There is an abundance of breathtaking things to do in in Northern California’s Redwood National & State Parks.
This park is home to the tallest trees in the world, the mighty Redwood, which can reach staggering heights of over 360ft and weigh more than 500 tons.
These parks feature magical forests, miles of spectacular beaches, stunning overlooks, and one of the largest herds of Roosevelt elk on the planet.
People travel from all over the world to experience the magic that takes place in this park every single day.
About Our Travels to Redwood National Park
We visited Redwood for the first time back in 2010 and it changed our lives. This is truly one of those places where photos cannot come close to doing it justice. Looking up at these trees gave us a similar feeling to staring into the grand canyon – one can do so for hours and still be just as mesmerized.
We found the color of the trees to vary from a grayish hue near the coast to a deep red near the Humboldt Redwoods. We spent several weeks in the park visiting all of the main attractions and filming them to bring you the best things to do and see in the park.
This magical forest has so much to offer which we’ll be sharing with you here.
Things to Know Before You Visit Redwood National Park
FREE! However, if you plan to visit more National Parks within the next 12 months we suggest you go ahead and purchase the America the Beautiful Pass (which can be purchased at any national park) and gets you into all National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and more including 2,000 sites for free after a one time $79 fee.
The best map for the park: We like this map the best.
Best Guide Book
Cell Service is pretty reliable in the park. There are a few spots near Orick where service is more limited but overall visitors can expect to have good reception.
Getting to the Redwoods
Getting to Redwood National Park is half the fun! Out of state visitors can fly into Crescent City Airport (which is only 30mins from the closest part of the park), or San Francisco and drive up the coast (6 hours south of Redwood), or Redding (3 hours east of Redwood), or Medford, OR (2 hours northeast of Redwood).
Food & Restaurants
There are many restaurants and food options throughout the areas, cities, and towns around the park. The major towns for restaurants are Crescent City to the North, Klamath in the middle, and Trinidad to the South.
During the summer months (June – August) expect to find mosquitoes at varying levels in the Redwoods. I recommend this bug spray which has worked for me in the park and is environmentally friendly.
Best Time to Visit the Redwoods
The Best Time to Visit Redwood National Park is in Spring and Summer to take advantage of less crowds (Spring) and warmer temperatures (Summer).
Maps of the National Parks
National Parks Checklist Map: This beautiful National Parks Checklist Map can be ordered to your house.
Framed National Parks Map: We’re a sucker for maps, this framed national parks map is the best.
Watch the Award Winning Redwood Video
MTJP | Redwood is the culmination of several weeks spent exploring Redwood National and State Parks.
These parks feature magical forests, miles of spectacular beaches, stunning overlooks, and the largest herd of Roosevelt elk on the planet. This film was shot entirely in 4K.
Best Things To Do in Redwood National Park
1. Stout Grove
The Stout Grove is one of the most magnificent and highly photographed groves of old-growth Redwoods in Redwood National Park.
Located in Jedediah Smith Redwoods North of Crescent City, the Stout Grove features a relatively small (but oh so stunning) grove of giant, 300ft tall redwoods.
Distance: .7 mile roundtrip
Time: 45mins – 1.5 hours
The Stout Grove is located in the northernmost section of the park in Jedediah Smith Redwoods.
The road leading to the Stout Grove is unpaved but passable with 2WD vehicles. Mosquitoes here can be pesky in early to mid Summer.
To learn more check out our Stout Grove post.
2. Lady Bird Johnson Grove
The Lady Bird Johnson Grove is one of the most spectacular groves of ancient, old-growth Redwoods in the world.
This grove is located near the town of Orick in Redwood National Park at about 1,000ft above sea level and is one of the most popular hikes in the park.
Distance: 1.3 miles roundtrip
Time: 1-2 hours
The trail itself is only about 1.3miles long with little elevation gain making it great for folks of all ages and fitness levels.
If you’re visiting Lady Bird Johnson Grove be sure to check out Redwood Creek Overlook just down the road for the park’s best sunsets!
To learn more check out our Lady Bird Johnson Grove post.
3. Fern Canyon
Fern Canyon is a stunning, world-renowned destination, made famous by it’s appearance in the Jurrasic Park movie franchise.
Literally dripping with ferns from wall to wall with a creek flowing through, this canyon is a mesmerizing spot that everyone visiting Redwood National Park should see.
Distance: 1.1 miles roundtrip
Time: 1-2 hours
The trail can be done as a 1.1mile loop or an out and back which is more popular as visitors get to see the spectacular parts twice.
Fern Canyon is located just down the road from Gold Bluffs Beach which is a great place for a stop or to camp!
To learn more check out our Fern Canyon post.
4. Jedediah Smith Redwoods
Jedediah Smith Redwoods is often many visitors first experience in Redwood National Park.
This area is located on the stunning Wild & Scenic Smith River on the north side of the park near Crescent City.
There is a beautiful campground and a popular swimming hole located in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods along with some of the most popular groves in the world including the Stout Grove.
To learn more about the Jedediah Smith Redwoods check out our Jedediah Smith Redwoods post.
5. Gold Bluffs Beach
Gold Bluffs Beach is a beautiful spot on the Pacific ocean named for the iconic golden colored bluffs that overlook it.
The Gold Bluffs Beach Campground here is the only one in the park located on the beach making it a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
Who doesn’t love the sound of the ocean outside of your tent serenading you to sleep?
If that isn’t enough, there is a resident herd of elk that frequents the beach along with migrating whales and dolphins.
To learn more about the Gold Bluffs Beach check out our Gold Bluffs Beach post.
6. Avenue of the Giants
The Avenue of the Giants is a magnificent 31.5 mile drive that weaves you through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park located about an hour south of Eureka.
While this area is not technically part of the “national park” we included it anyway because it’s so close and not to be missed.
The drive itself is not long but there are many, many stops along the way so prepare for a full days worth of activities if you plan to drive the route.
To learn more check out our Avenue of the Giants post.
7. Redwood Creek Overlook
Redwood Creek Overlook is the best spot in Redwood National Park to catch a sunset.
Situated at over 1,000ft above the ocean it overlooks, this location often sees cloud inversions near sunset sweep through the redwoods below.
It’s location near Lady Bird Johnson Grove makes it an easy add on to the end of a day.
To learn more check out our Redwood Creek Overlook post.
8. Tall Trees Grove
The Tall Trees Grove in Redwood National Park is one of the park’s most stunning collection of towering redwoods.
Visitors to this area must obtain a free pass 24-48 hours in advance of their visit. To do so, follow this link.
Distance: 3.3 miles roundtrip (800ft elevation)
Time: 3-4 hours
Compared to many of the other easy trails, it’s a bit of a hike to get there. The trail is 3.3miles long with just under 800ft of elevation gain.
To learn more check out our Tall Trees Grove post.
9. Boy Scout Tree Trail
The Boy Scout Tree Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes in Redwood National Park featuring groves of stunning old-growth redwoods.
The hike itself is located off of Howland Hill Road just down from the Stout Grove.
Distance: 5.3 miles roundtrip (750ft elevation)
Time: 3-4 hours
The hike itself is 5.3miles long (roundtrip) and takes about 3-4 hours to complete.
To learn more check out our Boy Scout Tree Trail post.
10. Elk Meadow
It’s location, just outside of Orick and at the head of Davison Road, puts it in a great jumping off point to see more in the park.
To learn more check out our Elk Meadow post.
11. Crescent Beach Overlook
This is a great spot to get out of the car, stretch your legs, soak in the views, and grab a few snaps on your way through the park.
To learn more check out our Crescent Beach Overlook Post.
12. Bald Hills
Visitors to the Bald Hills will be treated to sweeping views of the surrounding forested areas.
To learn more check out our Bald Hills post.
13. Find a Banana Slug in the Redwoods
You can find all sorts of small creatures all over the Redwoods including one of my favorites, the Banana Slug.
This small animal can be found almost anywhere in the park but especially loves the forest floor and low foliage.
Don’t be alarmed if you see one of these bright yellow slugs as they are not poisonous and provide a vital service to the redwood ecosystem as a detritivore, also known as a decomposer.
The banana slug assists the forest with the vital decomposition process turning dead leaves and other organic material into soil hummus.
While not considered one of the best national parks in California to view the night sky, on a clear night the view in Redwood can be quite impressive.
The main contributing factor to the park not being the best place for stargazing is the amount of fog that rolls in making it impossible to count on seeing stars at night.
However, when the stars are out, they absolutely dazzle! A great spot to watch them from is Redwood Creek Overlook.
15. Humboldt Redwoods
While you’re in the area, I highly recommend visiting the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
This stunning area of Redwoods differs from the coastal redwoods in many ways including color.
The color of the redwoods in Humboldt are redder as opposed to the greyer redwoods of the coast.
There are all sorts of great hikes in the Humboldt Redwoods as well as the world-famous Avenue of the Giants.
Redwood National Park Map of Best Things To Do
Redwood Things to Do Photos
Summary of the Top 10 Things to Do in Redwood National Park
- Stout Grove
- Lady Bird Johnson Grove
- Fern Canyon
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods
- Gold Bluffs Beach
- Avenue of the Giants*
- Redwood Creek Overlook
- Tall Trees Grove
- Boy Scout Tree Trail
- Elk Meadow
- Crescent Beach Overlook
- Bald Hills
- Banana Slug
- Humboldt Redwoods
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