How to Visit the California Redwoods

How to Visit the California Redwoods
California's redwood trees are some of the natural world's most magnificent specimens. Vast redwood forests once covered the West Coast; now their presence has been reduced to northern California and southern Oregon, close enough to the Pacific for the giants to thrive. The main considerations when planning a visit to the redwoods are: whether you want to camp or seek accommodations in a local town, which areas of the forests you want to explore and what provisions to bring with you.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:
  • Computer with Internet access Telephone Car (optional) Waterproof jacket Waterproof hiking boots Bear-proof containers (for food) Tent Sleeping bag Map or detailed guidebook
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Telephone
  • Car (optional)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Bear-proof containers (for food)
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Map or detailed guidebook
Step 1
Decide if your visit to the redwoods will be a day trip or overnight trip. For an overnight stay, decide whether you want to camp in the parks or stay in a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast at one of the towns in the area, like Crescent City or Orick.
Step 2
Make reservations in advance if you want to camp in Redwoods National and State Parks. To do this, call (800) 444-PARK or visit You have to pay a fee to stay at some of the campsites.
Step 3
Pack a waterproof jacket, warm socks, sturdy waterproof hiking boots and a few warm layers of clothing no matter the time of year. Rain and mist are likely even during summer months. Food should be stored in bear-proof canisters. Don't forget your camera, guidebook and maps.


Step 1
Drive into the park on on U.S. Highway 101 from the north and south or on U.S. Highway 199 from the northeast. For public transportation schedules and information, call (707) 464-9314 or visit
Step 2
Pay the fees required to enter or camp in Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast and Prairie Creek Redwoods Parks. Entry to Redwood National Park is free. Stop at a visitor center or entrance station to purchase camping permits and to inquire about up-to-date trail conditions. Purchase an official map if you do not already have one.
Step 3
Explore the forests by hiking along some of the 200 miles of trails; drive to some of the prime sightseeing spots like the Klamath River Overlook, where you can sometimes see gray whales swimming in the Pacific during their annual migration. Don't miss the Avenue of the Giants, Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway or Fern Canyon.
Step 4
Practice "leave no trace" outdoor ethics while in Redwood National and State Parks. Keep detergents, cosmetics and chemicals away from natural water sources, never take any natural souvenirs, and pack out your trash.

Tips & Warnings

Do a little research when choosing campsites. Consider the location, the ease of access to trailheads and the areas you want to explore, amenities and provisions at the site, and the surrounding scenery.
Be aware of wild bears: Store all food and cosmetics in bear-proof lockers at campgrounds, use only bear-proof trash cans, and keep your camp clean to discourage bears from visiting you.

Article Written By J.C. Lewis

J.C. Lewis is the editor and co-owner of a weekly newspaper, as well as a staffer and regular contributor to a group of three newspapers in Los Angeles, Calif. Her writing has appeared on, and various other websites. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Science in politics from the University of Bristol, England.

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