Redwoods National Park is a park with an awfully deceiving name. It’s easy to assume Redwoods equals big trees, thus Redwoods National Park would mean it’s a park filled with copious amounts of big, beautiful trees.
Redwoods National Park is actually a park with a split personality. While half of the park’s incredible landscape is comprised of towering ancient trees and massive ferns, the other half is made up of dramatic coastline, frequented by a variety of large mammals, and other fascinating critters. It’s a cool place.
You Should Probably Know…
It’s also a pretty big place. The unique thing about Redwood’s National Park is that it’s not just a National Park, the total area of protected land is comprised of a combination of National Park Land and State Park Land, if it sounds a bit confusing, well that’s because it is. This is a co-managed park, making it not just unique but also huge!
The good news for those of us lucky to visit this beautiful place is that one pass covers it all! So unlike other California State Parks, an America The Beautiful Pass (Park’s Pass), Senior Pass, or Access Pass will get you in for free, and who doesn’t love free!
If you’re curious about what part’s of the park belongs to which agency and what there is to see in each region these maps should be helpful:
A Couple Of Other Things You Should Know Before Visiting…
Clothing: Be prepared to get muddy. Redwood’s National Park is located in the Pacific Northwest; rainy and moody weather is prevalent in this region. The ground is often muddy and waterlogged making walking sometimes a treacherous and messy affair. Keep your feet dry with a good pair of hiking boots and or rain boots, and don’t forget a raincoat!
We’re all about high-quality outdoor gear that stands up to the wear and tear we put it through. If you’re interested in what we wear when we wander, you can find all of our favorite gear here.
Getting Around & Parking: Parking at many of the trailheads is limited, so the earlier you go (especially during the busy summer season, the better) most of the roads are not suitable for RV’s, so it’s best to leave your camper at the campsite and plan your adventures using a car!
BYOF: Bring your own food! This is a lesson we learned the hard way, so take this advice to heart! The towns in and around the park area are incredibly small and food options are limited. Redwood National Park is the perfect spot for a picnic! This is definitely one of those times you won’t mind missing out on take out!
Get Out And Explore…
Unfortunately for us, we only had one short day to take in the splendor of this magnificent park, which in truth is not even close to enough time, but it did give us a chance to get our feet wet both literally and figuratively!
Where We Explored
Big Tree Wayside Walk & The Corkscrew Tree
We chose this trail because we heard it was the quickest way to see some of the biggest and most interesting trees in the park. This trail is located within the state-managed portion of the park, and is a super easy stroll through stunning old-growth redwood trees, if you’ve only got a few hours to burn, you should definitely put this trail on your list!
We were told the walk to the corkscrew tree was just a short stroll down this trail… turns out we probably should have looked at the map a little better! But nonetheless, the corkscrew tree (once we found it) was as impressive as promised and well worth the stop, especially once we discovered the stop was literally just off the road!
If we had to sum up Fern Canyon with one word, that word would be… whoa. Cause whoa, this place is awesome! We’ve seen some pretty impressive canyons on our road trip across the USA, in fact, one of them was pretty grand– but we’ve never seen anything quite as unique and jaw-droppingly beautiful as Fern Canyon.
Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway & Elk Prairie
If you’re traveling North on Highway 101 this one isn’t hard to miss, it parallels the main highway but gives you the option to take the slow road as it were. This drive-through immense old-growth forest ends with a stop at a perfect little opportunity for some first-rate wildlife viewing! Elk Prairie as you might have guessed is filled with Elk. Roosevelt Elk to be exact! This is a massive herd of elk, roam wild across the span of the park, but Elk Prairie is one of the most common spots to see some furry forest friends roaming free!
What We Missed
We also like to call this category, “what we saved for next time”… because there most definitely will be a next time! With so many hidden secrets and discoveries waiting around every corner, you really do need more than just a day to truly give this park all the love and affection it deserves.
When we head back next time these are some other explorations that we think will be worthy of an adventure!
Pssst… if you check one of these off your list leave a comment and let us know what you thought!
Avenue of Giants
Avenue of the Giants is actually located South on 101 of the “main” part of the park in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The name says it all, it’s a road chock full of giant ancient trees. This 31-mile drive takes you along an old portion of Highway 101, through a maze of towering trees. Unfortunately, it is not built for RV’s and so we had to breeze right on by the turn off for it. But if you have the time, and a vehicle suited to the narrower roads, we hear this one is a must-do!
Tall Trees Grove
Located on the Southern end of the park this four-mile backcountry hike is rated strenuous and from the sounds of the 1,600-foot elevation gain, it’s probably not for the faint of heart. The largest trees within this grove are located at a low point rich in both water and healthy soil, making it an ideal spot for growing giants. The trees here are so impressive that they were once featured in National Geographic, we’re willing to guess if Nat Geo thought these trees were worth the coverage they are probably more than worth taking on the miles and elevation to have a peek at.