Redwood National and State Parks: A Guide to Experiencing California's Ancient Giants

A Quick Guide If You Want To Visit Redwoods National Park In California

Redwood National and State Parks, a majestic tapestry of towering redwoods, pristine coastline, and diverse ecosystems, beckons nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Nestled along the rugged northern California coast, this complex of protected areas offers an unforgettable experience for visitors seeking to connect with the awe-inspiring grandeur of these ancient giants.

This comprehensive guide equips you with everything you need to plan your visit to Redwood National and State Parks, from choosing the perfect location to explore to uncovering hidden gems and must-see sights.


Choosing Your Redwoods Adventure: 

Redwood National and State Parks encompass four distinct areas, each offering unique experiences:

  • Redwood National Park: The crown jewel, boasting some of the tallest trees on Earth, including the iconic Lady Bird Johnson Grove.
  • Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park: A scenic treasure trove with dramatic coastline views, Fern Canyon, and hidden waterfalls.
  • Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park: Home to the awe-inspiring Stout Grove and numerous redwood trails.
  • Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park: Offers a blend of redwood forests, grasslands, and pristine beaches, perfect for wildlife viewing.
  • Avenue of Giants: Must see the picturesque road, that stretches for about 30 miles through little towns, and redwood forests.

See more extensive descriptions of each adventure on this page below.


redwoods humboldt

Planning Your Trip:

  • Best Time To Visit: The redwoods are a year-round destination, but spring offers vibrant wildflowers, while summer boasts warm weather for hiking and exploring the coast. Fall brings vibrant foliage, and winter transforms the redwoods into a wonderland with occasional snowfall. If you want to experience the Rhododendrons bloom, you must go there around the month of June.
  • Accommodation: Lodging options range from campgrounds nestled among the redwoods to charming bed and breakfasts in nearby towns. Consider the level of comfort you desire and proximity to your desired exploration areas.
  • Permits: While there's no entrance fee for the parks, some campgrounds require reservations. Check the National Park Service website for details.


Must-See Sights and Activities:

  • Hiking: Immerse yourself in the redwood giants on numerous trails. Popular options include the Tall Trees Grove Trail in Redwood National Park, the breathtaking Fern Canyon Trail in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and the scenic Stout Grove Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for Roosevelt elk grazing in meadows, playful river otters frolicking in streams, and a variety of birds soaring through the redwoods. Whale-watching tours from nearby towns offer glimpses of migrating gray whales during winter months.
  • Coastal Exploration: Explore the dramatic coastline of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. Hike along scenic trails overlooking the Pacific Ocean, marvel at tide pools teeming with life, or witness the power of the ocean at Thunder Cove.
  • Prairie Creek Redwood State Park: Hike through redwood forests and explore pristine beaches like Gold Bluffs Beach, a haven for beach-combing and tide-pooling.
  • Ranger-Led Programs: Delve deeper into the park's rich history, ecology, and cultural significance by participating in ranger-led programs all year round.


Hidden Gems:

  • Grove of the Titans: Nestled within Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, this lesser-known grove boasts some of the park's oldest and most impressive redwoods.
  • Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway: Embark on a scenic drive along this parkway in Redwood National Park, offering breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and redwood forests.
  • Hidden Falls Trail: Take a moderate hike in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park to discover a cascading waterfall nestled among lush greenery.
  • Fern Canyon: Explore this enchanting slot canyon in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, where emerald ferns blanket the steep walls, creating a prehistoric atmosphere.
  • Lady Bird Johnson Trail: A true hidden gem just minutes from Highway 101. A grove named after Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon Johnson. She founded this grove in order to conserve this precious piece of nature.


Beyond the Redwoods:

The surrounding towns offer additional experiences to complement your visit:

  • Eureka: Explore this charming Victorian seaport town with its historic architecture and vibrant arts scene.
  • Arcata: Visit the quirky town of Arcata, known for its bohemian vibe, historic town square, independent shops, and proximity to Clam Beach.
  • Orick: This gateway town to Redwood National Park offers restaurants, shops, and a jumping-off point for exploring the park's southern region.
  • Shelter Cove:  A remote coastal town worth visiting if you want to see a black beach and endless coastline. Where swimming is not advised because of rip currents.

Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

is a stunning natural reserve located in Del Norte County, along the northern coast of California, United States. This park is renowned for its spectacular old-growth coastal redwood groves, rugged coastline, and diverse ecosystems, offering visitors a chance to explore some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring landscapes in the region.

Here are some key features and attractions of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park:

  1. Old-Growth Redwood Groves: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park is home to some of the tallest trees on Earth, including ancient coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) that can reach heights of over 350 feet (107 meters). These majestic trees create a dense canopy that filters sunlight, creating a serene and magical atmosphere within the forest.

  2. Trail System: The park features a network of hiking trails that wind through the redwood groves, offering visitors opportunities for exploration and outdoor recreation. Trails vary in length and difficulty, catering to hikers of all skill levels. Popular trails include the Damnation Creek Trail, Coastal Trail, and James Irvine Trail, which offers access to Fern Canyon.

  3. Fern Canyon: One of the park's most iconic attractions, Fern Canyon is a lush, narrow gorge with towering walls draped in ferns and mosses. Visitors can hike along the creek bed, wading through shallow pools and admiring the stunning scenery. The canyon has been featured in several films, including "Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World," due to its prehistoric ambiance.

  4. Coastline: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park also boasts a rugged and pristine coastline, with rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, and panoramic ocean views. Visitors can explore tide pools, watch for wildlife such as seals and sea lions, and enjoy beach combing and picnicking along the shore. I like to go searching for starfish when I go to tide pool areas.

  5. Wildlife Viewing: The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including Roosevelt elk, black bears, mountain lions, and multiple bird species. Birdwatchers may spot bald eagles, ospreys, great blue herons, and many others.

  6. Campgrounds: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park offers camping facilities for visitors looking to immerse themselves in nature overnight. The Mill Creek Campground provides tent and RV camping options, with picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms. Better make reservations (far) in advance because they tend to fill up quickly!

Overall, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park offers a memorable outdoor experience for nature lovers, hikers, photographers, and anyone seeking to connect with the beauty and tranquility of California's coastal redwood forests.

redwoods at del norte park

"Redwoods Magic" Art Print By Jongas, photo from Del Norte Redwoods trail

The Avenue of the Giants

is a scenic drive located in Northern California, renowned for its majestic groves of towering redwood trees. Stretching for approximately 31 miles (50 kilometers) along California State Route 254, the Avenue of the Giants runs parallel to U.S. Route 101, providing travelers with a breathtaking journey through one of the world's most magnificent forests.

As you traverse the Avenue of the Giants, you'll be enveloped by the towering presence of ancient coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), some of the tallest trees on Earth. These towering giants, which can reach heights of over 350 feet (107 meters) and have diameters exceeding 20 feet (6 meters), create a sense of awe and wonder, unmatched by any other landscape.

The Avenue of Giants road winds through a series of picturesque groves, where visitors can stop and explore trails that meander through the forest, offering hiking, photography, and quiet contemplation. Along the route, you'll encounter iconic landmarks such as the Founders Grove(Founders Tree), the Dyerville Giant (a fallen redwood with a circumference of over 50 feet), and the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree, where you can drive your car through a tunnel carved into a living redwood.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Avenue of the Giants is also home to several visitor centers, interpretive exhibits, and picnic areas, where you can learn about the history, ecology, and conservation efforts of the redwood forest.

Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a road trip aficionado, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Avenue of the Giants offers an unforgettable experience that celebrates the majesty of the natural world and the timeless beauty of the redwood forest. It's a journey that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime and a deep appreciation for the wonders of Mother Nature.







Meet The Artist

Hello, I'm Eddie Jongas, travel and photography is my passion. After moving to Los Angeles years ago, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the entire West Coast and have dedicated my current life to capturing its beauty with my camera.

All my work is available as fine art photography prints that are produced from the highest quality materials for the most luxurious look and feel.

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Visit in person at: Jongas Photography Wall Art Gallery 3339 Kimber dr. STE E, Newbury Park, CA 91320 805-586-0626 (Google Maps Directions)

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