Coast Redwood Hiking, Adventures and
Redwoods Photography. Look Up for the Menu!
Updated October, 2016
by Mario D. Vaden
Welcome! If you are heading for the coast redwoods, this is a good place to begin. The menu is loaded, located at the top of of the page page above the header image, or the side, depending on your device or browser width.
Choose from over 200 pages categorized by subject. More redwood articles are added in the REDWOOD BLOG.
The most essential topics are in the menu under must-see, lodging, park visitor centers and hiking. Just start under the essential tab.
Images top & right: header above is Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith coast redwood park. To the right, a woman leans on a large coast redwood in Redwood National Park. A few artistic photos for size and scale are at giant coast redwoods
Content here began years ago with a single page about one Grove of Titan Coast Redwoods and grew to over 200 individual pages plus the album and redwood blog.
In 2014, a large page was added about new largest coast redwood discoveries after more redwood titans were found. Coast redwood now surpasses all known giant sequoias for trunk circumference and exceeds 1321 point General Sherman by no less than 40 points.
This site is one of the best representations of what to anticipate in the Coast Redwoods. The redwood forest with the tallest redwoods, tallest trunk, largest coast redwoods and widest redwood trunk. I am not a "redwood guide" on paper, but have enhanced redwood adventures for a few people. See redwood guide tours.
Many largest redwoods are undisclosed but the parks will share a few like Boyscout redwood or others like the Big coast redwood and Giant coast redwood (14 and 15) listed under redwood giants in the menu. Other largest 15 coast redwoods each have a page. The coast redwood park visitor centers can direct you to tall 300' - 350' redwoods in several parks. Start in essentials and work out from there. It should be simple to navigate. I have not spotted Bigfoot, but did encounter a Redwood Fairy. There are pages from the menu about unusual coast redwoods as well as various largest coast redwoods. I also post on Facebook.
Coast Redwoods Defined
Coast Redwood is the only known living species of the genus Sequoia in the cypress family Cupressaceae. Common names are coast redwood, coastal redwood and California redwood. It's botanical name is Sequoia sempervirens, and it may be accurate to call one a "sequoia", or "sequoias" for several. But "giant sequoia is generally a name reserved for Sequoiadendron giganteum.
Coast Redwoods are evergreen and monoecious with male and female reproductive parts on the same tree. Maximum age can exceed 2300 years. It is the tallest species, exceeding 380 feet and 29 feet diameter at breast height (dbh). The species exceeds all known giant sequoia for girth at dbh, diameter chest-high.
Image: Battery Point lighthouse, near Crescent City and Jedediah Smith redwood park
The foliage leaves are needles about 1 inch long with pointed tips and white stripes beneath. But foliage higher up in older coast redwoods may be much smaller and somewhat awl-shaped. If nominated to American Forests, coast redwood would exceed General Sherman's (Sequoiadendron) 1321 points by a substantial margin. Coast Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens, has a natural range along the northern California and extreme southwestern Oregon coast.
There are man-made coast redwood groves or forests, including one in New Zealand.
Mobile vs. Computer
This main redwood page was the only one optimized for mobile devices. With other pages intended for computer viewing . Personally, I liked the old archaic layout better, and recently reverted most of this page back to the old code style. It also enables easier page updates with the software, so this should be a step forward. The menu and first few paragraphs should continue to resize on small device screens.
Image: Avenue of the Giants passest through Humboldt Redwoods State Park
This page and menu cover mostly redwood parks of Northern California. Read about lodging, camping, redwood hiking, visitor centers, redwood photography, redwood explorers and canopy researchers. There are reams of redwood photos.
The bigger your screen, the better to view these coast redwood photos. Its amazing how much life gets sucked out of redwood photos viewing on phones. My comments for redwood trails are in the menu under hiking, listed under 5 park names, plus an extra link to redwoodhikes.com. Compare my trail reviews with that one.
