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The Best Hikes in Redwood National Park – Itinerary & Guide

Redwood National Park is home to some of the tallest trees in the world, as well as some of the most amazing beaches on the coast of California! Wandering through the old-growth forests is an experience you’ll never forget, so this guide features some of the best hikes in Redwood National Park, along with sample itineraries and a guide for everything you need to know before you go.

We’ll talk about the best hikes in Redwood National Park, entrance fees, where to stay, the best time to go, and more!

Head’s up: some of these links are affiliate links, so I get a commission if you make a purchase (at no cost to you). But that’s great, because I was going to share anyway, and this helps me keep making free guides for you!

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About Redwood National & State Parks

First, a lot of people get confused about whether Redwood is a national or state park – the official name of this region is “Redwood National and State Park,” because it’s actually made up of three state parks and one national park, and is jointly managed by the national park service and the state of California. The parks that make up Redwood are Jedediah Smith State Park, Del Norte Coast State Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, and Redwood National Park.

Me on the Damnation Creek Trail, which is one of the best hikes in Redwood National Park!

Planning a trip to the redwoods

When you’re planning a trip to the Redwoods, whether it’s a pit stop on a road trip along the California Coast, the next stop after you’ve seen the Oregon Coast, or just a little getaway to go hiking in the redwood forest, my favorite tool for trip planning is The Dyrt. With the free app, you can find campsites and places to stay – and with The Dyrt Pro, you can also create a road trip route and find must see spots in Redwood National Park!

A view of the beach at the end of one of the best hikes in Redwood National Park.

How to Get to Redwoods National Park

Before you check out the best hikes in Redwood National Park, you’ll need to get there!

The park is pretty remote, and far away from major cities and big airports. The nearest major international airports are in San Francisco (6 hour drive to Redwood National Park), Sacramento (5.5 hour drive), and Portland (5.5 hour drive). But, there is a medium-sized airport in Medford, Oregon which is a two hour drive away! You may also be able to find connecting flights to the small airports in Crescent City or McKinleyville. If you’re flying, use Expedia to find the best deals on flights!

I also super recommend signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights – they send you amazing deals, so you can find cheap flights. The free account is great and totally worth the few minutes it takes to sign up, and I do recommend the premium account too!

Because of it’s remote location, the best way to get to Redwood National Park is a road trip. If you fly to get closer to the redwoods, you can rent a car through Discover Cars or Rental Cars.

But, a great alternative to a rental car is a tiny home on wheels! With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option for vans is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb for campers – you can rent a van, RV, or trailer from a person in the area!

My camper van driving on Howland Hill Road to one of the hikes in Redwood National Park.

Getting Around Redwood National Park

You’ll definitely need a car to get around Redwood National Park. You can rent a car at the airport, or use Escape Campervans or Outdoorsy to book a van – this way you have a car and a home on wheels! Highway 101 – the Redwood Highway – connects the parks together, and all the best hikes in Redwood National Park are close to this scenic route.

Me walking on the Boyscout Tree hike in Redwood National Park.

What is The Best Time to Hike in Redwood National Park?

The climate of Northern California isn’t like what you’d expect in Southern California – there aren’t any palm trees, and it’s definitely not sunny year round! The weather gets moody in Redwoods, so here’s what you need to know about the best time to hike in Redwood National Park.

Hiking in Redwood National Park in Winter

Because it’s close to the coast, Redwood National Park doesn’t get too cold in the winter! During the day, temperatures are usually in the low 50s, sometimes dipping into the 40s, and snow is really rare. However, it is super rainy this time of year! Winter can be a nice time for hiking in Redwood National Park as long as you’re prepared with layers and waterproof gear, and you won’t see very many people around.

Hiking in Redwood National Park in the spring

Spring is one of my favorite times for hiking in the redwoods. It gets a little warmer, but it’s still pretty rainy! The trails will still be muddy, so be prepared with waterproof hiking boots, and the weather is a little unpredictable so even if the forecast predicts sunshine, prepare for rain. This is a great time to avoid the crowds of summer, especially in late spring when the weather is best!

Hiking in Redwood National Park in the summer

Summer is definitely the most popular time to visit Redwood National Park, because it’s sunny and warm! While this is definitely a great time for hiking, you will run into more crowds. For the more forested hikes, the weather is pretty ideal – because the redwood trees provide shade and protection from the heat. But, if you do one of the hikes that goes along the coast, you’ll be more exposed. I prefer spring or fall for hiking, but summer is summer weather is pretty idyllic!

Hiking in Redwood National Park in the fall

Along with spring, I really love hiking in the fall. The weather is still warm, but there are fewer people around. It’s also a tiny bit cooler, so the more exposed beach hikes aren’t as toasty. It gets pretty rainy starting in October, so be prepared for mud and wet conditions.

Redwood national park entrance fee

Good news – Redwood National Park is free to visit! There aren’t any entrance fees for most of the hikes, but, some of the campgrounds do have a day use fee, and the drive to Gold Bluff Beach and Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek State Park also requires a pass.

If you visit national parks often, I definitely recommend getting an America the Beautiful Pass. The annual pass is $80, and will get you into any national park in the country for an entire year, and is accepted at any fee areas in the redwoods!

