Redwood National & State Parks


Even before the California goldfields played out, western fortune seekers were "mining" red gold, the lumber of the lofty coastal redwood. These giants, the tallest trees on earth, once covered over two million acres of the northern California coast. When the Save-the-Redwoods League was formed in 1918, concerned citizens were already aware that this natural treasure was threatened with extinction and they succeeded in establishing state parks to protect some of the old-growth forests, but logging continued outside the parklands. By 1965, only 300,000 acres of coastal redwoods remained, and public outcry prompted federal intervention. In 1968, land surrounding three California state parks, Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods, was declared Redwood National Park. The park's area was expanded in 1978 to reclaim logged forests and further protect the existing groves. In addition to the tall trees (and Redwood is home to the tallest tree on earth), the park preserves miles of rugged Pacific coastline and a buffer zone of bald hill prairieland where wildlife abounds. The state and national parks together have been designated as a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve, protecting the coastal redwood forest ecosystem for people the world over. What to see and do: Get oriented at Redwood park's headquarters in Crescent City or the Kushel Visitor Center in Orick, which is open year-round except for winter holidays. The visitor center in Hiouchi opens mid-June through mid-September, and additional seasonal information centers can be found in Prairie Creek and Jedediah Smith state parks. Stop by one of these sites to see park exhibits and obtain information about trails, park regulations, and special events such as ranger talks and walks. Visit one or more of the redwood groves to experience their towering beauty firsthand. If you yearn to gaze up at the world's tallest tree, almost 370 feet tall and 600 years old, you'll have to hike a steep trail, two-and-two-thirds miles round trip, to Tall Trees Grove. Private vehicles are allowed on the road to the trailhead, but a permit must be obtained at the Redwood Information Center. Drive along Redwood's coast and marvel at the rugged Pacific shore. Watch for whales and other sea mammals from overlooks and beaches. One of the nation's four major migration routes, the Pacific Flyway, passes directly over the park, and birdwatchers have spotted over 370 different species here. Redwood National Park's coastal tidal pools are among the finest anywhere, and are your best bet for wildlife viewing. Roosevelt Elk can often be seen at Gold Bluffs Beach. Kayak or swim at your own risk in Redwood's rivers, which also offer superlative salmon and trout fishing. There are numerous hiking and bike trails and 39 backcountry campsites in the park, and a permit is needed for them. The state parks offer more developed campgrounds with a total of 355 sites. Call 1-800-444-7275 for reservations or go to There is a $7.50 reservation fee in addition to campsite fees ranging from $15 to $20. Food and accommodations are readily available in nearby communities. The Redwood Hostel, operated by AYH, is located in the park near Wilson Creek overlooking the Pacific Ocean (707-482-8265). Horseback riding and other tours can be arranged through local concessionaires.


1111 Second St
Crescent City, CA 95531


41.72384000, -124.13953000
Visit Website
(707) 464-6101

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