A visit to California must include visiting the majestic Redwoods of California. California is known for its beautiful beaches, celebrities, and technology era. But these are not the only things that the Golden State is well-known for. It is a must California bucket list item.
California has some of the most majestic redwood trees in the world. Redwoods are those skyscraper-like trees with an almost eerie green color, standing tall above everyone else in the forest.
Redwood trees can be magical and stunning in their greatness. They make you feel small, humble, and energized at the same time. And people travel from all over the world to see these primeval giants.
California is also home to these tallest living things, and you’ll find many healthy redwood groves here. Plus, there are benefits to visiting these redwood trees. The air is fresh and hiking in these redwood groves can be refreshing. Here are the 9 best places to see redwoods in California:
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9 Best Places to See Redwoods of California
- Redwoods National and State Parks
The Redwood National and State Parks is the perfect place to see thousands of redwood groves in northern California. This park system protects and preserves around half of the remaining coast redwood forests. What’s great about this park system is that it consists of four redwood parks. So, you can spend days at these parks that have over 100 miles of hiking trails.
It is free to visit any of these parks except for Gold Bluffs Beach and Fern Canyon. It is only $8 but included with the national park passes. But the Fern Canyon is a must-see; a canyon filled with ferns growing as high as 50 feet. Also, observe the Roosevelt Elk grazing near the Elk Prairie Campground.
- Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is the oldest state park in California so you’re sure to see the oldest coast redwoods in this park. Come here to experience the numerous waterfalls surrounded by these redwood giants. Some of these trees aging up to 1800 years old existed before the Roman Empire!
The park is in Boulder Creek inside Santa Cruz County. There’s a $10 vehicle fee to visit but the redwood groves and the Pacific Ocean make it more than worth it.
- Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is known not just for its old-growth redwoods that span 40 acres but also for its various natural environments – sandhills, riparian, and grasslands. Also located in Santa Cruz County, this park is in Felton – just half an hour away from Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
While at this park, make sure to explore the Fall Creek Unit – a redwood forest with creeks, tiny waterfalls, and a river canyon rimmed with fern. There’s also a famous swimming hole known as the Garden of Eden in the San Lorenzo River. There’s a $10 vehicle fee.
- Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a 53,000-acre park with one-third of the park containing the largest forest of ancient coat redwood trees remaining on Earth. It’s located in Weott, 4 hours north of San Francisco and it’s free to visit. There are many trails to go hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
- Avenue of the Giants
Located inside of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Avenue of the Giants is a highly recommended scenic drive that is also free to drive through. Pick up an Auto Tour brochure at either entrance (North or South) and enter through this 32-mile highway.
Apart from traveling through redwood trees, you can also stop at various sites for trails, redwood souvenirs, and redwood attractions including drive-through trees, and walk into treehouses.
- Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Located in Big Sur, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is known for having a variety of attractions: redwoods, a waterfall, and cliffs that provide refreshing Pacific Ocean views. Walkthrough redwood groves that are 2500+ years old and are 300 feet tall. View the scenic McWay Falls that is 80 feet high and flows right into the Pacific Ocean.
This Monterey County park is free to enter as well. Since this park is near the Pacific Ocean, the weather can be unpredictable. Wearing layers helps to make sure you’re comfortable in any weather that coastal California offers.
- Trees of Mystery
Trees of Mystery is an amusement park located in Klamath, 6 hours north of San Francisco. It’s right off Hwy 101 and you will see the park because of its 35-feet statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe, his bull. At this park, you get to hike 5 different trails through redwoods and photograph about 15 mysterious-looking trees.
Each trail is unique; walk on suspension bridges at canopy level, ride a 10-minute gondola up 1570 feet, explore a trail full of carved-out tree sculptures, and more! This park is $20 per person but a highly recommended place to visit for an unforgettable redwoods experience!
- Portola Redwoods State Park
Portola Redwoods State Park is a 2800-acre park filled with redwood trees that’s secluded enough for you to not hear any city noises from the Bay Area. This park is in La Honda and has a $10 vehicle fee. Located in the park, Peter’s Creek Grove is one of the quietest groves you’ll ever come across.
There are 18 miles filled with trails, creeks, ferns, waterfalls, and huckleberries – all among the redwood trees. Before you exit the park, take a relaxing stop at the visitor center. The visitor center has a fireplace and couches so take a break there or read the interpretive displays and diorama.
- Muir Woods National Monument
Living or exploring San Francisco for the day? The Muir Woods National Monument is just 12 miles away from San Francisco. This park is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area so you can plan a scenic redwood + Golden Gate trip.
The Muir Woods National Monument has 240 acres of old-growth coast redwoods. This park is managed by the National Park Service, so it’s included in any national park passes that you have; otherwise, it’s $15 per person. A great way to see the Muir Woods is on a tour of the Muir Woods and wine country.
Tips Before Visiting the Redwoods of California
While visiting the redwoods can be an amazing experience, make sure to follow these tips to ensure safety for you and wildlife:
- When driving around the redwoods area, you’ll come across foggy weather. Drive with caution and switch on your vehicle headlights. This will help prevent hitting any wildlife that might run across the roads.
- Network access may be limited so have another alternative in hand in case of no cell phone access. Carry the official park map or/and download Google’s offline maps for the park and its surrounding area.
- Do not walk on unknown trails. Hiking on the park’s trails helps protect wildlife and nature.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Places to See Redwoods of California
You might have some questions about California’s redwoods. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about redwoods:
What’s the difference between sequoias and redwoods?
Sequoia trees have large trunks, and their wood has a coarser texture while redwood trees are taller with thinner trunks. You’ll find sequoia trees in the western Sierra Nevada in the central California region. You’ll find redwood trees growing along the northern California coast near the Pacific Ocean.
Are sequoias better than redwoods?
Hiking around sequoias and hiking around redwoods are two different experiences Redwood forests are in lower elevation and have more moist and foggy weather surrounding it. While sequoia forests grow on a higher elevation surrounded by drier and sunnier weather with snow in the winter. If you want to see giant trees with the possibility of snow and you’re exploring the southern California region, head to the sequoias. If you want to see tall trees, desire solitude and you’re exploring the northern California region, head to the redwoods.
Where is the best place to see the giant redwoods in California?
Any redwood grove that you come across offers you a magical experience to be among the giants. If you’re looking for THE best place to see the giant redwoods in California, then it’s Redwood National and State Parks. Since this park system consists of 4 parks, you can be completely immersed in the redwoods experience for days or even weeks!
What is the best time/month to visit the redwood forest?
Because of its mild weather, these redwood forests are enjoyable to visit anytime. But the best time to visit is during the summer. We visited Redwood National and State Parks in July and while it was in the 80s-90s Fahrenheit in the Bay Area, the park was in the 50s-60s the whole time. If you prefer less to no crowds, you can visit during the winter months, but it will be wetter and cooler.
Conclusion: Best Places to See Redwoods in California
The California Redwoods are one of the oldest living organisms on earth. Plus, the redwood belt of California’s coast is home to some of the world’s biggest and most impressive trees.
Redwood trees have survived so much – fires, earthquakes, storms, and more. It almost makes you wonder how something that old could still stand! Plan your next California redwoods trip with this list of the nine best places to see redwoods in California.
Author: Rasika of Bae Area and Beyond