Things to Bring & What to Wear for Hiking in The Redwoods

When you’re hiking, it’s important to be prepared! The rainy climate in Redwoods National Park means you need to be ready for mud and wet conditions.

A bridge along a hike in Redwood National Park.

Waterproof Hiking Shoes

After it rains, the trails in Redwood National Park get really muddy! So waterproof shoes are a must if you’re planning on hiking. Even if you aren’t hiking, I recommend waterproof shoes for any scenic stops.

My favorite hiking boots are my Danner boots – they’re cute, comfortable, and waterproof! I also love hiking in my Chacos, but I would only recommend sandals in the summer – any other time of year is just too muddy! Rain boots are another great option for muddy conditions, and are definitely the easiest to clean.

Bonus Tip: A lot of these links are for my favorite place to buy outdoor gear – Backcountry. If you install the free Lolli extension on your browser, you can earn free Bitcoin when you shop online at certain retailers, including Backcountry.  Download Lolli here!

Rain Jacket or Windbreaker

The Northern California coast is known for moody weather. It rains often, but even if rain isn’t in the forecast, I recommend bringing a windbreaker any time you’re going to be by the water. Even in the summer, the ocean “breeze” is more like a strong wind, and even on a sunny day you’ll get chilly fast!

The Marmot Minimalist Jacket is a great lightweight, waterproof option for hiking in the rain. For windbreakers, the RVCA Meyer Packable Anorack Jacket is cute, and folds up nice and small! For added warmth and layering, add a a Patagonia fleece.

Backpack

You need somewhere to put your snacks! And your hiking gear, of course.

When I’m bringing my camera gear, my favorite backpack is the Alex Strohl Mountain Light. It’s definitely the best camera bag out there for hiking with photo gear. If you don’t need storage for camera stuff, I recommend an Osprey Hikelite. If you aren’t planning any intense or long hikes, I love my Topo Designs Y-Pack for carrying everyday essentials!

Hydration!

Especially when you’re hiking or exploring outdoors, it’s important to stay hydrated! Single use water bottles are, of course, terrible for the environment, so avoid that and bring a reusable one!

For hiking, the CamelBak water reservoirs are convenient and easy – they can fit in your hiking backpack for water on the go. Nalgene water bottles are great for day to day, and if you want an insulated water bottle to keep your water cold and refreshing, Hydro Flasks are the best!

The Best Hikes in Redwoods National Park

Simpson-Reed Trail

Distance: 0.9 mile loop
Elevation Gain: 52 feet

This is a nice, easy walk through the redwood trees! It’s great for anyone who wants a quick trail.

Stout Memorial Grove

Distance: 0.7 mile loop
Elevation Gain:
32 feet

Of the short loop trails, this one was my favorite! It was so quiet and magical.

Grove of Titans

Distance: 1.3 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
121 feet

This one is one of the best hikes in the redwoods if you want something a little more challenging, but not too hard. The trail has some elevation gain, and ends in a gorgeous platformed walk around the groves.

Boyscout Tree Trail

Distance: 7.1 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
938 feet

This is a longer trail, but my favorite part was the first two miles, so you can definitely shorten it! If you go the entire way, there’s a little waterfall at the end of the trail.

Enderts Beach Trail

Distance: 1.3 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
173 feet

This hike is a little different from the forested trails. It’s a hike along the coast, so it’s more exposed. The hike takes you out to a stunning rocky beach, with amazing views of the ocean.

Damnation Creek Trail

Distance: 3.4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:
1,190 feet

The Damnation Creek Trail is my favorite hike in the redwoods! It’s really steep and muddy, but so worth it. You’ll walk through quiet redwood forest, and end up at a secluded beach.

Big Tree Circle Trail

Distance: 0.3 mile loop
Elevation Gain:
19 feet

This is a really easy loop that will take you to the “Big Tree,” which is marked with a sign and a platform in front of it. There are lots of other big trees along the loop, which I found to be prettier! But, this is a nice easy loop if you want a quick walk or to stretch your legs.

The Big Tree on a hike in Redwood National park.

Prairie Creek Trail and Foothill Trail Loop

Distance: 2.4 mile loop
Elevation Gain:
95 feet

This loop takes you past the Big Tree Circle Trail! It’s a nice, easy walk through the forest, and under a few fallen trees, but the length is perfect, giving you some more time on the quiet hike.

A fallen redwood tree along the Prairie Creek hike in Redwood National Park.

Redwoods National Park Hiking Trails Map

This Redwood National Park hiking trails map will show you all of the best hikes I mentioned here!

The green hiker icons are the easy, nearly flat trails. Brown icons represent the moderate trails – a little longer, with some elevation gain, while orange is for hard hikes! Remember, difficulty is subjective, so make sure to do your research and prepare.

This map also includes scenic spots to stop (blue binoculars), and some places to stay (black houses).

Redwood National Park Itineraries

When you’re planning a trip to the redwoods, it can be hard to figure out what to do! Here are some sample itineraries to get you inspired.

How many days do you need in redwood National Park?

