Explore the Majestic California Redwoods

california redwoods

When it comes to natural wonders, few can compare to the beauty and grandeur of the California redwoods. Nestled along the rugged northern coast of the state, the redwood forests are home to some of the tallest and oldest living organisms on Earth. These majestic trees, including coast redwoods and giant sequoias, can reach towering heights of over 370 feet and live for thousands of years.

Protected by Redwood National and State Parks, the California redwoods offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of these ancient forests and learn about their importance in the state’s ecosystem. From scenic drives and peaceful hikes to thrilling adventures and tranquil retreats, there are endless opportunities to explore and experience the magic of the redwoods.

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Key Takeaways:

  • California redwoods are located on the rugged northern coast of the state.
  • The redwood forests are home to coast redwoods and giant sequoias.
  • The trees can reach heights of over 370 feet and live for thousands of years.
  • Redwood National and State Parks protect a significant portion of the ancient forests.
  • Visitors can enjoy scenic drives, peaceful hikes, thrilling adventures, and tranquil retreats in the redwood forests.

Getting to the California Redwoods

The redwoods locations mentioned in this guide cover a lot of territory, roughly from the Avenue of the Giants, which is four hours north of San Francisco, to the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, which is a six or seven hours’ drive.

If you are flying in, the closest international airport is San Francisco’s (SFO). Smaller airports serving Northern California include Crescent City airport (CEC), minutes from Jedediah Smith, and Oregon’s Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport (MFR), three hours from Redwood National and State Parks.

How to Explore the California Redwoods in Two Hours

If you’re short on time, the 32-mile-long Avenue of the Giants offers a great introduction to the amazing coast redwoods of Humboldt County. You can drive along this scenic route and make quick stops at places like the Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center to learn about short outings and nature trails. Founders Grove Nature Loop Trail and Gould Grove Nature Trail are two recommended stops along the way, where you can experience the grandeur of the 300-foot giants.

How to Explore the California Redwoods in One Day

If you have a full day to explore the redwoods, you’re in for an unforgettable experience. Here’s a suggested itinerary to make the most of your time:

  1. Start your day with a delicious breakfast at the Lost Frenchman in Redway. This charming café offers a variety of tasty options to fuel up for your adventure.
  2. Next, make your way to the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree. This unique attraction allows you to drive through a massive redwood tree, creating a memorable photo opportunity.
  3. Afterwards, head to the arts and crafts shops in Miranda. Browse through the local shops and galleries to discover unique souvenirs and handcrafted treasures.
  4. For lunch, stop by the historic Samoa Cookhouse near Eureka. This lumber camp-style eatery serves delicious meals in a rustic setting. While you’re there, take some time to explore the logging museum and learn about the region’s rich timber industry.
  5. In the afternoon, venture into the old-growth redwoods at Redwood National Park’s Lady Bird Johnson Grove. This serene trail meanders through a grove of towering trees, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
  6. Before wrapping up your day, don’t miss a visit to the Kuchel Visitor Center. Here, you can learn more about the redwoods’ ecological significance and conservation efforts.

By following this itinerary, you’ll have the opportunity to experience some of the best the California redwoods have to offer in just one day. Remember to dress comfortably, bring water and snacks, and most importantly, take the time to appreciate the awe-inspiring beauty of these ancient giants.

best redwood hikes california

How to Explore the California Redwoods in a Long Weekend

If you have a long weekend to spend in the California redwoods, you’re in for a treat! There are plenty of activities to enjoy and remote areas to explore. Here are some of the best things to do:

1. Look for Roosevelt Elk at Gold Bluffs Beach

Start your weekend by visiting Gold Bluffs Beach in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Not only will you be greeted by stunning coastal views, but you’ll also have the chance to spot majestic Roosevelt elk grazing along the shores. It’s a fantastic opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

2. Take a Scenic Drive along the Coastal Drive Loop

Embark on a breathtaking scenic drive along the Coastal Drive Loop. This picturesque route will take you through stunning coastal landscapes, offering panoramic views of the ocean and the towering redwoods. Be sure to have your camera ready, as you’ll want to capture the beauty of this coastal paradise.

3. Jet Boat Tour along the Klamath River

For a thrilling adventure, hop aboard a jet boat tour along the Klamath River. Feel the adrenaline rush as the boat speeds through the water, providing you with a unique perspective of the redwood-lined riverbanks. As you glide along, keep an eye out for wildlife and enjoy the serenity of the surrounding nature.

4. Ride the SkyTrail Gondola at Trees of Mystery

Experience the redwoods from a different perspective by taking a ride on the SkyTrail gondola at Trees of Mystery. This scenic aerial tramway will take you high above the forest canopy, providing stunning views of the towering redwoods. It’s a memorable way to take in the grandeur of these magnificent trees.

