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Best Hikes, Itinerary and Planning Guide

Best Hikes, Itinerary and Planning Guide

Redwood National Park

Crater Lake National Park was at the top of Kristin’s bucket list for a long time. We started planning a visit, and decided to include Redwood National Park, since it’s relatively close. And we ended up enjoying Redwood more in many ways. Redwood is unique because it’s not just a national park – it also includes three California State Parks: Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek. Managed collectively, they’re known as “Redwood National and State Parks.” The primary mission of…

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Restaurants & Accommodations

Restaurants & Accommodations

Redwood National Park

For us, vacation planning includes making a list of restaurants we’re interested in, along with a rating of how interested we are in each one. Some places turn out to be duds, while others are truly amazing. We’ll visit anything from a hole-in-the-wall to a food truck to the occasional higher end establishment in search of great food. There are no restaurants or lodging (aside from campgrounds) in Redwood National & State Parks. In 2010, Redwood Hostel, previously the only…

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Boy Scout Tree Trail

Boy Scout Tree Trail

Redwood National Park

We were feeling a bit sad on our last full day in Redwood National and State Parks. But we were going to go out with a bang. Our main activity for the day was Boy Scout Tree Trail, a 5.6 mile out-and-back hike located in Jedediah Smith State Park. The trail is gorgeous, and features many old growth redwood trees. A small waterfall, called Fern Falls, makes the turnaround point a scenic lunch spot. Near the end of the trail…

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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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