DescriptionAlong the northern California coast between Crescent City and Orick, 302 miles north of San Francisco on US 101, Redwood National and State Parks encompasses 131,983 acres. Within its boundaries are the 60,286 combined acres of Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek Redwoods state parks. In addition to dense forests of coast redwoods, the park embraces marshland, beaches, rugged coastline, rivers, streams, prairies and oak woodlands.
General InformationThe beaches are open all year, but visitors should use caution when swimming or surfing. The coastline in Northern California is a dangerous combination of steeply descending beaches, heavy undertows, very cold water and jagged, rocky shoals. Visitors walking along the beaches should be aware of the time of high tide and keep an eye out for the unusually large, strong waves known as “sneaker waves.”
Coastal Drive, reached from US 101 exit 768 (Klamath Beach Road), is an 8-mile parade of spectacular coastal scenery. Lost Man Creek Road passes through a beautiful redwood forest and offers access to 10-mile Lost Man Creek Trail. Just a couple miles west of Crescent City, an unpaved stretch of Howland Hill Road showcases the towering old-growth redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. There are numerous pullouts and trailheads along the way, including the Boy Scout Tree Trail and Stout Grove. These scenic byways are not suitable for RV or trailer travel.
Paved scenic routes include Requa Road, which leads 4 miles up a steep grade from US 101 to the Klamath River Overlook, 600 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Enderts Beach Road connects US 101 near Crescent City with the dramatic vistas of Crescent Beach Overlook. Both overlooks provide particularly good opportunities for whale-watching. Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway through Prairie Creek Redwood State Park is a scenic alternate to US 101.
Note: Due to storm damage, access to Enderts Beach was closed at press time; phone for updates.
Some public roads also serve adjoining private forest lands; logging truck traffic and other private activities take place along some of the routes.
Trails traverse some 37 miles of wild and untouched coastline along rock promontories that protrude into the ocean, offering vistas of sea lion colonies and migrating whales. Birds inhabit bluffs, lagoons and offshore rocks; bird-watching is particularly rewarding during waterfowl migrations. More than 170 miles of trails provide access to magnificent redwood groves, coastal areas and upland prairies.
The Coastal Trail extends 43.4 miles, nearly the entire length of the parks, through a variety of spectacular landscapes. Hikers will navigate bluffs and pass through grasslands and along deserted beaches, with frequent stretches descending into dim glades created by coast redwood forests. The trail can be accessed at various places within the park, including the Crescent Beach Overlook at the end of Enderts Beach Road; from Damnation Creek Trail in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park; and from near Fern Canyon, at the end of Davison Road in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
The park also contains 44.8 miles of horseback riding trails and 33 miles of bicycle trails. Park staff conduct free guided walks, evening programs and other activities from mid-June through Labor Day.
Developed campgrounds are within the state parks and along US 101 (the Redwood Highway). Reservations through ReserveCalifornia are recommended in summer. There also are five primitive walk-in campsites in the national park, although space is limited; permits are free but required. Freshwater and surf fishing are permitted; a California fishing license is required.
The Crescent City Information Center is located at Redwood National and State Parks Headquarters, 1111 2nd St. near the Crescent City waterfront; phone (707) 465-7335.
ADMISSIONADMISSION to the national park is free. The state parks charge day use and overnight fees for developed picnicking and camping areas.
PETSPETS must be kept under physical restraint while in the park and are prohibited on most trails. Campers are required to have proof of rabies shots for pets.
ADDRESSADDRESS inquiries to the Superintendents, Redwood National and State Parks, 1111 2nd St., Crescent City, CA 95531-4198. Phone (707) 465-7335.
Points of Interest
Things to SeeCrescent Beach Overlook
GEM DescriptionVast stands of old-growth redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, thrive in the moist climate along Northern California's rugged coast.