Spanning more than 130,000 acres in coastal Northern California is one of the most beautiful parks in the world, Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP). Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the destination to observe spectacular wildlife, walk beneath majestic trees, engage in outdoor activities and learn about environmental preservation efforts. With moderate, 40 to 60 F degree temperatures, precipitation year-round and thick, summer fog, hiking in the forest can be a magical encounter with nature.
Redwood trees have been around almost 240 million years, known to be one of the world's oldest trees. They once covered the landscapes of Europe, Asia, Australia and the North American continent. Over time, the redwood tree species dwindled down to only three remaining kinds: Coast, Giant Sequoia and Dawn redwoods. RNSP is home to two of these magnificent tress, the Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia. RNSP is one of the few places in the world that protects "old growth redwoods," trees that can live as old as 2,000 years and grow to exceed 300 feet high. Many redwood trees in RNSP are 500- to 700-years-old. Since the early 1800s, excessive logging of redwood and giant sequoia trees has threatened to eliminate this tree species altogether. Therefore, many conservation efforts promote redwood education and preservation. All of the trees in RNSP are protected from logging.
RNSP is home to magnificent, diverse and protected wildlife species in its prairies, coastline, redwood forests and estuaries. As a national park featuring unique ecosystems, visitors can hope to observe a bald eagle, black bear, elk, pelican, osprey, crab, chipmunk, rabbit, raccoon and sea lion. During the winter months, park visitors can enjoy a fun-filled afternoon gray whale-watching from Klamath River Overlook. RNSP also promotes the conservation of many wildlife species that are state and federally threatened and endangered. One of these species is the marbled murrelet, a quick-footed seabird that can also fly 60 miles per hour. During lazy afternoons, it feeds on fish in the Pacific Ocean and nests high up in redwood trees in the national park.
National Park Activities
There are plenty of outdoor activities to do in the RNSP. Four distinct campgrounds are located in the park grounds, offering visitors a unique forest or coastal experience. Looking for a physical challenge? Consider mountain biking on old logging routes, beneath giant redwoods and along the ocean waters (and be sure to follow all bicycling laws as set by the park). Hike on over 200 miles of maintained, diverse trails to observe the beauty of nature. With hiking trails of variable elevation and difficulty, there is a trail appropriate for the skill of every visitor. Follow trail etiquette and limit the human impact on the environment. Ranger-guided nature walks educate the community about the delicate redwood forest ecosystem. Catch-and-release fishing in RNSP is a popular activity. You could also experience the beauty of the Smith or Klamath Rivers, noted for their salmon and steelhead stocked waters. Other great park adventures? Enjoy kayaking, horseback riding and Native American dance presentations while on the park grounds.