There are over 300 Coast Redwood photos in the blog, album, other pages, and the Redwood Mini Pics page.
Redwood Parks Differ in Character
The 15 largest coast redwoods (2013) are included because most visitors will never see them, as well as Hyperion the tallest redwood (2006), discovered at Redwood National Park.
The tallest of the tall and the largest of the large are dispersed throughout Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Redwood National and State Parks, with the exception of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. Otherwise, all of the parks have an abundance of extremely tall coast redwoods and lots of very big ones too.
Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park has some big redwoods but is often more noted for Damnation Creek trail leading to the ocean, foggy redwoods and Rhododendron blossoms in spring.
Most superlatives are not destinations. Those coast redwoods and others are in menu option Redwood Giants, along with other Awesome & Big coast redwoods. A few may be landmarks.
When it comes to the absolute largest coast redwoods, you don't need to hunt those down for an amazing visit. There are so many big redwoods in the park, that even the greatest among them can blend in.
Image: jumping into the Smith River upstream from Jedediah Smith redwoods. View from "Slant Bridge" after turning off Hy. 199.
The north parks of Humboldt and Del Norte are where coast redwoods grow over 380 ft. tall and over 29 ft. wide. The area stretches through Crescent City, Klamath, Orick, Eureka and Meyers Flat.
That area has five large coast redwood parks with old growth forest and trails. Each coast redwood park is different. Jedediah Smith seems more Jurassic, Redwood National may feel like a Wilderness, and Humboldt Redwoods looks more spacious in the understory. Prairie Creek has so much lush vegetation it can almost feel tropical.
The redwoods are over 100 ft. taller than Muir Woods.
Four parks managed as Redwood National and State Parks account for 133,000 acres. Those are Redwood National Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.
Image: Richardson Grove visitor center, south of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, north of Garberville.
pproximately 30 minutes south of Eureka, is Humboldt Redwoods State Park with over 50,000 acres and Rockefeller Forest. That park containing the Avenue of the Giants is managed separately and has its own visitor center.
90% of people should find a good lead here about coast redwood travel. Photos include Jedediah Smith redwoods, Avenue of the Giants, Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods and Redwood National Park. The emphasis remains on Coast Redwoods. But a few images from local communities are added.
There are 8 coast redwoods over 370 feet tall (2013). Four are in Redwood National Park and four are in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Visitor centers will not provide maps to those, but can direct you to redwoods well over 300 feet tall around Avenue of the Giants, Bull Creek Flats, Howland Hill Rd. and Redwood National Park.
Most largest Coast Redwoods are not landmark features like giant sequoias with signs, rails and fences. But the park visitor centers can show you maps to a lot of very large and interesting coast redwoods.
Again, each redwood park has its own character, and they are all worth visiting on your vacation.
It's Not Just Redwoods
The Redwood Coast is not merely tall and giant Coast Redwoods. It has beaches, rivers, lagoons, prairies, harbors, lighthouses, campgrounds, art galleries, trails and forests.
Image: strolling through Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
I made an effort to show this in the photo album and pages. There is horseback riding, kayaaking, fishing and marathons like one in Avenue of the Giants. Add festivals, the Ferndale kenetic sculpture contest and several breweries.
For car buffs, attend the Sea Cruise auto show yearly, October, in Crescent City. Down in Klamath, there's smoked Salmon, jet boat tours up the river. and the overlook of the Klamath River, where whales can be spotted.
If you are looking for variety, the redwood coast will offer it. Links for researcher Dr. Sillett Canopy at HSU and explorer Michael Taylor used to be provided, but Sillett removed his canopy photos and Taylor removed his landmarktrees site altogether. The removals were shortly after someone (anonymous) gave away a few undisclosed locations of research related redwoods.
Note: I'm not a redwood guide ... but have met various people from other countries, for hiking, photography and exploring in the coast redwoods.
Most small clckable Redwood Mini Photos were moved to their own page. This is separate from the coast redwood albums, although a few may be similar images.
