World's tallest living treemonarch of the North Coastliving link to the Age of Dinosaurs. Redwoods grow from seeds the size of a tomato seed yet can weigh 500 tons and stand taller than the Statue of Liberty. Its foot-thick bark makes the tree all but impervious to fire and insects. Archibald Menzies first noted the coast redwood for western science in 1794. Its scientific name. Sequoia sempervirens (ever living), probably honors Cherokee leader Sequoyah. In 1918 paleontologists wanting to save this living link to our evolutionary past campaigned nationally to protect the trees. Three California redwoods state parks resulted: Prairie Creek (1923), Del Norte (1925), and Jedediah Smith (1929). To preserve the trees' natural Coast Range setting and associated plants and animals. Redwood National Park was created in 1968 and expanded in 1978. The national park boundary encircled the three state parks to better protect superlative ancient redwood forests. In 1994 the National Park Service and California Department of Parks and Recreation began managing the parklands cooperatively, aiming to manage the parks the same. That's why you see rangers in state and national park uniforms anywhere in the parks, working for the same mission. The parks' designation as a World Heritage Site and part of the California Coast Ranges Biosphere Reserve reflects their worldwide recognition as irreplaceable treasures. Here, the diversity of life is protected for you and for future generations. Help us safeguard this special place by treating it with care and respect.
From Exploration to Preservation
In 1800 redwood forests probably covered two million acres. As mid-1800s gold fever subsided here, redwood fever replaced it. Seeming endless at first, the trees soon fell to determined logging. The State of California preserved some key groves in the 1920s. Congress created Redwood National Park in 1968 to protect the world's tallest trees and Redwood Creek's salmon fishery.
The 1978 park expansion provided a buffer zone between the park and logging upstream on private lands and a watershed restoration program to remove logging roads and rehabilitate thousands of acres of cut-over land. Redwood National and State Parks protect nearly 40,000 acres of ancient forest, almost half of all that remain.
Treasures of Nature and Culture
From sea level to 3,200 feet in elevation in the Coast Range, a mild, moist climate assures the parks an abundant diversity of wildlife. Elusive to visitors, many mammals, birds, amphibians, and insects live in the mature redwood forest. They depend on it for food and for shelter. Prairies form natural islands of grasslands, where wildlife abounds.
Indians of the Redwood Coast
American Indians have lived along the redwood coast for thousands of years. Belonging to several different groups, they speak different languages, despite living in a relatively small area. Before non-Indian people arrived in the 1850s, Indian villages, with their split-plank structures, dotted the coast and lined major rivers.
Travel was by redwood dugout canoes on waterways and by foot on an elaborate trail system. Foods varied with the seasons. They fished ocean and rivers, hunted land and marine mammals, and gathered nuts, seeds, and berries. American Indians today live on and off reservation lands and represent five to 10 percent of the local population. Groups are represented by sovereign governments and many traditions continue.
Some members still speak the languages. Traditional ceremonies are held, hunting and fishing are still important, and the traditional arts and crafts are kept alive.
Life Along the Seacoast
Even apart from the Coast Range and its lofty forests, the coastline here would justify national or state park status. Rugged and largely unaltered by humans, the coastline features stretches of steep and rocky cliffs broken by rolling slopes. Generally rocky, its tidal zone can be tough to traverse. Gold Bluffs Beach is an exception, with its seven-mile stretch of dunes and sandy beach. On the coastline you may discover a rich mix of forms of life that live in the distinct habitats illustrated below.
Many of the parks' animal species thrive along the coast. Brown pelicans are summer visitors. Cormorants take to lagoon or river and shore waters. Willets and sanderlings work the beach. Offshore may be Pacific gray whales in migration, seals, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises, and orca whales. In the intertidal areas the cycle of rising and falling tides has produced tightly zoned layers of life. To help protect these animals, the national park boundary extends one-quarter mile offshore.
Sea lions feed beyond the surf and haul out on shore or on sea stacks. Harbor seals swim in the surf and haul out in sheltered coves. Sea birds nest offshore on rocks.
The California Current flows south. It works with offshore winds to draw nutrients up from deep waters, providing food for many coastal creatures. Moisture-laden air off the California Current condenses as low clouds over cold water near shore.
