★★★

Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

A redwood park on high coastal bluffs

California > Redwood National and State Parks

Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park from Enderts Beach Road

Perched on a steep hillside above the Pacific Ocean, Del Norte Coast Redwoods is the only major redwood park that doesn’t have any lowland redwoods. Surprisingly, though, the park still has some very impressive groves. The high, west-facing hillside is perfectly positioned to catch the summer fog as it streams off the ocean, keeping the trees well-nourished through the summer droughts. Because the higher slopes get more fog (and because redwoods don’t like salt spray), the trees get bigger toward the top of the hill — exactly the opposite of what you’d find in any other redwood park.

With its often-foggy weather and its abundance of rhododendrons, the park is especially photogenic. If you’ve ever seen a picture of huge redwoods in the fog with masses of pink flowers at their bases, it was probably taken here.

As a hiking destination, though, Del Norte Coast Redwoods is a little disappointing. Highway 101 runs right through the narrow band that contains the largest and most scenic redwoods, just west of the park’s highest ridge, so those photogenic scenes are usually accompanied by the roar of trucks. Also, there are only two old-growth trails, and the longer of the two (the Coastal Trail), while very scenic, misses most of the really good redwoods.

The Coastal Trail near the Damnation Creek Trail

Getting to Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

The park is on Highway 101 just south of Crescent City and about an hour north of Arcata. There’s no main entrance, no visitor center, and like most of Redwood National and State Parks, no entrance fee.

The Damnation Creek Trail


 

© 2008, 2014 David Baselt