Visiting the Redwoods National Park

Come with us as drive and walk through the worlds tallest trees, try to find the ocean view, and where the heck did we break a bolt!   Come along for the ride through the Northern California Coast.  Hopefully it meets your expectation because, it far exceeded ours. With 95% of the worlds Coastal Redwoods population in Northern California we knew this would be a bucket list portion of our bigger trip. Being able to seeing trees that soar over 350′ tall and have a root base with a 20′ diameter was amazing. We felt so tiny.

Jedidiah Smith Redwoods

Besides breaking a bolt, we finally stay overnight at a casino. I wonder why we’d never worked one into our overnight parking options all this time.

Visiting Redwoods National Park

This park area is technically 4 parks all located in Northern California Coast. The national park system co-manages the park with the California State parks to offer many acres of the worlds tallest trees. Well not just the Coastal Redwoods, but miles of pristine coastline, meadows, Elk and so much more. The parks are as follows:

  • Redwoods National Park
  • Jedediah Smith State Park
  • Prairie Creek State Park
  • Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.

We only had half a day to pass through and experience the redwoods. With many many acres and numerous groves and trails, you can’t go wrong picking an area and spending as much time as possible. There is no need to try and see all of the individual parks or the popular sites to really see the trees.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Walker Road

Prairie Creek State Park / Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway

We found a short hike, the Big Tree and Roosevelt Elk in Elk Meadows.

Because, I did no research ahead of time, we saw none of the “popular” sites but we got our fill of these magnificent trees and the foggy coast in this northern most section of California.

Coast near Klamath River & HWY 101

Based on our short drive thru experience, I have a list of tips further down to consider if you’re planning a similar Northern CA Coast visit. Or, in our case, taking the long way back to the shop.


The video starts off where the previous video episode left off. We are on OR-199 in Jedidiah State park and finally arrived at the first ranger station. After visiting the ranger station, we followed the recommendation to head to Walker road and that’s where the oogling of trees begins.

The video has all our key moments and places. Below is even more information on the parks and things you should know before going.

TIPS for Visiting the Redwoods National Parks


Depending on which way you come, just stop at the first visitor center you get too.  There are 5 visitor centers, so I’m sure you’ll be passing by one.    The rangers are always informative and helpful; they want you to can get the most from your visit.  You’ll walk out with maps and great information. There’s lots of good info online as well but you need to do this research before arriving. The cell service is sporadic to non-existent at the very northern end of the Coast. As you move towards the Sonoma Coast, cell service did get better for us.

Here’s a link to the Redwoods National Park Visitor guide page. The guide is a small newspaper with s good summery of all the various things to do in the parks.

HOW TO Find the best HIKE with this large of a park!  

As the park rangers will tell you all the trails are great trails for seeing these magnificent trees. There are thousand of acres of trees available and you can’t go wrong with any one location.

With so much to choose from it most likely worked in our favor to simply stop, ask, and go. Much better than pre-planning to find a popular, congested parking situation just to see a specific trail or tree. It was already noon when we arrived at the visitor center and we still had another 100 miles of slow curvy road to drive before the end of the day.


Like any national, dogs are not allowed on any trail but are allowed on both Walker Road in the Jedediah Smith SP and Cal Barrel road in Prairie Creek SP.


For parking reasons, some trails and parking areas do require seasonal permits.  They are Fern Canyon, Gold Bluffs Beach, and Tall Trees Grove. Before going, check online to setup your permit.


There are no drive through trees within the park, but they’re not far away.  They’re in Klamath, Myer’s Fall  and Leggit CA.  Myer’s flat is the Shriner Tree which looks really tiny so not much more than a compact  vehicle will squeeze there.  I wonder if anyone’s gotten stuck?  Probably best to add the other two locations to your road trip if you’re after the drive thru the tree experience. 

The Klamath Tour Thru Tree is near Priarie Creek SP and the Drive-Thru Tree Park is near Leggit, CA.


There are 4 “park” campgrounds. They’re managed by the CA state park reservation system. Like many older, park campgrounds they are not big rig friendly. The max length ranges from 24’ at Gold Bluffs beach to 28’ at Mill creek.  Due to the park’s location, being more remote, these do not tend to fill up immediately like many California State Park campgrounds. That makes finding a spot less of a challenge. I did see some availability in at least 2 of the campgrounds just 2 weeks before we were arriving.  I took that as a sign that it’s not impossible to get a site.  Still it is wise to plan ahead and secure your site in the Redwoods Park campgrounds as early as possible.  

Why didn’t we stay in a campground? Two reasons. The first was because of our long multi-day drive. We needed to get a little further south from where the campgrounds were located and reduce the driving time to something manageable the next day. The second reason is, we have a difficult time paying over $50 just for a sleeping spot. Since we’d be arriving later in the evening and leaving early in the morning, it made no sense to spend that money just to park. If we were staying in the area longer it might’ve made sense.

We really enjoyed our overnight at Bear River Casino and there’s a handful in this area. Using Campendium I noted 6 that had reviews of overnight parking being allowed.

Image courtesy of

You can’t just pull in and park. At least that was true at Bear River Casino. You do need to register with security which also requires signing up for a players card. The perks were a safe and quiet place to stay, $10 in play points to use or not, and a $5 hot breakfast. The bonus is you can stay up to 3 nights! Also, if you’re in need of a fuel fill-up before getting into the San Francisco/Oakland areas, this may be the cheapest fuel option around. We also had good AT&T signal.

Scenic Drives

There are a few scenic drives within the Parks; two drives can support RV/motorhomes.  The Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway which takes you through Prairie Grove Redwoods State Park. There are many turnoffs to stop and go explore. This is the one we stumbled upon. It was a great drive and it allowed us to soak in more of the forest area without spending too much extra time from our driving route.

Another drive is the Avenue of the Giants which takes you through the Humboldt State Park. Humboldt State Park is technically not part of the Redwoods National Park but is a very worthwhile visit through various Redwoods areas. We only had time to do a partial drive along the route after we set off the following morning from our Casino overnight.

What’s Next?

We leave the Redwoods and continue south for an extremely long day of slow driving. But the day includes a stop at Glass Beach, a Lighthouse and finally some sunshine.

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