Do you need a getaway? Pack your bags and grab the kids, it’s time for an RV camping trip!
Destination: Redwood National Park.
Redwood National Park has enchanting forests, breathtaking coastal views, and all the fun and games you could imagine. There’s a reason this UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site gets over 500,000 visitors a year.
Follow this comprehensive guide to RV camping in Redwood National Park if you're ready to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Photo Credit: Instagram User @everchanginghorizon
Redwood National Park Facts
Redwood National Park was created back in 1968 by Lyndon B. Johnson. Today, the park encompasses an amazing 131,983 acres.
Interestingly, what is often referred to as Redwood National Park is four individual parks owned by the state of California and the federal government. These include Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek State Park, Jedidiah State Park, and Del Norte State Park.
All four parks come together to create Redwood National and State Parks, which we will refer to as Redwood National Park.
Below we’ve included more fascinating Redwood National Park facts to get you excited about your upcoming RV camping trip!
Redwood National Park initiated a program to restore up to 70,000 acres of damaged forest in the park called Redwoods Rising. The program is always looking for volunteers, too, so reach out if you’re interested.
Redwood National Park is named after fascinating trees. Redwoods can grow to be 2,000 years old, 380 feet tall, and have roots that go down as deep as 13 feet and spread as wide as 80 feet. Interestingly, fog accounts for an amazing 40% of redwoods’ moisture intake.
Redwood National Park is one of the only National Parks to offer a series of educational videos for teachers, educators, and homeschooled students.
There are approximately 280 species of birds within the boundaries of Redwood National and State Parks. These include red-tailed hawks, warblers, thrushes, jays, woodpeckers, American dippers, owls, and many more.
- There’s an incredible variety of wildlife beyond birds at Redwood National Park, too. On the coast, you’ll find Pinnipeds like seals and sea lions. Cetaceans — whales, dolphins, and porpoises — can be seen off the coast. In the interior of the national park, you can see everything from black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk to gray foxes and even the occasional black bear.
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Best Redwood National Park Camping Spots for RVers
Many national parks around the country don’t have RV campgrounds within park boundaries, but not Redwood.
Redwood National Park has four developed campgrounds within the parks that allow RVs. There are size restrictions, and you’ll need to make campground reservations with Reserve California, but having the opportunity to take your RV inside a national park to go camping is a big win.
There is also RV camping near Redwood National Park if you’re looking for a full hookup or if you missed out on landing a reservation.
Jedediah Smith Campground
Amenities: Jedediah Smith Campground is located on the banks of the Smith River within Redwood National Park. Open year-round, the campground has hot showers, restrooms, cabins, a dump station, picnic tables, fire pits, barbeques, food lockers, and a visitor center.
Capacity: The campground has 86 tent or RV (no hookups) sites, but only fits 25-foot RVs or 21-foot trailers.
Price: $35 per night
More information: Jedediah Smith Campground
Mill Creek Campground
Amenities: Near Mill Creek under towering redwoods and tall maples, you’ll find the largest RV campground in Redwood National Park, Mill Creek Campground. It’s your best option for RV parking. The place has showers, restrooms, a dump station, picnic tables, fire pits, barbeques, food lockers, and miles of hiking trails that start from camp.
Capacity: The campground has 145 tent or RV (no hookups) sites, and will allow slightly larger RVs of up to 28 feet, or 24-foot trailers.
Price: $35 per night
More information: Mill Creek Campground
Gold Bluffs Beach Campground
Amenities: If you’re looking to camp on the beach, this is the spot for you. Set on the breathtaking Pacific coastline, Gold Bluffs Beach features solar showers, restrooms, wind shelters, picnic tables, fire pits, barbeques, food lockers, and all the beach fun you can imagine.
Capacity: The campground has 26 tent or RV (no hookups) sites and allows 24-foot RVs, but no trailers.
Price: $35 per night
More information: Gold Bluffs Beach Campground
Elk Prairie Campground
Amenities: On the other side of the park from Gold Bluffs Beach, you’ll find Elk Prairie Campground. This is the spot for you if you're looking for more open spaces and easy access to over 70 miles of hiking and biking trails. Elk Prairie has seasonal ranger-led programs, showers, restrooms, cabins, picnic tables, fire pits, barbeques, food lockers, and a visitor center.
Capacity: The campground has 75 tent or RV (no hookups) sites and allows 27-foot RVs or 24-foot trailers.
Price: $35 per night
More information: Elk Prairie Campground
Klamath River RV Park
Amenities: If you want to get out of the park for a full RV hookup, the Klamath River RV Park has beautiful views, just minutes from the park entrance. Plus, the place has amazing amenities, including BBQ grills, fish cleaning stations, a gift shop, laundry and show facilities, a kid’s playground, pet-friendly trails, and more.
