Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

The most scenic redwoods

California > Redwood National and State Parks

Howland Hill Road

Bright, open, and lush, Jed Smith’s redwood groves are the most scenic in existence. The park has trees of truly stupendous size: not as tall as the redwoods to the south, but bigger in diameter. Somewhere in the park is the largest coast redwood by volume, a tree that’s exceeded in size, and not by much, by only seven giant sequoias. And with exceptional variety in the color, texture, and size of the trees, and even in the understory vegetation, the woods are an interesting place to hike.

With its huge swath of uninterrupted old growth, Jedediah Smith is also the most unspoiled redwood park. The downside is that there aren’t a lot of trails that explore the magnificent redwood scenery in the park’s interior, and the few trails that do tend to be kind of busy.



Howland Hill Road

Length 6 mi one-way

One of the best redwood drives anywhere, this single-lane gravel road runs through an otherworldly landscape of monster trees.


Walker Road

Length 3 mi round-trip

A short dirt road through a lush and dense lowland redwood grove.

Old-growth redwood trails


Boy Scout Tree Trail

Length 5.3 mi · Climbing 750 ft

An extraordinary out-and-back hike through a showcase of the world’s best redwood scenery.


Grove of Titans

Length 1.7 mi · Climbing 200 ft

A famous grove with some of the world’s largest known redwoods by volume.


Stout Grove

Length 0.6 mi · Climbing 40 ft

This small grove by the side of the Smith River has an otherworldly cathedral-like majesty, but it gets somewhat crowded on summer weekends.


Mill Creek Trail

Length 4.8 mi · Climbing 300 ft

Connects Stout Grove and the Grove of Titans, two of Jedediah Smith’s best groves. Although the trail between the groves is less impressive, it’s a nice alternative to the more popular access routes.


Hatton Trail

Length 4.3 mi · Climbing 360 ft

Climbs a hillside above Highway 199 into sun-dappled redwood uplands. The scenery is great, but there’s traffic noise throughout.


Nickerson Ranch Trail

Length 2.6 mi · Climbing 110 ft

Runs along the banks of Mill Creek to an impressive lowland redwood grove just across the road from the Boy Scout Tree Trail.


Leiffer and Ellsworth Loops

Length 2.1 mi · Climbing 330 ft

These little-used loops start at scenic Walker Road and pass through remarkably lush old-growth lowlands before climbing a hillside into more mundane uplands.


Simpson-Reed Trail

Length 0.9 mi · Climbing 20 ft

A short roadside loop with an unusually dense, jungle-like look.

Adams Grove

Length 0.6 mi · Climbing 20 ft

Branching directly off of busy Highway 199 is a forgotten, little-used trail that doesn’t have an official name. There isn’t even any way to safely pull off the road at the trailhead.

Other trails


Hiouchi Trail

Length 4.4 mi · Climbing 420 ft

Follows the Smith River, mostly through uninteresting mixed-species forest at the edge of the old growth redwoods.

Mill Creek Horse Trail

Length 10.4 mi · Climbing 1970 ft

Mostly unattractive second-growth, but with two short sections of old growth, one of which is actually pretty magnificent.

Little Bald Hills Trail

Length 9.8 mi · Climbing 1600 ft

Climbs out of Jed Smith’s old-growth redwoods and through lush fir groves before entering a sparse hilltop pine forest.

Craigs Creek Trail

Length 7.7 mi · Climbing 1470 ft

A little-used trail in the Six Rivers National Forest that rises and falls through an interesting variety of woodland before descending to the confluence of two rivers.

Wellman Loop Trail

Length 1.5 mi · Climbing 470 ft

Climbs through unspectacular redwood uplands, then descends through dense non-redwood forest. Located across Highway 199 from the campground.

Drive-in campgrounds


Jedediah Smith Campground

Open all year · $35/night + $8

This is the only place in Redwood National and State Parks where you can actually camp among old-growth redwoods.


Florence Keller Regional Park

Open all year · $20/night · no reservations

A cheap place to stay in the redwoods that usually has spots available.

Ruby van Deventer County Park

Open all year · $20/night · no reservations

A small campground in a thin strip of second-growth redwoods between a road and the Smith River.

Sand Camp River Access

Open all year · Free · no reservations

This isn’t actually a campground, but in the Six Rivers National Forest, you can camp anywhere that’s away from a road, trail, developed area, creek, or meadow. Tent camping only.

Backpacking campgrounds


Little Bald Hills Backcountry Camp

Open all year · Free

This is a nice campground on a quiet, remote hilltop, but unless you just want a quiet place to camp there isn’t much reason to hike up here.

The Del Norte Titan, one of the largest coast redwoods by volume


© 2007, 2008, 2009, 2021 David Baselt