A splash zone above high tide is home for periwinkle snails and beach hoppers that can withstand episodic wetting and wave shock. Splash zone species are transitional but more attuned to life on land than in the sea. Mussels cling to rocks in the high-tide zone, covered by water only at high tide. Shells let them tolerate temporary exposure to air and direct sunlight.
Seaweeds provide oxygen, food, and shelter for intertidal zone residents. Some kelp, anchored in deep water, with built-in floats, are tall as redwood trees.
Tidepools shelter life in rocky beach outcroppings. Tidepool dwellers cope with great changes in water temperature, salinity, and oxygen content. Here are barnacles, limpets, nudibranchs, ochre sea stars, sea urchins, and erect sea palms anchored by rootlike hold-fasts.
From Ocean to Forest
Most murrelets left in California nest in Redwood National and State Parks, but predators like ravens, jays, and crows are eating murrelet eggs and chicks. While circling the forest looking for food scraps at campgrounds, they find the murrelet's nest instead. Please help protect this rare birdkeep a clean campsite and avoid feeding any wildlife.
The Role of Fog
Fog brings the redwood forests relief from the dry summer, too. It reduces the loss of water through leaf surfaces. Fog collects on trees and then its precious moisture drops to the forest floor. Fog is not essential to redwoods, but its absence would reduce their range.
Exploring the Redwood Coast
Redwood National and State Parks represent a cooperative management effort of the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. This includes Redwood National Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Together these parks are a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve that protect resources cherished by citizens of many nations. Information in this brochure can help you decide what to see and do during the time you have to visit the parks. Services and facilities are also listed or described.
Emergencies call 911
Accessibility We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all; call or check our website.
Hiouchi Visitor Center
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Howland Hill Road, an alternate route to Crescent City, is an unpaved, narrow, scenic drive through the redwood forest. It provides entry to Stout Grove, hiking trails, a horseback riding trail, and the Howland Hill Outdoor School. Motor homes and trailers are not advised on this road. Walker Road, an unpaved scenic road through redwood forest, provides entry to Smith River and short hiking trails.
Crescent City Area
Enderts Beach Road
Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
False Klamath Cove
Prairie Creek Area
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Davison Road provides entry to the Elk Meadow Day Use Area and Gold Bluffs Beach. Elk Meadow Day Use Area has picnicking, mountain biking, and hiking, including the 2.5-mile loop (1.5 hours) Trillium Falls Trail. Beyond Elk Meadow, Davison Road is narrow and unpaved. Trailers and trailer-vehicle combinations longer than 24 feet or wider than 8 feet are prohibited. Gold Bluffs Beach offers wildlife viewing, hiking, picnicking, camping, and entry to the beach and Fern Canyon. Watch out for elk herds. Danger: Elk are wild and unpredictable. Do not approach them on foot.
Lost Man Creek
Bald Hills Road
Walk the Lady Bird Johnson Grove self-guiding loop trail (1.5 miles, one hour), reached from Bald Hills Road. It threads through mature forest to the grove and site at which Lady Bird Johnson dedicated the national park in 1968.
A limited number of permits for private vehicles are issued on a first-come, first-served basis to reach the trailhead for the Tall Trees Grove. The free permits are available at Kuchel Visitor Center and Crescent City Information Center. Allow four hours round-trip from US 101 for driving to the trailhead and then hiking down to the grove (3.4 miles total: 1.3 miles down; an 0.8-mile loop at the bottom; 1.3 miles back up). The trail is steep, descending 726 feet into the grove where some of the world's tallest trees grow.
Redwood Creek Trail
Kuchel Visitor Center
Camping Facilities Developed campgrounds in Jedediah Smith Redwoods and Del Norte Coast Redwoods state parks have hot showers, restrooms, and disposal stations. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park campgrounds provide heated showers and restrooms, but no disposal stations. Trailers up to 24 feet long and motor homes up to 27 feet are allowed, except at Gold Bluffs Beach where trailers are prohibited and motor homes up to 24 feet long are allowed. There are no trailer hookups in the parks. There are several primitive backcountry campgrounds for backpackers; some can also accommodate bicyclists, horses, and/or pack animals.
Reservations are usually necessary in summer. The nearest group campgrounds are at Jedediah Smith Redwoods and Patrick's Point state parks. Other public campgrounds are located in Six Rivers National Forest: Grassy Flat, Big Flat, and Patrick Creek are closed in winter. Reservations can be made at some national forest campgrounds.
