We just spent an incredible week in Redwood National Park of Northern California, and man what a divine experience. Redwood Park is one of the most magical places on earth, and some of its trees are upwards of 2000 years old. I believe in the deep wisdom of mother nature, and you can truly feel that these are some of the great masters of the planet. I can not say enough about the opportunity to experience this legendary place on planet earth.
Planning a trip to the redwoods, especially if you are limited on time, can be a bit confusing, so I will break down our experience and hopefully make it easier for you to navigate.
First of all, the redwood forest stretches about 140,000 acres, which is a lot of area to cover. Fun fact, the old-growth redwoods were said to cover as much as 2,000,000 acres before they were logged, so we are grateful that these parks have protected the remaining acreage. I will also note that the redwoods in Humboldt County are the largest and most impressive you will encounter. There are several famous standing trees in this area that are celebrated for their size, and there are also several fallen trees that are remarkable in their own right. We have been to redwood forests all over California and in New Zealand, and nothing touches these giants!
So there are a couple of ways to think about tackling the redwood forest experience. Depending on how much time you have, you can consider 3 notable areas. This is not by any means a complete list or guide of every experience, but if you follow this logic, you will have an amazing experience no matter how much time you have.
Where to Stay
You should consider visiting 3 main areas: Redwood State Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. We stayed at Giant Redwoods RV and Camp Destination in Myers Flat, and it was perfect for us for a few reasons. They have decent WiFi and are right off the Avenue of the Giants, so even if we had work to do, we could pop over for a short hike or drive 10 minutes to one of the beautiful groves. If you plan to rent an RV, which is a great way to tour the area, we recommend this location. The other main RV parks are in Eureka or Trinidad. Apart from the conveniences of a modern town, Eureka does not have much to offer. Emerald Forest Cabins & RV Park in Trinidad is intriguing because it provides access to both the redwoods and the coast, but since we wanted easy access to the big trees, Myers Flat was our jam. You could also consider staying here for a few days and then traveling north, or if you want to camp, there are a plethora of state parks to explore.
Where to Hike
Although we didn’t cover every trail (right, how could we?), we did get a pretty great lay of the land and have some recommendations that are appropriate for every level. If you want some easy strolls that are less than a mile and are mainly about witnessing the amazing trees, we recommend Founders’ Grove and Stephens Grove Loop trails. Check out Founders’ Grove if you want to see massive fallen trees that provide a deep understanding of these giants. If you want to spend an entire day in the forest but still want an easy trail, then definitely do the Bull Creek Flats trail. It’s about 8 miles, and once you get out of the main area at the beginning, you will have it all to yourself. We took snacks and lunch and made a day of it, taking our time and stopping to enjoy the trail and celebrate my mom’s 65th birthday. It is a spectacular hike, and we highly recommend carving out time for this experience.
Next up, we recommend a trip to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. This area is known for the many feature films that have been shot there, including The Lost World: Jurassic Park and scenes from Star Wars. The Prairie Creek trail is stunning and other-worldly. It is 5.5 miles and more crowded than Bull Creek Flats, but it is worthwhile. The other trail in this area that everyone swears by is Fern Canyon Loop. We had the best of intentions, but we ran out of time for this trail. We plan to hike it on our next trip.
Lastly, check out the trails in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. We didn’t make it this far north because we simply ran out of time, but this is the other area that many people celebrate as an amazing redwood experience. We recommend downloading the AllTrails app and researching the various areas and hikes. It is a super helpful app for trails in each area and has all kinds of reviews, maps, and downloadable guides to help you on your way. You can follow my profile here if you would like to see the trails we have done and reviewed.
Where to Eat
For the most part, we cook our own meals when we can, and RVing makes it especially easy to do so. If you are running low on supplies and need a healthy option, we stocked up at Chautauqua Natural Foods in Garberville. It’s pricey, but hey, healthy food usually is, and we were just grateful they had everything we needed! We also took a trip to Ferndale for a nice dinner to celebrate my mom’s birthday, and we ate at Tuyas. It was really good, fresh, healthy Mexican-inspired food. There are actually some great restaurants in Ferndale, and it’s worth a trip for a nice meal at some point! Other than that, you can check out Eureka or Arcata, but honestly, Ferndale is the call if you want to do something special, and it is super cute. Remember that the North Coast gets cold, so don’t make the mistake of visiting Ferndale or any of the coastal areas without warm clothes.
Being with the redwoods is a spiritual experience.
Where to Meditate
One of the amazing things about staying in this area is that you can pull over anywhere along the Avenue of the Giants and meditate, do yoga, commune with the energy of the forest. I plopped down my yoga mat and did a couple of flows while I was there, and I even recorded a guided meditation that you can check out here. Being with the redwoods is a spiritual experience, and I highly recommend carving out some time for your spiritual practice among the trees.
I hope this has been a helpful overview and explanation of the Redwoods. Be sure to follow along with our many adventures on Instagram or reach out directly at [email protected] We lead groups on adventures all around the globe, and if you can’t make it with us, we also create bespoke adventures for travelers like yourself, so don’t hesitate to reach out and let us help you adventure!