The first thing to decide is how many days you need in Redwood National Park! The answer really depends on you, and what you want to do. One day is enough to see some highlights if you’re just passing through on a road trip, but if you want to do some hikes I recommend at least two days, and up to five to be able to take it slow and really enjoy the park!

My camper van on Howland Hill Road, on the way to one of the hikes in Redwood National Park.

Redwood National Park 1 day Itinerary

If you only have one day in Redwood National Park, I recommend the Damnation Creek Trail – this is my personal favorite hike in the redwoods, with a walk through the woods and an amazing beach at the end! But, if you want to see more of the park in your one day here, do some of the shorter hikes instead.

This Redwood National Park 1 day itinerary goes from north to south, but you can do it backwards!

  • Start the day in Crescent City, get breakfast or stock up on snacks
  • Hike the easy Stout Memorial Grove Trail (0.7 miles)
  • Continue on the scenic drive and hike the Grove of Titans (1.3 miles)
  • Stop at the Demartin Beach Picnic Area for lunch, and for amazing views
  • Hike the Big Tree Circle Trail (0.3 miles), or the longer Foothills Loop (2.4 miles) if you’re up for more hiking!
  • Have dinner in Orick and end the night at the Stone Lagoon Cabin
A view of the Stout Memorial Grove loop hike in Redwood National Park.

Redwood National Park 2 day Itinerary

With two days, you have more time to explore!

Here’s a Redwood National Park 2 day itinerary, from north to south.

Day 1:

  • Start the day in Crescent City, get breakfast or stock up on snacks
  • Hike the easy Stout Memorial Grove Trail (0.7 miles)
  • Continue on the scenic drive and hike the Boyscout Tree Trail (7.1 miles, or hike part of it)
  • Stay at a tiny cabin in the forest

Day 2:

  • After breakfast, hike the Damnation Creek Trail (3.4 miles)
  • Stop at the Demartin Beach Picnic Area for lunch and amazing views
  • Hike the Big Tree Circle Trail (0.3 miles), or the longer Foothills Loop (2.4 miles) if you’re up for more hiking!
  • Have dinner in Orick and end the night at the Stone Lagoon Cabin

Redwood National Park 5 day Itinerary

If you prefer to travel slowly, or if you want to see all the best hikes in Redwood National Park, 5 days is a great amount of time to spend exploring!

Here’s a Redwood National Park 5 day itinerary, from north to south.

Day 1:

  • Start the day in Crescent City, get breakfast or stock up on snacks
  • Hike the easy Simpson-Reed trail (0.9 miles)
  • Hike the Stout Memorial Grove Trail (0.7 miles)
  • Continue on the scenic drive and hike the Grove of Titans (1.3 miles)
  • Stay at a tiny cabin in the forest

Day 2:

  • Hike the Boyscout Tree Trail (7.1 miles)
  • Go to Demartin Beach for sunset
  • Stay at a beachfront cottage

Day 3:

  • Hike the Enderts Beach Trail (1.3 miles)
  • Have a picnic at the trailhead
  • Stay at a beachfront cottage

Day 4:

  • Hike the Damnation Creek Trail (3.4)
  • Stop at Trees of Mystery and take a photo with the blue ox
  • Relax at Gold Bluff Beach and stay at the campground

Day 5:

  • Hike the Prairie Creek and Foothills Loop (2.4 miles)
  • Have dinner in Orick and end the night at the Stone Lagoon Cabin
Me standing on the Prairie Creek hike in Redwood National Park.

Where to Stay Near Redwood National Park

camping near redwood national park

For camping near Redwood National Park, I recommend using The Dyrt – it’s the best way to find campsites. You can use the free version to find campsites, but with The Dyrt Pro you’ll also be able to see the boundaries of national forest land all around the national park. On national forest land, you can camp anywhere for free! You can try The Dyrt before you commit, and click here for a free trial.

There are plenty of options for free camping near Redwood National Park – so check out this guide to learn how to find free campsites!

hotels near redwood national park

Hotels are always an easy, convenient option, and there are plenty of hotels near Redwood National Park! Crescent City and Klamath will have the most options.

Check out the Holiday Inn Express in Klamath, the Lighthouse Inn with views of the ocean, and the Front Street Inn for a cozy local hotel.

Cabins, Glamping, & Yurts

For a unique place to stay during your trip, check out Hipcamp! It’s like Airbnb for campsites – and you can find yurts, cabins (like this cabin near the Redwoods), glamping sites, and more. 

You can even get $10 off your first booking here!

A Camper van

With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb – you can rent vans, RVs, and trailers from people who live nearby!

More To explore Near Redwood National and State Parks

After you’ve done some of these best hikes in Redwood National Park, there’s so much more to see nearby!

You can continue south on a road trip of the California Coast to see more amazing beaches! The remote Lost Coast is a must see if you want to explore some undeveloped coastline.

If you’re heading north to the Oregon Coast, Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is close to the border of California, and some of the best hikes include the trail to Secret Beach and the iconic Natural Bridges!

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A Pinterest graphic that says "The best hikes in Redwood National Park."
A Pinterest graphic that says "The best hikes in Redwood National Park."
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