Planning a Trip to the Redwood Forest

Planning a Trip to the Redwood Forest
Heading for the beautiful coast redwood forests of northern California? Your best bet is the Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) system, a block of protected redwood groves in northern California jointly administered by the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Coast redwoods grow along the fog belt from the Big Sur area to extreme southwestern Oregon. Read on for a few general pointers to steer your itinerary planning.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Decide what part of the coast redwood forest you want to visit. The three California state parks (Prairie Creek, Jedediah Smith and Del Norte Coast Redwood) and Redwood National Park itself preserve 45 percent of the remaining old-growth coast redwood forest in the world.
Step 2
Choose accommodations that appeal to everyone in your party if you're planning to stay overnight. Campers can pick from four established campgrounds in the RNSP, as well as additional primitive camping opportunities in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Redwood National Park. The park system also offers the Redwood Hostel off Highway 101, open from March through October and providing ready access to the California Coastal Trail. Reservations are accepted. You can also pursue lodging in the communities of redwood country, like Crescent City, California.
Step 3
Consider what you want to do in one of the world's most magnificent forests. The five visitor centers of the RNSP are great places to plan your activities, and often host guided walks, evening programs and other interpretive events. To simply soak up the massive trees themselves, take an auto tour through the park system or pull on your hiking boots for even deeper immersion.
Step 4
Wildlife-watchers can seek out Roosevelt elk, commonly seen in the meadows of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, or hit up the rugged Pacific coast during gray whale migration to look for spouts.
Step 5
History and culture buffs have plenty to inspire them as well. The RNSP contain many vintage structures and also play host to Tolowa and Yurok tribal dance demonstrations in the summer.

Article Written By Ethan Schowalter-Hay

Ethan Schowalter-Hay is a writer and naturalist living in Oregon. He has written for the "Observer," the Bureau of Land Management and various online publishers. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and a graduate certificate in geographic information systems from the University of Wisconsin.

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