during unusually heavy rainfall or unusually cold conditions:
Current satellite images:
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