Outdoor Education Outdoor education is available at two sites in the parks. Howland Hill Outdoor School and Wolf Creek Education Center are available for educational programming and conferences on a reservation system only.
Bike Trails Several trails are designated for bicycle use. Check at any information center. Pick up the bicycle handout. Look closely at trailhead signage.
Safety and Management Tips On the beach be aware of tidal fluctuations. Swimming is hazardous because of cold water and strong rip currents. • Be cautious while climbing or walking near edges of high, rocky bluffs. • Watch for poison oak and deer ticks (which carry Lyme disease), particularly in coastal areas. • Roosevelt elk are wild and unpredictabledo not approach them on foot. • Do not feed bears or wild animals. Follow park regulations regarding bears and food storage; all food and scented personal care items should be secured and hidden from view in vehicles, placed in bear-proof lockers, or hung from trees. Garbage should be properly disposed of in bear-proof garbage cans. • Mountain lions may also be found in the parks. Check at park information centers for brochures and updates on mountain lion behavior. • Water from natural sources must be treated before drinking. If you are not familiar with proper water treatment techniques, ask a ranger for help.
Road Conditions Watch for trucks and other heavy vehicles. Use turnouts to let faster traffic pass. Drive cautiously in fog. Do not take trailers or motor homes on roads other than main highways without first finding out whether those roads can handle them.
Park Regulations Redwood National and State Parks are managed under special regulations to protect park resources and you. • All plants and animals are protected; mushroom gathering is prohibited. You may gather fruits and berries for your personal consumption. • California fishing licenses are required for freshwater and ocean fishing. California Department of Fish and Game fishing regulations apply to all waters within the parks. • Tidepools are fragile environments, and collecting is not permitted. • Do not hunt, trap, or carry loaded firearms on park lands; for firearms regulations check the park website. • Keep pets restrained at all times; pets are prohibited on all park trails. • Camp and build fires only in areas designated for such uses. • Damaging or removing any government structure, sign, or marker is prohibited. • Help keep the park clean and litter-free; take out what you bring in. • Horseback riding and mountain biking are allowed only on certain designated trails. Information centers can provide you with more detailed information on trails. If you have questions, check at an information center or ask a patrolling park ranger.
For Your Protection Always lock your unattended car and place all valuables out of sight in the trunk or, preferably, carry them with you. If you are the victim of a theft, or if you witness vandalism, call the nearest law enforcement officer or information center.
FOR YOUR SAFETY
Tsunami Hazard Zone
Source: NPS Brochure (2017)
Brochures ◆ Site Bulletins ◆ Trading Cards
A Summary of Cultural Resources Projects, Redwood National Park (Janet P. Eidsness, July 1988)
An Analysis of the Buffers and the Watershed Management Required to Preserve the Redwood Forest and Associated Streams in the Redwood National Park (Edward C. Stone, Rudolf F. Grah and Paul J. Zinke, Stone and Associates, April 30, 1969)
An Archeological Overview of Redwood National Park Western Archeological Center Publications in Anthropology No. 8 (Michael J. Moratto, 1980)
An Evaluation of Experimental Rehabilitation Work, Redwood National Park Redwood National Park Watershed Rehabilitation Technical Report 19 (William E. Weaver, Mary M. Hektner, Danny K. Hagans, Lois J. Reed, Ronald A. Sonnevil and Gregory J. Bundros, July 1987)
Assessment of Coastal and Marine Resources and Watershed Conditions at Redwood National and State Parks (California) NPS Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/NRWRD/NRTR-2007/368 (Jeffry C. Borgeld, Greg Crawford, Sean F. Craig, Emily D. Morris, Bryann David, David G. Anderson, Cara McGary and Vicki Ozaki, April 2007)
Assessment of Natural Resource and Watershed Condition, Redwood National and State Parks, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Oregon Caves National Monument NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRPC/WRD/NRR-2011/335 (Richard T. Golightly, Christine D. Hamilton and Sharon H. Kramer, March 2011)
Backcountry Trip Planner: 2018