Image: Lupine blooming near Bald Hills Rd. above Redwood National Park. This photo is from April.
Coast Redwood Hiking & Maps
Use the top menu for my reviews of popular coast redwood trails, official park maps and visitor center contact numbers. They are in the hiking and maps option.
My reviews are listed under:
- Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
- Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
- Redwood National Park
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Another excellent coast redwood trail website is provided from the menu, called redwoodhikes.com. Our reviews are not identical. Read both and compare. redwoodhikes.com may whack a rating for traffic sound more than I do. My emphasis is different. I think both of our redwood trail reviews combined will offer you more.
Image: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park near the visitor center. This is the approach to 3 hiking trails. James Irvine trail, Westridge trail and Prairie Creek trail.
I recall seeing redwoodwoodhikes.com maps at the parks visitor center racks. Take a look, those redwood trail maps are worth the purchase. To avoid re-inventing the wheel, I limit being repetitive, adding content when I feel the trail should be described differently or with added emphasis.
redwoodhikes.com is worth 5 stars for redwood hiking destinations, photos, trail ratings, detailed maps and mre. See the 2nd menu next to the hiking heading. I refer to that site for my own adventures.
If you need a good "shot in the arm" but can't go much beyond San Francisco, Muir Woods National Monument and Coast Redwoods is an option in Marin County.
Compared to the north coast redwood parks, Muir Woods's redwoods are smaller, but it has plenty of character. The small park 12 miles north of San Fran has 554 acres with 240 acres of old growth. For comparison, that's about 1% the size of Humboldt Redwoods State Park south of Eureka. Or about 10% the size of Forest Park on Portland's west side to give you some idea.
Image: the One Log Truck along Avenue of the Giants. Often parked outside a very nice gift shop
Muir Woods' tallest redwood is under 270 ft. tall, whereas Humboldt and Del Norte have tallest over 350 ft. to 370 ft. If redwoodhikes.com implemented a "serenity scale" to rank Muir Woods for hiking, it could end up as just 1/2 star some days. Let me quote the park's July site alert to clarify:
"Take the Muir Woods Shuttle. Weekends are the busiest time for Muir Woods. Parking limited. Muir Woods is experiencing high numbers of visitors. Traffic and unsafe parking behaviors are adding stress to visitors and residents. Expect delays on Hwy 1 as people drive to and from Muir Woods and local beaches."
Again, Muir Woods may give you that shot in the arm, unless you find the stress. Maybe Muir Woods could be compared to pharmaceutical commercials with disclaimer warnings, and Redwood National and State Parks compared to natural food stores.
Exploring the Coast Redwoods
After many of my own redwood trips, I suggest for travelers from afar to consider lodging reservations rather than camping to get more out of adventure and cover more ground. It buys time, not just a room. If your time is limited, you can skip camping setup, drying tents and waiting for showers.
Coast redwood camping is a lot of fun, but if the forest will take care of you, get a motel or bed & breakfast room. It also provides a place to keep items that may leave you biting your nails about leaving in a car or tent.
Image: Crescent City harbor sunset
Coast redwoods provide hikes and drives ... even swimming. Expect park staff & rangers to be helpful. The rangers at the redwood visitor centers are indispensable.
My time in the redwoods is hiking, camping, photography and exploring. The redwoods are an outdoor museum which led to interesting conversations, new friends around the world, and a few world record discoveries. It's a recreation overlapping my work and education. It literally changed my life, leading me into professional photography also.
Image: Grieg-French-Bell grove at Avenue of the Giants.
Keep in mind that north California has the best places to see redwoods. Oregon has just a little for old growth redwoods and trails. Places to the south like Big Basin and Montgomery Woods are very lovely too, but the coast redwoods of Del Norte and Humboldt are in a league of their own.
The biggest list of giant and tallest coast redwoods discovered over the years came from two men who explored for decades: Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. They explored alone and with others. Their discoveries provided much of what Dr. Steve Sillett at HSU, researched some years.