Capacity: The campground features 98 sites with almost 90 full hookups, including 30 or 50 amp electrical, water, sewer, and cable TV.
Price: Starting at $56 per night.
More information: Klamath River RV PaPhoto Credit: Instagram User @edwin.mooijaart
Best Time for Redwood National Park Camping
Did you know Redwood National Park is open 24/7, 365 days a year?
That’s right — there’s no one best time to visit Redwood National Park! Unlike other national parks, the mid-climate of Redwood permits year-round fun.
Temperatures remain between 40 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit through the winter and summer as the Pacific Ocean moderates the climate. Still, certain times of the year can get wet at Redwood National Park, and other times coincide with animal migrations that draw in thousands of tourists each year.
Let’s consider the pros and cons of the seasons at Redwood National Park, so you can choose the best time to visit for you and your family.
From October to April, Redwood National Park receives a majority of its 60-80 inches of annual rainfall. If you’re a fan of the rain, then no problem. Come prepared with your umbrella and rain gear, and you’ll have a great time. Also, come anytime in November or December to see the annual gray whale migration.
Most of the spring in Redwood National Park is wet. However, after April, the weather begins to warm, and park visitors flock in. If you missed the gray whale migration in the winter, they’ll return in March and April, so don’t miss out. Grab a spot at the beautiful Klamath Overlook and watch the whales go by.
Summer in Redwood National Park brings out the tourists. The vast majority of the over 500,000 visitors that come to the park each year come in just two months — June and July. The weather’s great, and it's the perfect time of year for hiking, mountain biking, or kayaking. Plus, no rain! The park is known for its fog during summer, which can give the forest a mysterious feel.
Fall is the second most busy season at Redwood National Park. This is because the rainy season that keeps people away in winter doesn’t start until the end of October. Plus, it’s seasonal bird migration season for rufous hummingbirds, Brant geese, and more.
Things To Do in Redwood National Park
There’s so much to do when RV camping near Redwood National Park, the hardest part of most trips to the area is deciding what stuff to leave out. From hiking amongst the redwoods to ocean kayaking in the Pacific, Redwood National Park has it all!
Try birdwatching! Redwood National Park is a bird-watchers paradise. Approximately one-third of the country’s bird species have been recorded within the parks, including the endangered marbled murrelet.
Take a hike! Try the James Irvine trail through Fern Canyon. It’s a 9-mile day hike in a canyon covered by ferns that looks like something out of Jurassic Park. And if you want to see the canyon, but aren’t up for the long hike, there’s a short 1-mile loop from the parking lot to the canyon and back that is perfect for a short walk.
Go tide-pooling! Walk down to Enderts Beach or Hidden Beach tidepools and look at the crabs, sea anemones, and more at low tide.
Pay your respects to our former first lady by visiting Lady Bird Johnson Grove! Lady Bird Johnson was the wife of former President Lyndon B. Johnson and a noted conservationist. There’s a 1.5-mile hike amongst the redwoods named after her that is well worth the visit.
Drive-thru an ancient redwood tree in your car! There are three spots you can do this, Shrine Drive-Through tree in Myers Flats, Chandelier Drive in Leggett, and Tour-Through Tree in Klamath north of the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway.
Try kayaking Smith River or ocean kayaking in the Pacific Ocean. Renting kayaks at Redwood National Park is easy if you want to go alone or try a ranger-led kayaking program through the Smith River, the largest free-flowing river system in California.
Go mountain biking! There are seven designated bike trails throughout Redwood National Park if you're an adrenaline junky or you're looking for exercise. The highest-rated trails include the Lost Coast Trail and the Lost Man Creek Trail. Plus, on the first Saturday of each month (from October to April), the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is closed to motorized vehicles.
Thankfully, if you’re looking for things to do in Redwood National Park, you won’t be short of options!
Best Hiking in Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park, located along the coast of northern California, is home to the world's tallest trees — the coast redwoods. These ancient trees can grow up to 379 feet tall and have been standing for over 2,000 years. The park offers a variety of hiking trails that range from easy walks through dense forests to challenging treks up the coast. Here are some of the best trails to experience the magic of the redwoods:
Tall Trees Grove Trail
Distance: 4 miles round trip
Highlights: This trail takes you down to a grove containing some of the tallest trees in the world. The hike is both serene and humbling as the forest giants tower overhead. A permit is required to access the trail, ensuring the grove remains pristine and uncrowded.
Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail
Distance: 1.5 miles loop
Highlights: Named in honor of the former First Lady, this trail is one of the most popular in the parks. It features an accessible boardwalk and interpretive signs, making it ideal for families and those looking for a shorter hike.
Fern Canyon Trail
Distance: 1 mile loop
Highlights: This trail is like stepping into a prehistoric world. Fern-covered walls rise up to 50 feet on either side of the trail, and depending on the season, you might encounter small waterfalls. It's no wonder scenes from Jurassic Park were filmed here.