5. Hike the Boy Scout Tree Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Embark on a rewarding hike along the Boy Scout Tree Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. This moderate trail will lead you through a lush forest of ancient redwoods, allowing you to marvel at their immense size and beauty up close. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the awe-inspiring moments along the way.

6. Visit Fern Falls and Marvel at the Double-Trunked Redwood

No trip to the redwoods would be complete without a visit to Fern Falls. Take a leisurely hike to this picturesque waterfall and be mesmerized by its cascading water and serene surroundings. Along the way, you’ll also have the opportunity to marvel at a unique double-trunked redwood, a natural wonder that is sure to leave you in awe.

best redwood hikes california

The beauty and majesty of the California redwoods await you on your long weekend getaway. Immerse yourself in these ancient forests, breathe in the fresh air, and reconnect with nature. Whether you’re hiking, driving, or simply taking in the sights, the redwoods are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Lose Yourself in the Magic of Sonoma County Redwood Forests

Sonoma County is home to some of the most stunning redwood forests in California, offering a magical experience for nature lovers. One must-visit destination is the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville, where you can immerse yourself in the tranquility of these majestic trees. Take a peaceful hike on the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve Trails and wander through the soulful travel area, surrounded by towering redwoods. It’s a truly enchanting experience that allows you to connect with the beauty of nature.

Another captivating place to explore is the Trione-Annadel State Park, located near Santa Rosa. This park is home to sprawling redwood trees and boasts a diverse array of natural wonders. As you wander through the park, you’ll be awed by the beauty and serenity of the redwood forest, offering a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

Trione-Annadel State Park

  • Discover the sprawling redwood trees
  • Witness the diverse natural wonders of the park
  • Take in the serenity of the redwood forest

These redwood forests in Sonoma County offer a truly magical experience, allowing you to lose yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of these ancient giants. The towering redwoods and peaceful surroundings create a sense of calm and wonder, making it the perfect destination for nature enthusiasts and anyone seeking solace in the embrace of nature.

Sonoma County Redwood Forests

Experience Thrills and Adventures in the Sonoma County Redwoods

Besides hiking and exploring the tranquil beauty of the redwood forests, Sonoma County offers a range of thrilling outdoor activities that will get your adrenaline pumping. From ziplining through the treetops to exploring picturesque landscapes on bikes, there’s something for every adventure seeker.

Ziplining with Sonoma Zipline Adventures

Get ready for a unique and exhilarating experience as you soar through the Sonoma County redwoods with Sonoma Zipline Adventures. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you zip from one aerial platform to another, surrounded by the towering redwoods. It’s an unforgettable way to get a bird’s-eye view of the California redwood forest.

Biking with Getaway Adventures

If you prefer a more laid-back adventure, rent bikes from Getaway Adventures and explore the idyllic landscapes of Sonoma County. Pedal through the scenic Bohemian Highway or take on the challenging King Ridge route. Enjoy the fresh air, stunning views, and the peaceful ambiance of the redwood forests.

outdoor activities in Sonoma County Redwoods

Unwind and Relax in the Redwood Forest Lodges of Sonoma County

Sonoma County is home to charming inns and lodges nestled amidst the redwood forests. Experience true tranquility and rejuvenation as you immerse yourself in the serene surroundings of these majestic trees. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway or a peaceful retreat, the redwood forest lodges of Sonoma County offer a perfect escape.

1. The Grove at Dawn Ranch

Located in Guerneville, The Grove at Dawn Ranch is a hidden gem that offers vintage cabins nestled among the towering redwoods. Cozy up in these rustic yet comfortable accommodations and enjoy the serene atmosphere of the redwood forest. Step outside your cabin and embark on a scenic walk through Armstrong Redwoods, where you can marvel at the magnificence of these ancient giants.

2. Highland Dell Lodge

Situated in Monte Rio, Highland Dell Lodge offers stunning views of the redwoods and the Russian River. Immerse yourself in nature while enjoying modern amenities and a laid-back atmosphere. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverbank or simply relax on the lodge’s outdoor deck surrounded by gorgeous redwood trees, creating the perfect environment for tranquility and relaxation.

redwood forest lodges

3. Korbel Champagne Cellars

No visit to Sonoma County is complete without indulging in some delightful wine tastings. At Korbel Champagne Cellars, you can savor a variety of exquisite wines amidst the beauty of redwood trees. Relax on the outdoor deck, surrounded by the lush greenery of the forest, and enjoy a glass of their renowned champagne. It’s the perfect way to unwind and appreciate the natural splendor of the redwoods.

Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and discover the enchanting world of the redwood forest lodges in Sonoma County. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature, recharge your senses, and create lasting memories amidst the beauty of the California redwoods.

Enjoy Outdoor Recreation in the Redwoods of Sonoma County

In addition to exploring the breathtaking redwoods, Sonoma County offers a wide range of outdoor activities that will delight nature enthusiasts of all kinds. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, there’s something for everyone in this picturesque region.

