This guide to California’s old-growth redwood and giant sequoia parks has photos and reviews of almost every public trail with a significant amount of old growth. Park campgrounds and nearby non-redwood trails are also covered.
An overview of California’s ten best old-growth redwood trails.
A list of all old-growth redwood hikes and selected second-growth hikes.
A list of drive-in campgrounds in old-growth redwood parks.
Reviews of the trail campgrounds.
Redwoods grow in a 450-mile-long, 30-mile-wide strip of Northern California's coast, starting at the Oregon border and extending to the Big Sur region south of San Francisco.
The northern groves have the biggest trees and the lushest, most attractive appearance.
Southern groves look drier, and a dense layer of shrubs often blocks views of the redwoods. But the weather is better, the groves take less time to get to, and there’s more to do after the hike.
See the following pages for more information about each region.
The biggest, tallest, and most scenic redwoods. If you can spend at least 3–4 days on a trip to the redwoods, this is the place to go.
The long, verdent Eel River Valley supports stands of massive redwoods with a dark, open, and expansive cathedral-like look.
This area only has a few tiny redwood groves, but they’re really nice.
A wide variety of scenery with parks that can be visited on a day trip. There are also a lot of shady second-growth redwood parks.
Small redwoods grow in the deep, narrow canyons of Big Sur’s coastal mountains. The hikes in this region tend to be very difficult.
The world’s largest trees by volume are related to redwoods and grow in isolated groves on the western edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Coverage of non-redwood parks throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Many of the redwood parks south of San Francisco are completely or partially closed due to damage from fires in 2020 and 2021. All redwood parks north of San Francisco are open as normal.
Most remaining old growth redwoods are in six large parks, but a lot of other parks have small old-growth groves that are very scenic. The best parks usually have the words “Redwoods State Park” in their names.
The flat bottoms of creek valleys have the biggest trees, since there’s plenty of water year-round and fires are less intense. These alluvial flats host the spectacular, cathedral-like groves that redwoods are famous for. Somewhat unfortunately, they also tend to be where the roads are built. Uplands have fewer big redwoods and more non-redwood trees, but are often quieter and more remote.
© 2010, 2022 David Baselt