Damnation Creek Trail

Damnation Creek Trail

Redwood National Park

After checking out of Jedediah Smith Campground, we drove along route 101 to a trail with an awkward name. Damnation Creek Trail is in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, part of Redwood National & State Parks. It’s a well-known hike, and considered one of the best in the park. The trail descends 2.1 miles through redwood trees, and across Damnation Creek, to a coastal rocky beach. It’s both a diverse and difficult hike…

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Kayaking the Smith River

Kayaking the Smith River

Redwood National Park

Kayaking is a lot of fun…especially when it’s free. Redwood National & State Parks runs a free ranger guided kayak tour on the Smith River, with a limited number of spots available. Sign up early so you don’t miss out! Planning The Smith River is a National Wild & Scenic River, and is the largest free-flowing river system in California. It runs along the park’s northern border, past the town of Hiouchi and Jedediah Smith Campground. The route, which goes…

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Jedediah Smith Campground

Jedediah Smith Campground

Redwood National Park

After a great backpacking trip along Redwood Creek and Tall Trees Grove we drove to our home for the next two nights: Jedediah Smith Campground. The campground is located in Jedediah Smith State Park, at the northern end of Redwood National and State Parks. It’s also just outside Crescent City, which gave us the flexibility to check out some local restaurants during our stay. Glamping, anyone? We reserved our campsite the day it became available so we wouldn’t miss out….

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Backpacking Redwood Creek & Tall Trees

Backpacking Redwood Creek & Tall Trees

Redwood National Park

There are plenty of places to backpack in Redwood National & State Parks. All backcountry camping must be done at designated campsites – except for Redwood Creek, located in southern Redwood National Park. Along the creek, camping on gravel bars is allowed. We only had time to do one backpacking trip in the park, and Redwood Creek was our choice…

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James Irvine and Miner’s Ridge Trails with Fern Canyon

James Irvine and Miner’s Ridge Trails with Fern Canyon

Redwood National Park

We woke up in our campsite at Gold Bluffs Beach in Redwood National & State Parks refreshed and ready to go. Our plan was to hike to the picturesque Fern Canyon, one of the most popular spots in the park. Ferns line its walls and a stream runs through it. Part of Jurassic Park 2 was filmed there due to its primeval appearance. The trail to Fern Canyon is a 12.1 mile loop linking the James Irvine and Miner’s Ridge…

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Gold Bluffs Beach Campground

Gold Bluffs Beach Campground

Redwood National Park

When I heard about Gold Bluffs Beach Campground in Redwood National & State Parks, I immediately wanted to stay there. I pictured myself sitting on the warm sand, soaking up the sun. I had only been to Northern CA once before so…in my mind, it was a combination of camping and a beach vacation. Reserving a campsite at any campground in Redwood can be a challenge. Back in 2017 when we reserved a site for Gold Bluffs, we were online…

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Lyons Ranch Trail

Lyons Ranch Trail

Redwood National Park

Towering redwood trees. That’s what you think of when you come to Redwood National & State Parks. Our first hike in the park though? It would feature no redwoods. Lyons Ranch, a National Historic Site, has an easy 4.5 mile loop trail and features wide open prairies, dramatic views, and historic structures. You can see more than just trees at Redwood N&SP. Lyons Ranch Trail is in a remote section of the park called Bald Hills, near the park’s southeast…

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Dark Hollow Falls and Rose River Loop Trail

Dark Hollow Falls and Rose River Loop Trail

Shenandoah National Park

Rose River in Shenandoah National Park has been on our to-do list for awhile. Several attempts in the past floundered due to laziness or something coming up at the last minute. We’d made it to Mathews Arm Campground for the weekend, so we took the opportunity to finally hike Rose River Loop. The hike is located off Skyline Drive in Shenandoah’s Central District, across from Big Meadows Campground. We decided to make a 5.1 mile loop that included Dark Hollow Falls.

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Mathews Arm Campground

Mathews Arm Campground

Shenandoah National Park

Over the years, we’ve been to Mathews Arm Campground many times. It’s the closest campground in Shenandoah National Park to our home in the DC suburbs. It had been about a year since we had camped there, so we wanted to stay there at least once before the weather cooled off. We considered the campground to be our home-away-from-home since we found it to be well-organized, quiet, and close to hiking trails.

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Backpacking Overall Run & Beecher Ridge Trails

Backpacking Overall Run & Beecher Ridge Trails

Shenandoah National Park

I had been wanting to check out Overall Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park for some time.  At 93 feet, Overall Run Falls is the highest waterfall in the park, but you don’t hear as much about it as other waterfalls like Dark Hollow Falls or White Oak Canyon.  So on a warm spring day, we went to see for ourselves.  We planned for a one-night backpacking trip to see the falls and make a lollipop loop with Overall Run and Heiskell Hollow Trail.  Our plans changed slightly during the hike, and we returned on Beecher Ridge Trail instead of Heiskell Hollow Trail, creating an 11.6 mi lollipop…

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