Redwood National Park - Redwood Creek Hike to Tall Trees Grove
What? : A 15.5 mile
long, out and back, trail along the Redwood Creek river that will take you to Tall
Trees Grove. A location where few years back the Libbey Tree was considered to
be as the tallest trees on earth (368 ft tall).
In a different
hidden location, the Hyperion tree was discovered in 2006, and it is measured
to be 379.7 feet tall (115.7 m), as of now, the tallest tree known to man.
“friendly” short hike option to get to Tall Trees Grove is by getting a day
permit, park 1.5 miles away from the grove and visit Tall Trees Grove with only
a 4.5-mile-long hike.
This location is part of my "Redwood Parks at Northern California Coastline" road-trip suggestions and trip planner blog.
Where? : Redwood Creek trailhead:
From Redwood NP Kuchel Visitor Center, drive north on Highway 101. Pass Orick, turn
right onto Bald Hills Road. After driving 0.4 mile turn right into a park road,
driving additional 0.5 mile and you will arrive to the parking lot and
When? : The long hike
can’t be done during winter month because river flooding that prevent it
If you are
planning to do the day permit visit than this can be done year-round.
temperatures range from 40 to 75F. At summer month morning and evening fog is
common. Winter brings chillier 35 - 55F days. Prepare for rain from November to
Due note 1: You can
complete this 15.5-mile-long out and back hike in one day, no need for hiking
permit as long as you do not stay for the night.
Due note 2: This is the
only place in the Redwood National Park that you can backpack for a night in wilderness
camping. There’s no campground; you can camp anywhere as long as it’s upstream
of the first river crossing and at least a quarter mile away from Tall Trees
Due note 3: The grove is
located much inland, far from the coastline, at cold, foggy summer days on the
coast, here it can be sunny and warm.
My thoughts: One of the
most rewording long Redwood hike I did !
is almost no elevation gain, most of the trail runs along the Redwood Creek,
this was not an easy hike.
Total of almost
16 miles out and back in one day. I was under pressure to finish it on time, so
I had to walk fast.
After 7.5 miles
of hiking along the Redwood Creek you will reach the Tall Trees Grove 1-mile
loop. It is indeed rewording experience, one of the most beautiful Redwood
Groves I visit. As a result of it relatively remote location, long hiking
distance and limited day permits the chance is that you will be here with only
few other people and have the place to yourself.
giants put yourself in perspective, stretching your neck backward looking up
and the trees just does not end.
Of all the
major attractions in Redwood National and State Parks, the Tall Trees Grove is probably
the most difficult to reach, the grove is nested alongside a relatively remote
section of the Redwood Creek River.
To protect the
grove, no more than 50 cars per day are allowed access; free day permits must
be obtained at one of the nearby park visitor centers.
Grove includes the Libbey Tree, which at one time was the world’s tallest known
living thing (368 ft tall). Taller redwoods, with undisclosed location, have
since been found.
There are only two options to
visit Tall Trees Grove:
permit to drive into the National Park Forest Road, from the parking lot at the
end of the road. Total of 4.5 mile out and back hike will take you from the
ridge to Tall Trees Grove at the river.
15.5 miles along the Redwood Creek River, this is out and back trail.
1. Car + short 4.5-mile Hike visit:
Due note 1: plan to spend
at lit half a day if you are visiting here by car (#1), full day hike if you
are taking the long 15 miles hiking option (#2).
Due note 2: You must get on-line
day permit for a Tall Trees Trail.
You can do this
up to four weeks before your visit and at list 2 days before the plan date, the
permit is free of charge.
You will not be
able to apply for same-day permit or when your trip is less than 2 days away.
Due note 4: Plan for a
1-hour drive (including 7-miles on a dirt road) from the visitor center. The
road to the Tall Trees trailhead is a narrow and windy. There is a locked gate
at the road entrance to manage the traffic and to avoid overcrowding.
Due note 4: Come prepared
parking lot the Tall Trees Trail is a 4.5-mile round-trip hike that is
classified as moderate to strenuous. This is due to the steep drop from the
ridge to the river below and climb returning to your vehicle, the trail drops
800 feet in the first 1.5 miles, you need to hike them uphill on your way back
to your car.
2. I did the Redwood Creek hike:
name, Redwood Creek River, the trail itself has few old-growth redwoods, some
are located near the parking-lot, and you will only reach the impressive
redwoods only at the end of your hike.
Because this is
out and back trail, you can hike only section of the trail, most families usually
hike until the first river crossing, 1.5 miles from the parking lot and from
there going back.
The trail itself
is mostly level and well-maintained, so if you can hike for 7–8 hours straight
it’s possible to hike the entire trail in a day.
The first 1.5
mile of this trail is very popular and passes through open forest of
Douglas-Fir and Maple trees, moss-covered trees, and a few small clusters of
this section, you will reach the first river crossing, here most people turn
around and hike back.
crosses Redwood Creek twice, here and right before the Tall Tree Grove.
footbridges are installed sometime in June and removed in September; the
bridges aren’t really needed during this time since the creek is not running deep.
During the winter rains the creek becomes a raging river and can’t be safely crossed.
When you are crossing
the wide river, the view opens up and you can see old-growth redwoods towering
above the layer of regular-height trees, this view gives the perspective and
understanding how tall the redwoods trees are.
The trail continues
heading south at the west bank of the creek, hiking 1 mile from the crossing will
bring you to a side creek and junction with a side trail and possible campsite
(Elam Horse Camp).
you will need to cross old wood bridges over a side-creeks, some bridges are in
bad deteriorating conditions.
Overall, from Elam Horse Camp additional 4.8
miles hike along the river will bring you to the second river crossing, after
passing Camp 44.
opening you can see the tall grove trees in front you.
This redwood grove,
alongside the river, has plenty of water, good soil, and protection from winter
winds. As a result of the good growing conditions here you can find many
redwood trees that exceed 350 feet in height.
The long hike
is reworded by walking among the big redwoods’ trees.
Cross the river
and get into the grove, an 0.9-mile loop trail will take you between the trees.
Just as you
cross the river, at the north end of the grove, a large collection of big trees
grows around this spot. The trail then turns right and to the edge of the
redwoods. The trail then leaves the redwoods section, winding among the big
maples trees that grow alongside the creek banks.
re-enters the redwoods, passing by the incongruously small Libbey Tree before rejoining your access trail.
this grove, you need to hike back all the way to your starting point.