Day Hikes and Backpacking
Day hikes and backpacking are a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of Redwood National Park’s diverse ecosystems. There are both inland trails though old-growth redwood forest, and trails along the coast. Sections of the Coastal Trail run along high oceanside bluffs — where you can spot gray whale spouts on a clear day — and down to secluded beaches where sea creatures lurk in tide pools and sea lions hang out on rocky offshore islands.
Recommended inland day hikes in the south focus on Prairie Creek Redwoods State park, and includes the aptly named Rhododendron Trail, which blooms pink and red during the spring and early summer. In the north, short loops around Jedediah Smith State Park offer a number of day hiking options for families. Be sure to check out the giants trees in Stout Memorial Grove.
There are 200 miles of trails that provide access to the park’s backcountry. Overnight camping in the wilderness requires a free permit that can be picked up at any visitor center. Permits are good for five consecutive days in the park, with a limit of 15 days per person per year. Visitors may only camp at designated backcountry campsites.
One really cool feature of Redwood National Park is that it allows backcountry bicycling on some trails, usually rehabilitated logging roads. Cyclists can camp with their bikes at Little Bald Hills and Ossagon Creek. The latter campground is on a challenging 19-mile loop within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park that combines several backcountry trails and includes some steep passes.
For those visitors looking to get an up-close look of the North Coast’s seastacks — eroded rock formations that are home to thousands of marine birds — sea kayaking is an adventure that can’t be beat. You can also kayak on rivers, coves and lagoons in and around the park. Kayaking trips are arranged through a concessioner, and are popular during the summer months. Winter outings can be arranged by appointment. Spring and fall offer exciting opportunities to see migrating whales on guided tours.
Historic Sites and Cultural Attractions
Redwood National Park has a rich cultural history, from American Indian traditional dance demonstrations presented by the Tolowa and Yurok tribes to numerous historic trails and landmarks — fish hatcheries, pioneer homesteads, abandoned railroads.