Play a round of golf surrounded by towering redwoods

Experience the beauty of nature while enjoying a round of golf at Northwood Golf Club. This stunning course is nestled among majestic redwoods, providing a picturesque backdrop for your game. Immerse yourself in the peaceful atmosphere as you navigate the fairways and take in the breathtaking views.

Take a hike in Trione-Annadel State Park

For a truly immersive redwood experience, head to Trione-Annadel State Park. This expansive park is known for its magnificent redwood trees, meadows, and unique volcanic rock formations. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the various trails, taking in the awe-inspiring beauty of the redwoods that surround you along the way.

Experience the tranquility of a forest bath or go horseback riding

If you’re looking for a more unique outdoor experience, consider indulging in a forest bath or going horseback riding. Forest bathing, also known as Shinrin-yoku, is a popular practice that involves immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, and scents of the forest for a calming and rejuvenating experience. Alternatively, explore the beauty of the redwoods from a different perspective by embarking on a horseback riding adventure. Trot through the tranquil forest, taking in the majesty of the towering trees as you ride.

Immerse yourself in the natural splendor of Sonoma County’s redwoods and make lasting memories through these exciting outdoor activities.

Hiking in the California Redwoods

Tips for Visiting and Preserving the California Redwoods

When visiting the California redwoods, it’s important to follow Leave No Trace principles and preserve the delicate ecosystem. Stick to designated trails, pack out any trash, and avoid damaging the trees or their surroundings. Practice sustainable travel and be mindful of the ancient and delicate nature of the redwood forests. By taking these precautions, we can ensure the preservation of these natural wonders for future generations.

Leave No Trace Principles:

  • Stick to designated trails
  • Pack out any trash
  • Avoid damaging the trees or their surroundings

old growth forests

Practice Sustainable Travel:

  • Minimize your carbon footprint by using eco-friendly transportation options
  • Support local businesses and communities
  • Conserve water and energy
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle

Respect the Redwoods:

  • Keep your distance from wildlife and avoid feeding them
  • Do not remove or disturb any plants, rocks, or other natural features
  • Do not carve or graffiti the trees
  • Do not build fires outside of designated areas

By following these tips and being mindful of your impact, you can enjoy the beauty of the California redwoods while preserving them for future generations to admire and cherish.


The California redwoods, including coast redwoods and giant sequoias, are truly extraordinary. These majestic trees, some of the tallest in the world, inspire awe and wonder. Whether you have a few hours, a day, or a long weekend, there are endless opportunities to explore and immerse yourself in the beauty of these ancient giants.

From driving along the scenic Avenue of the Giants to hiking in Redwood National Park, you can witness the grandeur of old growth forests and the enduring strength of sequoia sempervirens. The California redwoods offer a range of activities for nature enthusiasts, from tranquil walks among the trees to thrilling adventures like ziplining through the treetops.

Plan your trip to Redwood National Park and experience the magic of these towering trees. As you marvel at their height and age, be sure to respect their delicate ecosystem. By following Leave No Trace principles and practicing sustainable travel, we can help preserve these remarkable natural wonders for future generations to enjoy.


Where are the California redwoods located?

The California redwoods are located on the rugged northern coast of California, covering a large area from the Avenue of the Giants to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

How tall can the California redwoods grow?

The California redwoods, including coast redwoods and giant sequoias, can reach heights of over 370 feet, making them some of the tallest living organisms on Earth.

How long do California redwoods live?

California redwoods can live for thousands of years, making them some of the oldest living organisms on Earth.

What is the best way to see the redwoods in California?

The best way to see the redwoods in California is by visiting the Redwood National and State Parks, where you can explore the ancient forests and experience their beauty firsthand.

What is the difference between redwoods and sequoias?

The main difference between redwoods and sequoias is their species. Redwoods, also known as coast redwoods or Sequoia sempervirens, are found along the northern California coast. Giant sequoias, or Sequoiadendron giganteum, are found in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

What kills redwood trees?

Redwood trees can be killed by various factors, including disease, fire, logging, and climate change. It is important to protect and preserve these trees to ensure their survival.

Where can I find the tallest redwoods in California?

Some of the tallest redwoods in California can be found in Redwood National and State Parks, including locations like Avenue of the Giants and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

What are some of the best hikes in the California redwoods?

Some of the best hikes in the California redwoods include the Founders Grove Nature Loop Trail, Gould Grove Nature Trail, Boy Scout Tree Trail, and Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail.

Are there famous redwood trees in California?

Yes, there are several famous redwood trees in California, including the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree by volume in the world, located in Sequoia National Park.

How can I preserve the California redwoods?

To preserve the California redwoods, it is important to follow Leave No Trace principles, stick to designated trails, pack out any trash, and avoid damaging the trees or their surroundings. Also, supporting conservation efforts and sustainable travel practices can help protect these magnificent forests.

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