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.

Another more “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.

Link to the 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 trailhead.

Google Map Link


When? : The long hike can’t be done during winter month because river flooding that prevent it crossing!

If you are planning to do the day permit visit than this can be done year-round.

Summer 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 May.


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 Grove.


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 !

Although there 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.

Walking among giants put yourself in perspective, stretching your neck backward looking up and the trees just does not end.


The visit:


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.

Tall Trees 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:

1.      Get 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.

2.      Hike 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.


Due note 3: Plan your visit ahead!

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 for hiking.

From the 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:

Despite its 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 old-growth redwoods.

After hiking this section, you will reach the first river crossing, here most people turn around and hike back.


The trail crosses Redwood Creek twice, here and right before the Tall Tree Grove.

Seasonal 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).

Keep hiking, 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.

From this 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.

The trail re-enters the redwoods, passing by the incongruously small Libbey Tree before rejoining your access trail.


After enjoying this grove, you need to hike back all the way to your starting point.