Image: Bull Creek Flats in Humbolt coast redwoods
At least in the United States, Michael Taylor's coast redwood exploring almost reminds me of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Michael had the benefit of returning home and certainly didn't face certain dangers that the Corp of Discovery met. But Michael spend years of his life exploring most of the coast redwood parks in California, treading through the wilderness beyond the trails. Read more about: Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor.
Taylor is an interesting fellow, a mechanical engineer who is expert with species ID and forests, understanding algebra and trigonometry. He has an appreciation for gadgets and drones. In June 2011, Michael Taylor, Chris Atkins and myself broadened exploration into Southern Oregon and the Sierra Nevada, adding pines and Douglas fir to the coast redwood adventures.
2008 to 2016 provided opportunities to explore with Michael Taylor, Chris Atkins, Dr. Robert Van Pelt and Dr. Steve Sillett, in Redwood National and State Parks. The days were vigorous and memorable. Part time, during 2 years, there was opportunity to work, locating and measuring tall redwoods related to LIDAR.
After 2014, a few of us invested more of our energy again into the coast redwoods and found some remarkable new champion redwoods. See Discovery under Redwood Giants in the menu to find out more.
Restaurants & Lodging
Here are some restaurant & motels. for dining and lodging in Humboldt and Del Norte counties of Northern California. Most are are clean, affordable and comfortable options.
One motel is in Grants Pass.
Curly Redwood Lodge CRESCENT CITY on Highway 101. Near food & shopping. 5 minutes from Redwood park.Huge rooms. This is the one I stay at most often. Several of my photo prints are in the main lobby.
The covered parking of the Curly Redwood Lodge is a treat when there is fog or rain. There is a restaurant directly across the street, and a couple more just a few minutes walk to the north.
Image: large coast redwood in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
Arcata Stay ARCATA. ,,, Upscale Arcata California Lodging accommodations. The only Lodging Network in Arcata with an Excellence Rating by Tripadvisor. The 8 Stays are walking distance to Humboldt State University and downtown.
Discovery Inn EUREKA. First stay at this motel was 2012. Comparable value to Motel 6 nearby. Its a coin toss. Clean room and bath. Fridge and WIFI. Convenient location. On Broadway / Highway 101
Bayview Motel EUREKA. Not a budget motel. On hill overlooking the town and bay. First stay was with two other explorers. We got a 2 Queen Suite & adjoining single King. Nice balcony on 2nd floor
Redwood Hyperion Motel GRANTS PASS, Oregon. If you need a place close to I-5. An extra stepping stone to to Jedediah Smith redwoods if you are too tired for 2 extra road hours to Crescent City
The lobby has snacks, beverage coolers, coffee most of the day and a computer for internet browsing. A new Hyperion Suites addition named after the tallest redwood. Swimming and nice landscaping
Humboldt Redwoods Inn GARBERVILLE. Liked the convenience of this motel right at the turn around for downtown, and close proximity to restaurants, grocery and fuel. South end of town.
Historic Hiouchi Cafe HIOUCHI / CRESCENT CITY. Located in the quant community of Hiouchi, almost adjacent to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and Smith River. Along redwood highway 199.
More motels, inns, lodging and restaurants continued > Redwood Vacation Lodging
Redwood Parks and Visitor Centers
Redwood National and State Parks visitors centers are perfect for specific questions beyond what I wrote on pages here. Questions like:
dates are camping reservations available?
- Wedding permits - where can we get one?
- How do I get a camping permit for Redwood National
- Is Howland Hill Road open? Map to Fern Canyon?
Links for the Redwoods Parks and Visitors Centers
List of Redwood Park Information Centers & phone
Current Conditions information updates
Image: Redwood Sorrel and Coast Redwoods at Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Humboldt Redwoods State Park -- this park's camping and hiking is managed separately from Redwood National and State Parks above. Humbold Redwoods State Park info can be found at ...