California's National Parks in Peril: The Threats of Climate Disruption (Stephen Saunders and Tom Easley, ©The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and Natural Resources Defense Council, October 2010, all rights reserved)
Cultural Landscape Report: Prairie Creek Fish Hatchery, Redwood National and State Parks, California (Robert Z. Melnick and Hannah Six, June 2020)
Data on the solute concentration within the subsurface flows of Little Lost Man Creek in response to a transport experiment, Redwood National Park, northwest California USGS Open-File Report 86-403-W (Gary W. Zellweger, V.C. Kennedy, K.E. Bencala, R.J. Avanzino, A.P. Jackman and F.J. Triska, 1986)
Davison Property: History of the Davison Ranch, Evaluation of National Register Eligibility (Susie Van Kirk, March 1992)
Element baselines for Redwood National Park, California; composition of the epiphytic lichens Hypogymnia enteromorpha and Usnea spp. USGS Open-File Report 87-169 (L.P. Gough, L.L. Jackson, J.L. Peard, E.E. Engleman, P.H. Briggs and J.A. Sacklin, 1987)
Enjoy the View Visual Resources Inventory Report, Redwood National and State Parks (NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/REDW/NRR-2017/1456 (Mark E. Meyer, Ksienya Taylor and Karin Grantham, June 2017)
Evaluation of Stream Temperature Regimes for Juvenile Coho Salmon in Redwood Creek Using Thermal Infrared (California) NPS Technical Report NPS/NRWRD/NRTR-2005/331 (Vicki Ozaki and David G. Anderson, March 2005, rev. January 2008)
Final Longterm Monitoring Protocol for Rocky Intertidal Communities of Redwood National and State Parks, California NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/KLMN/NRR—2008/034 (Karah Ammann and Peter Raimondi, March 2008)
Foundation Document, Redwood National and State Parks, California (September 2016)
General Management Plan, Redwood National Park (August 1980)
Geologic Resources Inventory Report, Redwood National and State Parks NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/GRD/NRR-2021/2314 (Katie KellerLynn, October 2021)
Historic Resources Study: Lost Man and Little Lost Man Watersheds (Susie Van Kirk, June 1999)
Historical Information on Redwood Creek (Susie Van Kirk, March 1994)
History on the Road: Carl Alwin Schenck Grove, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California (James G. Lewis, extract from Forest History Today, Spring/Fall 2014)
Integrated Aquatic Community and Water Quality Monitoring of Mountain Ponds and Lakes in the Klamath Network Annual Data Report: 2013 results from Lassen Volcanic National Park, Crater Lake National Park, and Redwood National Park NPS Natural Resource Data Series NPS/KLMN/NRDS—2016/1055 (Eric C. Dinger, September 2016)
Integrated Aquatic Community and Water Quality Monitoring of Wadeable Streams in the Klamath Network Annual Report: 2012 Results from Oregon Caves National Monument, Redwood National and State Parks, and Crater Lake National Park NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/KLMN/NRR—2015/1015 (Eric C. Dinger, September 2015)
Klamath Network Landbird Monitoring Annual Report: 2008 results from Oregon Caves National Monument, Lava Beds National Monument, and Redwood National and State Parks NPS Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/KLMN/NRTR—2009/191 (Jaime L. Stephens, John D. Alexander and Sean R. Mohren, March 2009)
Klamath Network Landbird Monitoring Annual Report: 2011 Results from Oregon Caves National Monument, Lava Beds National Monument, and Redwood National and State Parks NPS Natural Resource Data Series NPS/KLMN/NRDS—2012/317 (Jaime L. Stephens and Sean R. Mohren, May 2012)
Klamath Network Landbird Monitoring Annual Report: 2014 Results from Oregon Caves National Monument, Lava Beds National Monument, and Redwood National and State Parks NPS Natural Resource Data Series NPS/KLMN/NRDS—2015/816 (Jaime L. Stephens, August 2015)
Land Protection Plan, Redwood National Park (revised May 1987)
Monitoring of Rocky Intertidal Communities of Redwood National and State Parks, California
Monitoring of Rocky Intertidal Communities of Redwood National and State Parks, California: 2008 Annual Report NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/KLMN/NRTR—2011/434 (Karah Ammann, Peter Raimondi and David Lohse, February 2011)
Monitoring of rocky intertidal communities of Redwood National and State Parks, California: 2009 Annual Report NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/KLMN/NRTR—2012/521 (Karah Ammann, Peter Raimondi and David Lohse, January 2012)
