Redwood National and State Parks

You can just see the Redwood forest from the beach.
You can just see the Redwood forest from the beach.

After seeing the Sequoias (biggest trees by volume), Adam and I wondered if the Coastal Redwoods (tallest trees) would stack up. While they are also beautiful and the beach near the trees is stunning, I’d say the Sequoias have the slight edge in awesomeness. We spent one night in the park, and did a small hike and a great bike ride to the beach. Jump to the park or our trip.

The Coastal Redwoods are not quite Sequoia sized but still quite impressive.
The Coastal Redwoods are not quite Sequoia sized but still quite impressive.

The official park map
A tiny version of the official park map with the National and State parks.

The Park: The Redwoods State and National Parks are actually three state parks and a national park that are in the same area and are collectively managed. The state parks (Prairie Creek, Jedidiah Smith, and Del Norte) were formed first, then the national park was added later, to fill in the spaces in and around the parks and make one big consolidated park. Your national park pass will get you into all areas, but you’ll still have to pay $35 a night to camp. There are campsites in each of the parks, though the official National park area only has two backcountry campgrounds.

Since the parks are centrally managed, you can grab any free maps you need at any visitors center. The state park map for Prairie Creek was most helpful, since it had relatively detailed hiking and biking trail maps.

While at the park, we saw a variety of wildlife, most of which were too fast to photograph, such as very friendly Steller’s (blue) Jays and chipmunks. I hoped to spot my first elk, but only saw a few deer. We learned that you can tell the redwoods by their soft spongy bark, which is reddish in color. (Just like some beards you may have seen around here…)

We also saw some slower-moving plant and animal life. The combination of ferns and huge trees felt a little prehistoric.

In the forest, we saw flowers, ferns, snails, and slugs. The combination of ferns and huge trees felt a little prehistoric.
In the forest, we saw flowers, ferns, snails, and more banana slugs.
Home sweet home.
Home sweet home.

Our Adventure: We showed up at the park on Friday morning, and there were only about 5 spots left at the Prairie Creek campground. We lucked out with a great campsite tucked back under the redwoods.

We hiked for about an hour up and down the Rhododendrom Trail through the forest. Like the other coastal hikes we’ve done, the climate was quite humid. The hike through the forest was well marked and was not strenuous. After maybe half hour out, though, we just weren’t feeling it and took a short-cut home on Cal Barrel Road. We were surprised to find that walking on the road through the forest was better, because we didn’t have to watch our feet as closely and we could get a better perspective on the trees.

Adam on a wider section of the trail
Adam on a wider section of the trail

After we got back to camp, we decided to ride our bikes over to the beach to check out the ocean edge of the park. The park has a number of trails that allow bikes. We took the Davison Trail to the Streelow Creek Trail (the hard part) back to Davison road. The Streelow part is on a narrow path through the forest. The elevation was reasonably challenging, which for me means I used almost all my gears, and as an added bonus, the path was narrow and beginning to be overgrown by plants. After that section, the path returned to dirt and paved roads out to the beach.

It would have been fun to stay here and explore more of the back country hikes, but we were in a hurry to get to Portland and meet up with Adam’s parents. Overall, it was a great stop, especially for the biking we did, but was one of our least favorite parks so far.

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