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9 Most Awe-Inspiring Things to do in Redwood National Park

Updated: May 4

Looking for some of the best things to do in Redwood National and State Parks? Here are some of my top recommendations.


Redwood National Park Guide

Located in Northern California, not far from the Oregon border, Redwood National Park is home to 40 miles of rugged coastline, emerald-green rivers, and some of the tallest redwood trees on the planet. From enchanting drives to awe-inspiring redwood hikes, here are some of the top things to do in (as well as just outside of) Redwood National and State Parks.


*Redwood National Park alongside its three neighboring state parks: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park are collectively recognized as Redwood National Park.


Check out the video version here:


 

Best Time To Visit Redwood National Park

The Smith River in Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park
The Smith River in Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park

Spring (April-June) is one of the best times to visit Redwood National Park. Springtime is less crowded than the summer, plus everything is green and lush. I recently visited Redwood National Park in mid-April, and it was a fantastic time to go! 


Note that seasonal footbridges might not be in place in the early spring, but don't let that stop you from visiting! Also, don't let a rainy forecast deter you either, as the rain and fog add a touch of magic to the scenery. A rainy, overcast day is also great for photography as it diffuses harsh shadows.

 

1. Boy Scout Tree Trail

Boy Scout Tree Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Boy Scout Tree Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Boy Scout Tree Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

If you are looking for some of the best redwood scenery in the country, look no further than the Boy Scout Tree Trail. Located in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, the Boy Scout Tree trail is about 5.5 miles out and back and features towering old-growth redwoods, carpets of fern, and lush jungle-like scenery. 


To reach this trail, you'll have to take Howland Hill Road, an unpaved road that once served as a stagecoach road. The road is incredibly scenic but windy and very narrow in parts. RVs and trailers are not recommended and can get stuck between two trees in particularly narrow parts.

 

2. Stout Memorial Grove

Stout Memorial Grove Loop Trail

Also along Howland Hill Road, just before the Boy Scout Tree Trail, is Stout Memorial Grove. The Stout Grove trail is a short and easy 0.6-mile loop and features old-growth redwoods and a 340-foot-tall tree called the Stout Tree. It also has views of the Smith River.


We did Stout Grove first before the Boy Scout Tree Trail, as they are minutes from each other.

 

3. Lady Bird Johnson Grove

Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail
Foggy conditions on the Lady Bird Johnson Grove trail
Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail

Located near HWY 101 in Redwood National Park, the Lady Bird Johnson Grove trail is an easy, peaceful 1.5-mile loop that takes you through a mixed forest of ancient redwoods and Douglas firs. 


This trail is at a higher elevation than some of the other redwoods hikes in the area and is often blanked in fog, making for some truly enchanting conditions. It was raining and misty when we did this hike, and I really thought it added to the experience!

 

4. Karl Knapp Foothill Trail

Karl Knapp Foothill Trail in redwood National Park


Karl Knapp Foothill Trail in redwood National Park

The Karl Knapp Trail used to be called the Prairie Creek Trail, but the name was changed in late 2021. Located in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, this flat 2.5-mile loop trail meanders along a babbling brook and takes you through colossal redwood groves. There are several wooden bridges along the trail and a neat cut-out log you can walk through (making for a pretty cool photo op!) 

 

5. Roosevelt Elk

Roosevelt Elk in Redwood National Park

One of the best places to spot Roosevelt Elk in Redwood National Park is directly across from the Prairie Creek Visitors Center. You can pull right off the road and watch them from the comfort of your car. Elk were hunted to near extinction after the California Gold Rush. Due to conservation efforts, the Roosevelt elk population is now in the thousands!

 

6. Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County
A rainy afternoon at Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants isn’t within Redwood National Park, but it's relatively close (about an hour and a half south of RNP) and worth adding to your itinerary. The road is one of the most scenic drives in the US and one of the best places to see California redwoods.


Avenue of the Giants is 32 miles long and parallels US 101, making it easy to access. In addition to the road, there are stunning redwood groves that you can explore within Avenue of the Giants, a favorite being Founders Grove.


Read more about visiting Avenue of the Giants here.


Founders Grove in Avenue of the Giants
 

7. Redwood Sky Walk 

Redwood Sky Walk in Eureka California


Redwood Sky Walk in Eureka California

Located in Eureka, California, about an hour's drive of Avenue of the Giants (heading north) is the Redwood Sky Walk. It's a bit touristy, especially on weekends, but a unique experience nonetheless. The short canopy walk is suspended 100 ft above the forest floor, allowing you to experience the redwoods from a bird's eye view, which is pretty cool. 

 

8. Crescent Beach Overlook

Crescent Beach
Views from the Crescent Beach Overlook platform

Just 3 miles south of Crescent City, Crescent Beach Overlook is one of the best cliffside overlooks in Redwood National Park, offering unobstructed views of the Pacific coastline. It's easy to access as you can drive right up to the wooden viewing deck, and if you're looking for a hike, several nearby trails lead down to the beach.

 

9. Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor

Secret Beach in Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
Secret Beach
Natural Bridges in Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
Natural Bridges

Just 40 minutes north of Crescent City, just over the Oregon border, is Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, a rugged, dramatic, and incredibly stunning section of coastline. Two of my favorite spots in Samual H. Boardman Scenic Corridor are Natural Bridges (which has an overlook where you can enjoy the views) and Secret Beach, accessible via a short hike that takes you down to the beach.

 

I hope you enjoyed my guide on some of the best things to do in Redwood National Park!  As always, help keep the outdoors beautiful by Leaving No Trace


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Hi, I'm Gabriella, an outdoor photographer living in Lake Tahoe, California. 
 
I'm originally from New York and moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to try out living somewhere new and different.  I found myself loving the adventurous lifestyle and dramatic scenery on the west side of the country.  Eventually, I moved to Lake Tahoe in 2019 after falling in love with its natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle. 
 
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