Redwood National and State Parks

A cool experience with 6 to 10 mile hikes
Trek into the wilderness and sleep in the backcountry
Ideal for first-timers

Trekking through majestic groves in Redwood National and State Parks

Trekking through majestic groves in Redwood National and State Parks

Trekking through majestic groves in Redwood National and State Parks

Trekking through majestic groves in Redwood National and State Parks

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Last updated
August 8, 2023

Trip · 3-day backpacking trip

For · Friends and first-time backpackers

Vibe · Moderate and fun

Distance  · 16 miles round trip and 692 feet of elevation gain

Permits · Yes, apply online for a Redwood Creek Gravel Bar permit and a Tall Trees Day Use Permit (during the summer)

Drive · 6.5 hours from SF

Ideal dates · June to September

Pets · Welcome at certain campgrounds, but not on trails

Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) preserves some of the most majestic forests on Earth. It's home to ancient coast redwoods which can grow up to 360+ feet tall (imagine a 35-story skyscraper!) and live up to 2,500 years old. These towering beauties are why Redwood National Park is designated as a UN World Heritage Site. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park are also part of the joint national-state park partnership. Thank the Save the Redwoods League; they're a big reason why we have 133,000 acres of redwood groves to camp and frolic in today.

Directions to Trailhead

Official Park Website

Official Redwood Creek Camping Guide

Main image credit: N/A

Stuff to know

  • Reserve a free backcountry permit up to a month or at least 48 hours before your trip. Each permit covers up to 8 campers.
  • Black bears have been spotted by the creek so hang a bear-proof Ursack or use a bear canister to store your food overnight.
  • Backcountry campfires are allowed in RNSP. Make a fire ring to contain the flames and fully extinguish your campfire before you sleep.
  • Redwood NP has no park entrance fees! Woot, woot.
  • Park rangers recommend parking at Tall Trees Trailhead due to reports of car break-ins. Try to bring your valuables with you on the hike or leave them at home.
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Itinerary

Day One

 Tall Trees Grove Trail in Redwood National and State Parks
Tall Trees Grove Trail

Leave SF by 8 AM and swing by Cafe Phoenix for lunch

  • Diners love their fresh ingredients and healthy brunch menu
  • Located at 1360 G Street in Arcata
  • Open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9 AM to 3 PM
  • ​Last pit stop · Chevron - 101 Main Street in Trinidad

Arrive at Tall Trees Grove Trailhead

  • You'll need a code to unlock the gate that accesses the trailhead so apply online for your backcountry permit. Redwood Creek Gravel Bar is the only area in Redwood NP where you can freely disperse camp.
  • Once you've parked, hide or remove any valuable belongings from your car
  • Hike 2.5 miles to reach the first seasonal footbridge, which is usually set up by early June through September. If you go during winter months, get ready for some creek crossings!
  • Once you're at least 0.25 miles from Tall Trees Grove, you can camp anywhere you'd like. Stay at least 1.5 miles from Redwood Creek Trailhead as well.

Set up camp along Redwood Creek

  • Find a soft, gravelly spot along the creek.
  • Create a fire ring near your campsite and settle in for the evening

Cook up dinner and roast s'mores

  • YAY! Soak up the stars overhead and chow on some s'mores
  • Fully extinguish your campfire before you head to bed and store all of your food and scented items in a bear canister. Bears love to visit the creek at night too!

Car to camp - 3 to 4 miles with 276 feet of elevation gain - 2 to 3 hours

The CA Department of Parks and Recreation partnered with the National Park Service in 1994 to preserve RNSP: the four-park ecosystem we have today

Day Two

Redwood Creek
Redwood Creek

Make brekkie, pack a lunch, and day hike along Redwood Creek

  • Fill up on water, bring your water filter, snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, swimsuit, sun hat, towel, bug spray, down jacket, a book, and lunch!
  • Leave any food and scented items in the bear canister back at camp
  • It's an easy 7.3 mile round-trip hike, with 417 feet of elevation gain, to reach the second seasonal footbridge, but honestly, hike as far as you'd like
  • Find a cool mid-way spot for lunch and chill for the rest of the afternoon

Return to camp and prep dinner

  • Clean up from the day's hike

Make dinner, dessert, and hang around the campfire

  • Savor your last night at Redwood National Park and spend the rest of the night stargazing around the campfire. More s'mores, plz.

Day hike - 7.3 miles with 417 feet of elevation gain - 3 to 4 hours

Thousands of years ago, the Tolowa, Yurok, Chilula, Wiyot, and Karok tribes lived in the North Coast region. The Yurok had around 55 villages and 2500+ inhabitants at one point

Day Three

Redwood Creek
Redwood Creek

Pack up and hike back to Tall Trees Grove Trailhead

  • Depending on where you decided to camp, head south along Redwood Creek to return to the first seasonal footbridge, which is about 2.5 miles from the trailhead parking lot

Return to your car and grab lunch at Beachcomber Cafe

  • Diners love their local, organic ingredients and fresh-baked goods!
  • Located at 363 Trinity Street in Trinidad (next to the beach!)
  • Open Fridays to Mondays from 8 AM to 2 PM

Head home!

Camp to camp - 3 to 4 miles - 2 to 3 hours

When logging began in the 1850s, there were over 2 million acres of redwood forests, but by the 1960s, nearly 90% of all original redwoods were gone
June 1, 2024

Bewilder at LAist Super-Fun Saturday

Make wildflower seed bombs with Bezzi the Yeti at LAist's Super Fun Saturday

Event in 2 days

Bewilder Basecamp: Spooky Wonders

Join Bezzi the Yeti on her first spooky camping adventure!

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$399.95

NEMO 4-person Aurora Highrise

This colorful tent has plenty of standing room, is easy to set up, and pack out!

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$249.95

NEMO Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair

Lean back, and we mean all the way back, in this comfy camp chair. You'll never want to sit up.

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$159.95

NEMO Moonlander Camp Table

We can confirm that these camp tables withstand hot bevvies and rock collections.

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Food For The Sole Blueberry Banana Crunch

Gluten Free • Vegan

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Packit Gourmet Diner Deluxe Eggs with Sausage

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Campfire cinnamon roll ups

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Brookside Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries

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Angie's Boom Chicka Pop

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Santa Cruz Organic Apple Sauce

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Summer rolls with almond butter satay

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Dan dan noodles

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Asian chicken lettuce wraps

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Pho ramen

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Curry ramen

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Peanut butter cheesecake overnight oats

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