Monitoring of Rocky Intertidal Communities of Redwood National and State Parks, California: 2010 Annual Report NPS Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/KLMN/NRTR—2012/554 (Karah Ammann, Peter Raimondi and David Lohse, March 2012)
Monitoring of Rocky Intertidal Communities of Redwood National and State Parks, California: 2011 Annual Report NPS Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/KLMN/NRTR—2014/855 (Karah Ammann, Peter Raimondi and David Lohse, March 2014)
Monitoring of Rocky Intertidal Communities of Redwood National and State Parks, California 2012 Annual Report NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/KLMN/NRR—2015/1083 (Karah Ammann, Peter Raimondi and David Lohse, November 2015)
Monitoring Vegetation Composition, Structure, and Function in Lava Beds National Monument and Redwood National and State Parks: Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Report NPS Natural Resource Data Series NPS/KLMN/NRDS—2013/447 (Sean B. Smith and Daniel Sarr, February 2013)
Monitoring Vegetation Composition, Structure, and Function in Lava Beds National Monument and Redwood National and State Parks: Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/KLMN/NRR—2015/1011 (Sean B. Smith, August 2015)
Museum Management Plan, Redwood National and State Parks, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area (Jonathan Bayless, Mary Benterou, Steve Floray, Kirsten Kvam, James O'Barr and Brigid Sullivan, 2008)
National Register of Historic Places Nomination Forms
Lyons Ranches Historic District (Denise Bradley and Michael Corbett, June 27, 2017)
Prairie Creek Fish Hatchery (Michael R. Corbett, November 20, 1996)
Radar Station B-71 / Trinidad Radar Station / Klamath River Radar Station (Gordon Chappell, June 7, 1977)
Redwood Highway (California State Highway #1) (James Delgado and Gordon Chappell, June 30, 1978)
Native Stories of Earthquake and Tsunamis, Redwood National Park (Deborah H. Carver, September 1998)
North Coast California: A Stewardship Report (Save-the-Redwoods League and Bureau of Land Management, November 2001)
Park Newspaper (Visitor Guide): Fall-Winter-Spring 1987-88 • Winter-Spring 1993-1994 • 1996-1997 • Summer 2000 • Summer 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004-05 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2016 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020 • 2021 • 2022
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park: A History (Susie Van Kirk, September 2015)
Redwood: A Guide to Redwood National and State Parks, California Official National and State Parks Handbook (David Rains Wallace, Malinee Crapsey and Ed Zahniser, 1998)
Redwood Creek Integrated Watershed Strategy (June 22, 2006)
Redwood Creek Progress Report on Erosion Control Work and Sediment TMDL (Greg Gundros and Darci Short, June 20, 2011)
Redwood Creek Watershed Analysis (March 1997)
Redwood Highway Flora (1939)
Redwood National Park Studies, Data release number 1, Redwood Creek, Humboldt County, California: September 1, 1973 - April 10, 1974 USGS Open-File Report (Rick T. Iwatsubo, K. Michael Nolan, Deborah R. Harden, G. Douglas Glysson and Richard J. Janda, December 1975)
Redwood National Park Studies; Data release number 2, Redwood Creek, Humboldt County, and Mill Creek, Del Norte County, California: April 11, 1974-September 30, 1975 USGS Open-File Report 76-678 (Rick T. Iwatsubo, K.M. Nolan, D.R. Harden and G.D. Glysson, 1976)
Soil Survey of Redwood National and State Parks, California (Joseph P. Seney, Alaina C. Frazier and James H. Popenoe, 2008)
Statement for Management, Redwood National Park (rev. February 1987)
Summary Results Concerning the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Labor Intensive Erosion Control Practices Used in Redwood National Park, 1978-1979 Memorandum Report (William Weaver and Mark Seltenrich, December 1980)
The Ecology of the Coastal Redwood Forest and the Impact of the 1964 Floods Upon Redwood Vegetation (Rudolf W. Becking, August 15, 1971)
The Redwood State Parks (Frederick A. Meyer and Brenda Boswell, June 1973)
The Road Inventory for Redwood National Park (February 2000)
Upper Redwood Creek Watershed Road Assessment: Updated Summary Report (Greg Bundros, Darci Short and Van Hare, March 10, 2004)
Watershed Park: Administrative History Redwood National and State Parks (Mark David Spence, 2011)
Watershed Rehabilitation in Redwood National Park and Other Pacific Coastal Areas Proceedings of a symposium held August 24-28, 1981 (R.N.Coats, ed., 1981)
Watershed Rehabilitation Plan, Redwood National Park (April 1981)
Handbooks ◆ Books
Last Updated: 30-Apr-2022