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Redwood National and State Parks

Jedediah Smith, Del Norte, Prairie Creek, and Redwood National Park

Old-growth redwood trails
Overall Rating Distance, miles Climbing, feet Trail name
* * * * * 12.1 1350 Miners’ Ridge and James Irvine
* * * * * 5.3 750 Boy Scout Tree Trail
* * * * * 1.7 200 Grove of Titans
* * * * * 0.6 40 Stout Grove
* * * * 7.4 250 Mill Creek Trail
* * * * 5.8 760 West Ridge and Prairie Creek
* * * * 3.5 540 Brown Creek loop
* * * * 0.8 130 Moorman–Pond Trail
* * * 9.5 1520 Coastal Trail, Flint Ridge Section
* * * 8.7 1050 Rhododendron and Foothill
* * * 8.0 960 Friendship Ridge Trail
* * * 7.7 1433 West Ridge and Rhododendron North
* * * 7.2 1270 Berry Glen Trail
* * * 5.5 700 Emerald Ridge and Tall Trees
* * * 4.0 1170 Damnation Creek Trail
* * * 4.3 360 Hatton Trail
* * * 3.9 690 Tall Trees Grove
* * * 3.6 720 Cal Barrel Road
* * * 3.5 710 Ten Taypo Trail
* * * 3.2 190 Big Tree loop
* * * 2.8 440 Trillium Falls Trail
* * * 2.6 110 Nickerson Ranch Trail
* * * 2.1 330 Leiffer and Ellsworth Loops
* * * 1.4 100 Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail
* * * 0.9 20 Simpson-Reed Trail
* * 6.4 1400 CREA Trail
* * 13.0 2810 Coastal Trail, Last Chance Section
* * 12.6 2370 Coastal Trail, DeMartin Section
* * 0.6 40 Ah Pah Trail
* * 1.0 110 Nature Trail
* 0.6 20 Adams Grove
Other trails
Overall Rating Distance, miles Climbing, feet Trail name
* * * 10.4 2490 Dolason Prairie Trail
* * 15.4 500 Redwood Creek Trail
* * 14.1 2600 McArthur Creek Loop
* * 7.8 1390 Coastal Trail, Klamath Section
* * 7.6 1050 Coastal Trail, Skunk Cabbage Section
* * 4.4 420 Hiouchi Trail
* * 3.6 730 Ossagon Trail
* * 2.2 580 Carruthers Cove
* * 1.5 200 Enderts Beach
* 22.0 3100 Lost Man Creek Trail
* 15.8 2000 Crossover Road (Mill Creek Watershed)
* 10.4 1970 Mill Creek Horse Trail
* 9.8 1600 Little Bald Hills Trail
* 7.7 1470 Craigs Creek Trail
* 7.0 1260 Hobbs Wall and Saddler Skyline
* 6.0 590 Coastal Trail, Tey-wo-lew section
* 4.5 750 Lyons Ranch Trail
* 3.1 70 Picnic Road (Mill Creek Watershed)
* 2.8 210 Elk Prairie Trail
* 1.5 470 Wellman Loop Trail
* 1.2 100 Yurok Loop
* 0.4 90 Little Creek Trail
Drive-in campgrounds
Overall Rating Open Price Campground name
* * * * * All year $35 + $8 Jedediah Smith
* * * * May–Sep $35 + $8 Mill Creek Campground
* * * * All year $35 + $8 Elk Prairie
* * * All year $35 + $8 Gold Bluffs Beach
* * * All year $35 + $8 Sue-meg State Park
* * All year $15 Florence Keller
* All year $25 Big Lagoon County Park
* All year $15 Ruby van Deventer
* All year Free Sand Camp
Backpacking campgrounds
Overall Rating Open Price Campground name
* * * * * Jun–Oct Free Redwood Creek Dispersed Camping
* * * * All year Free Flint Ridge
* * * * All year Free Little Bald Hills
* * * All year Free DeMartin Backcountry Camp
* Jun–Oct Free 44 Camp
* Jun–Oct Free Elam Camp


Parks in this area

***** Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

The magnificent, light-filled redwood forest of Jed Smith is the most scenic of all redwood forests. The forest is remarkably unspoiled, maybe too much so for hikers, since there’s really only one dead-end trail that explores the interior of the park. Not surprisingly the biggest coast redwood by volume grows here, although its location is secret.

*** Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

Del Norte is the only redwood park located on a high coastal bluff. Marine clouds that stream in from the ocean during the summer support a narrow band of impressive fogbound redwoods around the 1000-foot elevation. This park has much less old growth than its neighbors, and its band of really big trees is unfortunately split by Highway 101.

***** Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

In addition to a huge swath of the lushest redwood forest anywhere, this remarkable park has a scenic undeveloped beach and a herd of wild elk, plus the popular Fern Canyon. The park has an extensive network of trails, most notably the superb Miners’ Ridge and James Irvine loop.

*** Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park doesn’t have any really impressive old-growth redwood hikes like Jed Smith, Prairie Creek, and Del Norte State Parks. It does, however, have more of a wilderness feel, without the traffic noise that plagues many of the state park trails. The tallest tree in the world grows here, but it’s inaccessible to all but the most determined bushwhacker.

Current trail conditions

See the National Park Service’s Current Conditions page for a list of current and upcoming closures in Redwood National and State Parks. There is also a Twitter feed with more or less the same information. Also see the News Releases page, which may have more up-to-date information.

Camel Rock seen from Luffenholtz Park, Trinidad

Backpacking in Redwood National and State Parks

The Coastal Trail is the only multi-day backpacking route in Redwood National and State Parks. Between Del Norte Coast Redwoods and Prairie Creek the trail has a series of “primitive” or "environmental “ campgrounds (i.e., no facilities, just some picnic tables and a pit toilet) spaced at roughly 10-mile intervals. The trail mostly runs through quiet, remote areas, with occasional road crossings and developed areas. It doesn’t actually have a whole lot of redwoods, although there are a lot of nearby side trips with excellent redwoods.

Prairie Creek unfortunately closed its backpacking campgrounds a few years ago, so the only place to camp in Prairie Creek are the backpacking sites in Gold Bluffs Beach or Elk Prairie campgrounds.

“Fitpacking” conducts guided tours of the Coastal Trail, and you can check out their 1-week itinerary from 2016 through the southern end of Redwood National and State Parks.

Here’s a brief description of the Coastal Trail, from north to south, with links to my individual hike pages:

Printed trail maps of Redwood National and State Parks

I publish the Redwood Hikes Press map, so this might not be the most objective listing. But if you don’t want to buy my map, the next-best option would be the Interpretive Association’s maps of the state parks.

Battery Point Lighthouse, Crescent City


Redwood National and State Parks and the surrounding area is refreshingly undeveloped and un-touristy. Unfortunately, that also means that lodging and dining choices are limited. Within the parks, the only places to stay are campgrounds; there’s no park lodge, although one may eventually be built in the Mill Creek Watershed. Outside the parks, most of the nearby towns are a little on the seedy side and have surprisingly few places to stay and eat. The two exceptions are Arcata and Ferndale, and there are also some nice places to stay a few miles to the north, in Oregon.

By far the best place to stay is the ultra-liberal college town of Arcata, 40 minutes south of Prairie Creek and 1 hour and 15 minutes south of Jedediah Smith. Personally I think the extra driving is well worth it, because you can stay in a much nicer place, enjoy dinner at a much better restaurant, and shop for provisions at a real grocery store. This compact and colorful town is an enjoyable destination in its own right, offering an attractive setting, numerous festivals, and an active music and theater scene. Nearly all the businesses in central Arcata are locally-owned, adding to the town’s character.

The self-described Victorian Village of Ferndale is also nice, although it’s about 25 minutes further away from Redwood National and State Parks, so I haven’t stayed there. The town, set on a coastal plain among strikingly verdent dairy fields, is a lot smaller than Arcata.

Lodging inside the parks

The parks have developed drive-in campgrounds and primitive walk-in (backcountry) campgrounds. For information on backcountry campgrounds see the backpacking section, above. There are no park-owned hotels.

Under $50/night

$50 – $100/night

Sadly, with the closure of the Redwood Hostel, there are no longer any really cheap places to stay indoors near the parks.

Over $100/night

Arcata has some really nice vacation rental properties that are my favorite option in this price range: for the same price as a hotel you can get your own house. The rentals listed below are operated exclusively as vacation rentals and are very well-maintained, so it feels more like staying at a tiny, private hotel than someone’s house. Minimum stays are usually 2 nights.

The following are regular inns, not vacation rentals:

View from Ted’s Ridge, Trees of Mystery

Restaurants (Arcata)

Arcata, Eureka, and Ferndale have a nice collection of restaurants. Arcata in particular is a haven for independent restaurants with lots of character; the big chain restaurants are all relegated to the edge of town. Most restaurants in the area close by 9 pm, although that usually means you can arrive for dinner as late as 9, and not that you have to be finished by 9.

Memorial Lighthouse, Trinidad. The lighthouse was moved from this location in 2018.

Restaurants (Eureka and Ferndale)

Grocery stores

Other stores



Current satellite images

National Weather Service pages for Orick

Other weather pages for Orick

Wilson Beach



© 2005–21 David Baselt