Redwood Creek Trail, Redwood Creek Trailhead, Redwood National and State Parks, California
Redwood Creek Trail - 15.6 miles
Redwood Creek Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||15.6 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||58' - 162' (323' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+104 net elevation gain (+2,018' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Redwood Creek Trail - 15.6 Miles Round-Trip
The Redwood Creek Trail runs 7.8 miles from Bald Hills Road to the Tall Trees Loop in Redwood National Park. This long but moderate trail passes through a diverse riparian corridor lined by old and second growth redwoods, bigleaf maple canopies and miles of edible berries. Runners, backpackers and families will enjoy mild grades and a chance to cover long distances with relative ease.
Redwood Creek offers highly desirable camping along gravel bars, and connections with the Elam Creek and 44 Creek loops can be linked for multi-day trips.
Salmon and steelhead run in Redwood Creek, osprey nest along its path and bears are drawn to the watershed's rich food sources. All combine to make this one of the most complete backcountry destinations in the Park.
Two bridges across Redwood Creek are installed each summer once water levels have receded, and removed again in the fall before rains return. When not in place you must ford the creek, which can be difficult if not impossible. Only experienced hikers should attempt this ford. Call for bridge and creek flow status before setting out:
The trail heads south from Bald Hills Road through level intervals of salmonberry, blackberry, redwoods and bigleaf maple.
It skirts the edge of a bramble-filled clearing (1.0 mile : 72') and weaves through tall Sitka to the first bridge / creek ford (1.8 miles : 73').
Identify orange trail symbols on the west bank before crossing; you may have to push through dense brush to find the trail if crews have not yet cleared seasonal damage.
Once across the trail narrows through potentially obstructive brush to the McArthur Creek Bridge (2.1 miles), past which travel clarifies on a level path to the Elam Creek Loop Trail split (2.9 miles : 90').
The Redwood Creek Trail continues south and level through mature redwoods and bigleaf maple. Higher concentrations of redwoods are located upslope, and you'll have to make some effort to reach them (3.65 miles : 150')
Large trees are replaced by uniform and tightly packed second growth beyond 4.7 miles, and the trail generally runs above the creek with limited access for some time. This is a fine point to turn back if not aiming for other destinations.
Short up-down segments lead to Bond Creek (5.75 miles : 115'), past which the trail rises to its highest point (323') and drops to a high bridge over 44 Creek (6.9 miles : 235'). Guardrails may be damaged - caution is a must.
Follow signs for Tall Trees Grove on a steep descent to the second bridge / ford across Redwood Creek (7.65 miles : 160'). Identify the orange trail sign across the bank before fording, which is around a bend to the right.
Once across the trail levels to its terminus at the Tall Trees Loop (7.8 miles : 160'). Having come this far it's worth walking the mile loop through some of the Park's largest redwoods and oldest maple groves before turning back.
- N41 17.942 W124 02.003 — 0.0 miles : Redwood Creek Trailhead
- N41 17.644 W124 01.729 — .5 miles : Fast travel through mixed forest
- N41 17.285 W124 01.689 — 1.0 miles :
- N41 16.926 W124 01.764 — 1.4 miles : First run along creek bank
- N41 16.700 W124 01.757 — 1.8 miles : Cross Creek
- N41 16.612 W124 01.789 — 1.9 miles : Trail sign on west bank
- N41 16.523 W124 01.724 — 2.1 miles : Cross bridge over MacArthur Creek
- N41 16.318 W124 01.656 — 2.6 miles : Fast, level travel beside creek
- N41 15.837 W124 01.562 — 2.9 miles : Elam Creek Trail split
- N41 15.592 W124 00.853 — 3.65 miles : Fast, level travel beside creek
- N41 15.012 W124 00.726 — 4.4 miles : Fast, level travel beside creek
- N41 14.492 W124 00.999 — 5.15 miles : Rise away from creek in 2nd growth
- N41 14.011 W124 01.293 — 5.75 miles : Cross Bond Creek
- N41 13.829 W124 00.852 — 6.25 miles : 6 mile post
- N41 13.244 W124 00.791 — 6.9 miles : Cross 44 Creek on high bridge
- N41 12.894 W124 00.585 — 7.5 miles : Travel above creek
- N41 12.715 W124 00.467 — 7.15 miles : Cross creek
- N41 12.699 W124 00.533 — 7.65 miles : Cross Redwood Creek
- N41 12.641 W124 00.595 — 7.8 miles : Tall Trees Loop Junction
- Fording the Redwood Creek can be difficult if not impossible. Only experienced hikers should attempt these creek fords. Always identify orange trail symbols before entering the water - crossing to a random point can create unnecessary problems.
- Summer bridges are only installed once water levels have dropped below 200 CFS, and removed again in the fall. Call ahead for bridge updates and water levels before setting out.
- Bears are common along the Redwood Creek corridor. Backpackers should strictly follow food storage protocols.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Backcountry Camping is permitted on gravel bars along Redwood Creek, and in designated campsites on several connecting trails. Water levels may limit space on gravel bars. Call ahead for the latest conditions.
- Permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Permits are free and issued in-person up to 24 hours in advance at the Hiouchi and Kuchel Visitor Centers.
- There are 8 designated backcountry sites. Gravel bar camping is permitted along Redwood Creek. Click here for specific site details and maps.
- Fires are permitted in the backcountry with potential seasonal and location-specific restrictions.
- Proper food storage is required (in provided lockers, bear canisters or by hanging).
- Overnight stays are limited to 5 consecutive days.
There's a $35 per-night fee to camp in developed campgrounds. Cabins at Elk Prairie and Jedediah Smith are $80 (winter) and $100 (summer) per night.
Reservations are strongly recommended from May - September in all campgrounds. Click links above to learn more about each campground and check availability through ReserveAmerica.com (1.800.444.7275).
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs are not permitted on hiking and riding trails in Redwood National Park, including trails within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
- There is no fee to enter Redwood National Park or access the Redwood Creek Trail.
- Day-Use Fees apply at select State Park entrance stations within Redwood National Park, such as Gold Bluffs Beach ($8).
Directions to Trailhead
The Redwood Creek Trailhead is located .8 miles from Highway 101, just north of Orick. From Highway 101, turn onto Bald Hills Road and travel .5 miles to Redwood Creek Access Road. Continue .3 miles to the parking lot. Watch for wildlife on roads in this area.
Redwood National and State Parks
1111 Second Steet
Crescent City, CA 95531
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
127011 Newton B Drury Parkway
Orick, CA 95555
Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center (Orick, CA)
Jedediah Smith Visitor Center (Hiouchi, CA)
Hiouchi Visitor Center (Hiouchi, CA)
Crescent City Information Center