Humboldt Redwoods State Park Information
Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association
Here's where I'm at on Photography Workshops ...
Down the road, I hope to offer workshops in the Coast Redwood parks. My strength leans toward composition and picking the right location for time of day or weather.
Certainly I can't be the sharpest tool in the drawer, but I looked at workshop pages of some other photographers, and realized I like many of my own photos better.
I did my first workshop, September, 2016, near Crescent City, in a county redwood park that didn't require the state park photographer permit. It went smoothly and I hope to make more available.
If photographers contact me with a request for help getting around in the redwoods for photography, I will entertain the idea, maybe even deal with the Redwood National and State Parks permit.
If you need comfort of photographng with someone who knows the lay of the land, drop a note and maybe we can arrange something.
Image: Howland Hill Rd. in Jedediah Smith park
To Professional Photographers ...
Technically, the parks require permits for some photography. If you call the visitor center at Crescent City or the permit coordinator they can clarify this.
If your equipment is compact like camera, tripod and backpack, no permit should be required for landscape photography and redwoods.
If you plan to use a model for commercial use, that may need a permit, but could be a "grey area" too. I say this, becaue if a typical visitor poses two family members to add to a Flickr album or Instagram, that's as much portfolio-building as one photographer with one person posing by the same coast redwood. Stands or reflectors may be commercial photography from their point of view. Photography workshops need a permit and insurance (maybe why many photographers go under the radar)
Most landscape scenic photography does not require a permit, even if you sell prints.
A group of friends or photographers gettting together with cameras and tripods should not need a permit. I do not think rules can prohibit donations outside parks after recreational photos.
My own work is a combination of photography and artistic. Ansel Adams did likewise with film camera and darkroom. My work is digital camera and computer. I want to emphasize that my images are not what the camera captured, but the potential from what was captured.
Wish you well on your photography adventures !!
Image: sunrise at Howland Hill Rd. in Jedediah Smith redwood park. Known as "God Rays"
Photography Tips for
IMO ... the wet season, October - June, is best for redwood photography:
- View corridors are more numerous because deciduous leaves have fallen
- Rain moistens needles intensifying colors.
- Rain washes dust off leaves of ferns and
- The color of moss intensifies
- Lichens on trunks revive size and texture
- Colorful fungi and mushrooms are more abundant
Other Photo Stuff
North California and Redwoods Virtual Photography PIck a 360 degree tour
Images by Lowell Cottle Redwoods, birds and more.
North Coast Photos with Redwoods North Coast
Redwood Image Archaeology Redwood Post Card and Image Archive.
Dr. Van Pelt the Artist. Scientist, and author of Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast.
Image: Trillium Falls trail in Redwood National Park. A fairy girl from Humboldt
Redwood information, facts
Redwood Education Guide Nearly 100 pages. For those who want to learn about coast redwood community and help others.
Provides human history of famous redwoods region, science to coast redwood ecosystem, how to conduct a field trip to a redwood park, lessons for a park visit.
Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Along the Eel River, Humboldt Redwoods State Park has over 53,000 acres, old-growth redwoods. 250 camp sites, 100 miles of hiking, biking, riding trails
Redwood Parks Association Established to assist California State Parks. Educational & Interpretive.
The Redwood Park Association merged with North Coast Redwood Interpretive Association. Both have a history funding interpretive staff, events, exhibits, signs, and publications
Redwood Profile by Flower Essence Society. Coast Redwood is Sequoia sempervirens
Highway 199 ~ Redwood Highway Check out the Coast Redwoods Information and Map option too. Hy 199 is the main travel
corridor between Redwood National Park and Crater Lake National Par
Sequoia sempervirens And informative page on Coast Redwoods with info and photos
Coast Redwood and Giant Sequioia: Compare Coast Redwood with Giant Sequoia at Wikipedia.