James Irvine Trail to Gold Bluffs Beach
Distance: 11 miles round trip
Highlights: Starting from the Prairie Creek Visitor Center, this trail meanders through old-growth redwood forests, along pristine creeks, and ultimately to the rugged Pacific coastline at Gold Bluffs Beach. Along the way, you'll experience a cross-section of the park's diverse ecosystems.
Tips for Hiking in Redwood National and State Parks:
Preserve the Environment: Stay on marked trails, pack out what you pack in, and avoid trampling on vegetation.
Weather: Coastal weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers and be prepared for rain, even in summer.
Wildlife: The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including Roosevelt elk, black bears, and mountain lions. Always maintain a safe distance and store food securely.
Permits and Fees: Some trails or areas, like the Tall Trees Grove Trail, require permits. Ensure you're aware of any needed permits or fees before setting out.
Redwood National Park offers an unrivaled hiking experience amidst the world's tallest trees. With trails suitable for all ages and abilities, every visitor can find a path that leads them into the heart of these ancient forests.
Wildlife in Redwood National Park
In the verdant expanses of Redwood National Park, a diverse array of wildlife thrives amidst the towering trees and the intricate ecosystems they create. The park's dense forests, riparian zones, and coastal habitats provide sanctuary for numerous creatures. Majestic Roosevelt elk roam the prairies and open spaces, while the elusive black bear forages in the understory.
Among the canopy, the sharp-eyed might spot marbled murrelet, a bird that nests in the mossy boughs of old-growth redwoods. The rippling streams, vital for the towering trees, also nurture populations of salmon and steelhead trout. In quieter moments, one might hear the calls of the northern spotted owl or catch a glimpse of a bobcat silently stalking its prey.
From banana slugs inching along the forest floor to the various amphibians inhabiting the streams and wetlands, Redwood National Park is a testament to nature's intricate balance and diversity.
Photo Credit: Instagram User @hausvonfloof
Tips for Your Redwood National Park Camping Trip
RV camping in Redwood National Park is an amazing experience that can bring family and friends together. Like any trip to the great outdoors, there are tips you should take into consideration.
Wear layers. Weather can change quickly, and, with 60-80 inches of rainfall a year, you don’t want to be caught in the cold.
Bring sunscreen — the fog at the park can trick you into complacency, but you can still get a nasty sunburn.
Some scenic drives aren’t recommended for RVs at Redwood National Park, so consider bringing a four-wheel-drive tow car or renting one while you’re there. Howland Hill Road is a 10-mile scenic drive through old-growth redwoods, and a few of the coastal drives on Highway 101 aren’t suitable for some vehicles but are still well worth the drive.
Drive to Klamath River Overlook. The spot has breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, where the Klamath River meets the sea. Plus, it’s a great spot to watch whales, dolphins, and pinnipeds in their natural habitat.
Try starting your trip by driving the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. It’s a 10-mile scenic drive through the redwoods that is the perfect start to a Redwood National Park trip.
Some campgrounds and visitor centers are closed from October through May, including the Jedediah Smith Visitor Center, Mill Creek, and Gold Bluffs Beach.
Why Take an RV To Redwood National Park?
Taking an RV to Redwood National Park is akin to merging the comforts of home with the raw allure of nature.
Firstly, an RV grants visitors the flexibility of mobility. Rather than being tethered to one location, travelers can explore various campgrounds and vistas within the park, making the most of their journey. This mobility ensures one can awaken to a serene forest view one day and the rhythmic cadence of the Pacific coastline the next.
Secondly, RV camping allows for a more personalized, intimate experience with the redwoods. As night falls, one can stargaze through the silhouettes of these ancient giants, all while enjoying the cozy warmth of their own space.
Additionally, the park's campgrounds are well-equipped for RVs, ensuring amenities and facilities enhance the camping experience. Cost-wise, an RV can be economical, eliminating the need for hotel bookings and providing the convenience of preparing meals on board.
Most importantly, in the embrace of the great outdoors, an RV acts as a personal retreat — a space where one can reflect, relax, and rejuvenate amidst the unparalleled beauty of the redwoods.
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RV Rental for Redwood National Park
Now you know the ins and outs of Redwood National Park, it’s time to start planning your next RV adventure!
If you don’t have one already, Cruise America is the top spot for an RV rental for Redwood National Park. Each RV is pet-friendly and allows towing. Plus, you’ll get all the amenities you could need, from a freshwater toilet, shower, and generator to a refrigerator, gas cooktop, shower, and heating system to keep you warm year-round!
Thankfully, if you’re ready to start your RV camping vacation today, RV rental for Redwood National Park is easier than ever! Call Cruise America and get started today!