Redwood National and State Park is an aggregation of California owned land which is managed jointly by the National and California Park Services. The official Redwood National Park is near the city of Eureka, but there are large clusters of giant California redwood trees scattered from far south at San Francisco to the north at Crescent City. Read on to see my favorite places to see the giant Redwoods in California.
The giant Redwoods in California are largely contained within the Redwoods National and State Park which covers a large area of Northern California. This makes it difficult to know what to actually visit, especially if you are pressed for time. Come along with me as we explore my favorite places for visiting the Giant California Redwoods.
What to Expect When Visiting Redwood National Park?
Redwood National Park is spread over a large part of Norhern California. It covers about a third of California coastal area, and because of this, it is confusing to actually find the park since it is actually multiple places.
So let’s start our exploration of the giant Redwoods in California going from the north, near Crescent City to the south all the way near San Francisco.
Elk Meadow – A herd of elks grazing right by the road
See my photos from Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Expect to be in awe of the tallest trees on earth! It is one of the most amazing feelings I have ever felt, looking at these ancient giant trees towering over everything else. Just like a visit to Sequoia National Park, the giant Redwood groves will amaze you if you are patient to hike a few loop trails.
1. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
At the northern end, near Crescent City you find the best old growth giant Redwoods groves. Visiting Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park gives you access to the most dense giant redwood forest. This area is designated a UNESCO heritage site. Logging has been prohibited for more than a hundred years which makes this area very old and dense.
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park – Stout Grove trail going through a fallen tree
See my photos from Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
But where to go and see the best of Jedediah Smith Redwoods? My cousin loves these places and he took me to the Stout Memorial Grove and the Boyscout Tree Trail to experience these amazing forests. These are both very easy walks through the middle of old growth giant redwood forest and they are perfect for families and children.
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park – The huge trunk of the Boyscout Tree is a great example of how wide the giant redwood trees can get
See my photos from Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
2. Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
Next Redwoods park traveling south is Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park which is North of the town of Klamath.
Crescent City, California – The Pacific Ocean and Crescent City at sunset
3. Trees of Mystery
Located in Klamath, Trees of Mystery is an easy place to see the giant Redwoods in California. Yes it is touristy and dated, but is is very easy to visit because it is right on the main highway. The main loop trail is well kept and has beautiful and impressive giant tree formations. In addition the aerial tramway will take you to an excellent viewing deck high up in the forest.
Trees of Mystery, Klamath – Beautiful young Redwood trees on the Trail of Mysterious Trees
See my photos from Trees of Mystery
4. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
A little further south from the town of Klamath, you will find the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. An easy way to go through the park is to actually drive on the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway which runs through the park.
You can pick up this road at this junction. This road gives you easy access to the giant California redwoods.
Prairie Creek Redwoods – Small waterfall on the side of Rhododendron Trail
5. Redwoods National Park
Continuing south, we find the actual official and oldest Redwoods National Park with the entrance near the town of Orick. The park includes scenic parts of the local state beaches like the Redwood Creek State Beach. Redwood Creek runs through the national park from East to West.
Redwood Creek Beach Park – Large tree root on the beach at Redwood Creek
See my photos Redwood Creek
6. Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Getting closer to the southern part of the park, you fill find the thick giant Redwood forest in Humboldt Redwoods State Park around the village of Myers Flat. If you travel north you must exit the 101 freeway and take the old road going through the middle of a large Redwoods forest. This road is called “The Avenue of the Giants”. And it deserves its name!
Avenue of the Giants, California – Starting at the north side of Avenue of the Giants, the redwood forest covers the road.
See more photos from Humboldt Redwoods State Park
This is the easiest area for visiting the redwood forest. It is located right by the 101 freeway and the highway provides easy access to several easy walking loops through large redwood groves. Being pressed for time we were only able to walk the large trees loop and drive the entire Avenue of the Giants highway.
7. Muir Woods National Monument
If you are near San Francisco, Muir Woods National Monument is the simplest way to visit the Redwoods, without having to travel hours. While comparatively small, Muir Woods has beautifully maintained trails that will give you a great glimpse into these amazing trees. However, being close to San Francisco, the park is very very busy especially in the summer months.
Muir Woods National Monument – Undergrowth of a redwood canopy demonstrating the deep shadow under the trees
See my photos from San Francisco
If you are planning a trip to this area, you can find budget hotels in the San Francisco area.
My Best Tips for Seeing the Giant Redwoods in California
You must plan your trip efficiently as it will be difficult to see all these areas. You may want to pick only a few specific places that will fit your expectations.
The easiest places to visit are The Avenue of the Giants, Muir Woods National Monument and Trees of Mystery. These places however, are very far apart.
Is it Worth Visiting the Giant Redwoods in California?
Absolutely! Just like the Sequoia trees, the giant Redwood trees are magnificent. Walking among the Redwoods is an awesome experience that is well worth your effort. Children will definitely enjoy it as well and you will feel inspired and refreshed.
Article Series: California’s National Parks
- 5 best day hikes in Yosemite National Park
- 1 amazing week in Yosemite National Park
- Local expert recommends best attractions in Yosemite National Park
- Backpacking in Sequoia National Park
- Backpacking in King’s Canyon National Park
- 7 places to see the Redwoods National & State Park
- 2 great family hikes in Pinnacles National Park