Exploring, Guides, Tours & Fun
M. D. Vaden & Redwoods Time in the Coast Redwoods with Mario Vaden, aka M. D. Vaden... Exploring and Photography ... Exploring as time permits. Available to those who have a huge appreciation for coast redwoods. Friendly adventure.
Redwood Adventures REDWOOD ADVENTURES has tours, hiking, more. Orick. Family vacation, romantic holiday, wedding. retreats. Full hospitality to visitors of Redwood parks. They know how to cook
The Redwood Coast Nature Guide Jenny Hanson, naturalist and nature guide for the Redwood Coast. Guided trips for individuals, families, and groups, including people with physical limitations.
Local naturalist services to bus tours, conventions and large groups. Based in Eureka. Services from Humboldt Redwoods State Park in the south to Jedediah Smith State Park and Crescent City in the north
Custom Ceramic Murals CERAMIC MURALS & TOUR. See link for more info. Look for Public Murals. This custom artwork is available for public viewing throughout parts of Crescent City.
FYI - the Guide site www.gilbertredwoodexcursions.com is inactive. But Redwood Ed as he's called, is still out and about,. His site www.redwood-ed.com is operational
3 JETBOAT TOURS
Gifts & Souvenirs
Burl n' Drift 28101 Avenue of the Giants. Family owned and operated since 1967. Quality Redwood Souvenirs .... one of the best redwood gift shops
A the Ancient Redwoods RV Park and home of the Hollow Log Truck When you park, look for the Immortal Redwood
Redwoods RV Resort RV, tent and cabin camping under soaring Sitka Spruce, Douglas fir and Coast Redwoods.
KOA Redwoods Campground - Crescent City, California. 17 forested acres
Ancient Redwoods RV Park Home of the Hollow Log Truck in Redcrest. This is near Founders grove a mile north of Redcrest, California, on the world famous Avenue of the Giants.
The Immortal Redwood stands in view.
This is also in close proximity to Founders Grove, Rockefeller Forest and Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center.
Riverwalk RV Park Fortuna. Campground by the Eel River. Immaculate. Cabins, RV and Tent camping.
M. D. Vaden Cargo Trailer Conversion One version of cargo trailer camping. A growing trend in do-it-yourself camping
Drive Through Redwoods Page about the 3 Drive Through Redwoods: Chandelier, Shrine and Tour-Thru
Drive Through Redwood Leggett Chandelier drive-thru redwood. Gift shop. Dawn to dusk. Best looking of the 3 drive-though.
Drive Through Redwoods Information USDA & Forest Service pages about the drive through redwoods.
Redwood Giants to Redwood Book
The genesis of this coast redwood content began years ago as one single page about the Grove of Titans . Like yearly growth rings, it expanded.
Eventually, I found the desire to work on a coast redwood photo album book to express my redwood adventures, weaving adventures, education and images. In 2016, I designed a small photo album book called Coast Redwood Adventures.
It's petite, and more of a photo album book with a few words to tell about the photos. These are hard cover and I hope to sign most of them. The Curly Redwood Lodge may have one near the lobby. Very few will be printed. This is testing the waters for something bigger someday.
It also has the first top-to-bottom photo of Hyperion ever published.
To read more about the photo album book or order, see:
Coast Redwood Adventures by Mario Vaden
Prints & Canvas by M. D. Vaden
For anyone interested, my prints or canvas hang for sale at three art galleries. Two connected to the Redwood Coast Art Association are in Crescent City, and share the same site link. The other one is in the Rogue Valley.
Recently, I ordered a 40 inch x 60 inch canvas print of a new coast redwood discovery, one of the widest coast trunk views ever photographed. It may be for sale in one of those galleries or a local business wall. The following image is one I have in mind to print as 14 in. x 14 in. canvas to hang in the Crescent Harbor Art Gallery or Second Street Art Gallery at 2nd & L St.
A stand of coast redwoods exhibiting blue foliage, viewed between the bokeh of red huckleberry on the left and evergreen huckleberry on the right.