Redwood National Parks - Tall Trees Grove Hike


What? :

The “famous” Tall Trees Grove has plenty of water, good soil, and protection from winter winds and as a result has many redwood trees that exceed 350 feet (106 meters) in height. It is one of the most beautiful places to see the impressive giant redwood up close, enjoy their beauty and mighty.

This is almost 4 miles long (3.8 mile) out and back hike starting from the parking lot, heading down to the grove and back up.

The gated locked road that led to the trailhead is 6 miles long, well maintained forest gravel road.



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



Hike Reservation:

Why the park implement reservation policy for this hike:

This is a very popular grove with a small parking lot and long access road, prevent overcrowding and protect the natural resources around and within Tall Trees Grove.



Tall Trees Trailhead Day-Use Online Reservations:


·         Reservations are required year-round and are only available online. This has been in effect since June 2020.

·         The reservation is free of charge.

·         There are 65 reservations for each day, 20 of them (half day permit) are available day before.

·         Reservations will not be issued in park visitor centers, and it often fill up in the summer. Plan in advance to have the best chance to secure a permit on your visit day.

·         If a full day reservation is not available, try to get the half day.

·         Must be reserved 24 hours before hiking date.

·         You can’t get reservation at the day of your visit even at the park visitor centers.

·         You can come to a park visitor center to get more information about reservation but even from there you will need to do reserve entrance on-line (by your phone).

·         The park visitor center do offer a local wifi (at least at Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center) so you can do it even if you do not have a cell reception.

·         Reservations are available up to 180 days in advance.


·         Once approved, A confirmation email will be sent immediately. The Tall Trees Access Gate Lock Code will be emailed 23 hours before your hiking date.


·         If you are unable to visit on your hiking date, please take the time (less than 2 mins) to cancel your reservation, other people will be happy to get this spot.


If you did not manage to get a visit permit do not get upset.

See my blogs on many other amazing redwood hikes nearby. Most are easier to access and easier to hike. These other trails will also lead you to equally beautiful old-growth redwood groves.



Additional Related Blogs:


Where? :

From US 101, take Bald Hills Road 7 miles to the Tall Trees Access Road. On your way up you will cross Lady Bird Johnson Grove and you will see the turnout right after passing Redwood Creek Overlook.

There is a locked gate at the top of the Tall Trees Access Road to manage traffic. The gate code and instructions will be emailed to you 24 hours before your planned hiking date. Tall Trees Access Road is a 6-mile long, narrow gravel road with very little turn around space.


Google Map Link to the start of the gravel road and the lock gate


Google Map Link to the end of the road parking lot and trailhead.



The dirt-road from the locked gate to the trailhead:


When? :

Year round.

Plan for morning fog and rain.

During hot summer day you will be protected from the sun by the forest.



Due note 1: Plan for at least 4-Hour Time for this visit, drive up the road and down the gravel road, hiking round-trip and drive out back to the park main road.


Due note 2: Pets are not allowed on any of the trails within the national or state park areas.


Due note 3: As in many other remote places of the Redwood Park there is no cell phone reception.


Due note 4: Trailers are prohibited, and motor homes (RVs) must be less than 21 feet long.


Due note 5: Before heading to the hike make sure you have food, water, good hiking shoes, and probably raingear.




My thoughts:

This is not my first time in this amazing redwood Grove. Last time I was here was during June 2019. Back then I hiked from Redwood Creek Trailhead along the river all the way to the grove, this was 16 miles long hike with 2 river crossing. During the winter when the river level are high, and it is un-crossable you can’t do this hike.

Visiting Tall Trees Grove indeed rewording experience, one of the most beautiful Redwood Groves I visit. As a result of it relatively remote location 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 Redwoods:

California’s coast redwoods (sequoia sempervirens) exist in a narrow band that runs for 500 miles from Monterey to just over the Oregon border. The redwoods follow the rain and fog at elevations below 2,000 feet, where heavy winter rains and moderate year-round temperatures occur. Trees can grow up to 350 feet tall or more, with a base diameter of about 20 feet.

Redwoods are “living fossils” dating back 100 million years to the Cretaceous Period- the time of the dinosaurs. The oldest coast redwoods are about 2,000 years old.

As result of extensive logging activity in Between 1880 and the early 1900s, thousands of acres of old-growth redwoods had disappeared; Series of state and national parks in northern California protect the remaining of the old-growth Redwoods.

In 1994, NPS and California State Parks agreed to co-manage four parks: Del Norte Coast, Prairie Creek and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks, and Redwood National Park. Managing the parks together provides protection and preservation of more than 105,000 acres of redwood forest.

After the logging only about 5% of old growth Redwood exist today, 95% of them are in northern California and 80% of them are already protected in one of the parks.



Tall Trees Grove:

The grove was featured in a famous 1963 National Geographic Magazine article that helped propel a public push for the creation of Redwood National Park. The tallest tree in the world is not located in the Tall Trees Grove. After the discovery by the National Geographic survey team, the tree known as the Libby Tree, was considered to be as the tallest trees on earth (368 ft tall). It held this title until 1994 when the top died back, dropping it down to the 34th tallest tree on the planet. 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.



The Hike:


Tall Trees Hike is a 4.5-mile out and back hike take at least 2 hours. It is classified as moderate to strenuous because there is an 800-foot elevation drop in the first 1.5 miles. The trail ends at a 1-mile loop within Tall Trees Grove.


The hike itself is simple and easy to navigate. From the right side of the parking lot, near the shade, you will hike down to the grove, there is a loop trail in the grove near the river and from there you will hike back up.


The hike down start pass through the dense, lash and green old-growth redwood forest.

The trail follow the slope in the general direction of the river canyon below.

You will pass few falling tress walked under fallen trees and even through a tunnel carved into a massive Redwood.

The lash forest floor is covered with heavy vegetation and after about 1.5 mile you will reach the flat level near the river.

At this point the 1-mile loop trail start. It is not so much important which direction you will take.

Here you will walk among giants and titan trees, amount the tallest tress on earth.

They are so impressive in size, and you can only admire the scale and the beauty of nature. The trees are simply magnificence and exceptionally beautiful. The redwoods trees are widely spaced so you can see their top. The forest floor is covered by huge, man size, ferns, and other “small” trees.

This grove is located on the west bank of Redwood Creek, which provide opening from its east side. At afternoon the sun manage to penetrate the redwoods so other trees can flourish here.

At some section of the loop, near the river you will pass through big, twisted maples trees. The old trees are covered with heavy moss, like furry and everything is green.

As you walk near the river you can find path access to the river.

When I visit here during March 2024 the river flow was very strong and impressive.

After coming back on the other side of the loop I start the hike back to the parking lot. It took me about 40 minutes to hike up.






Additional Pictures: