Redwood National Park is home to the tallest trees on the planet with soaring redwoods standing over 375 feet high. This spectacular old-growth forest is a world unto itself, complete with breathtaking canyons, rocky ocean beaches, and dramatic foliage-lined hiking trails that seem straight out of a movie. The park doesn’t experience much seasonal variation — the temperature tends to stay between the 40s and 60s year-round. Many vacation rentals near Redwood National Park are situated in proximity to popular attractions and outdoor recreational activities. When planning your trip to Redwood National Park, keep in mind each season’s precipitation levels and available activities.

national park stream
Source: Flickr/Kirt Edblom

Visiting Redwood National Park in the Summer

Summer is the high season in Redwood National Park, with nearly half of the park’s annual visitors arriving in June, July, or August. Thanks to the area’s large size, however, you’re unlikely to feel crowded, particularly on weekdays. Temperatures in these months usually stay in the 50s and 60s, with the occasional rain shower. Be prepared for the summer fog that blankets the forest near the shore, creating a thrilling, mysterious atmosphere that’s perfect for hiking. If you’re in search of sunshine, head inland to routes such as the Boy Scout Tree Trail. Whether you’re doing a back-country hike or a stroll through the popular Stout Grove, pack sturdy, non-slip shoes to keep you upright on the wet forest floor. Light layers and a rain shell can prepare you for shifting temperatures and sudden storms.

Tour companies such as Redwood Adventures offer summer-only guided trips to the primeval Fern Canyon, which was a filming location for movies including The Lost World: Jurassic Park and BBC’s “Walking with Dinosaurs.” The park’s ranger-led programs also operate in the summer; try a guided kayak tour down the Smith River, a tidepool walk, or a hike through the forest. Plan ahead when it comes to food, as there are no restaurants or stores in the park. It’s a good idea to stock up on snacks in Crescent City, Klamath, or Orick. Vacation rentals in these cities tend to book quickly during the high season, particularly around the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

Visiting Redwood National Park in the Fall

With its mild temperatures and manageable crowd levels, fall is a beautiful time to visit the Redwoods. Pack mid-weight layers to prepare for days in the 50s and 60s, and since the rainy season begins in October, a rain jacket and waterproof shoes are essential.

For fall colors, head straight for the Trillium Falls Trail, where the vibrant big-leaf maples turn the landscape into an autumn postcard. Ranger-led programs continue into mid-September, providing plenty of opportunities to listen to local lore around the campfire at Jedediah Smith State Park or bring your little ones to a Junior Ranger event at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center.

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Visiting Redwood National Park in the Winter

Winter is the rainiest season in the Redwoods, with frequent storms and temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Stay warm and dry with an insulated rain shell, and bring non-slip shoes for the hiking trails. The rainy weather brings a significant drop in visitor levels. In January of 2016, for example, 18,194 people visited the park, as compared to July’s 86,244 visitors. If you’re dreaming of wandering down forest trails in silence and solitude, winter is your best bet.

December is a peak month for gray whale migration; you can see them from the shore at the Klamath River Overlook, Crescent Beach Overlook, or Wilson Creek. Most visitors centers in the park are open throughout the winter with limited hours. Nearby Crescent City provides plenty of dining options, such as the popular Vita Cucina and the Chart Room Restaurant.

Visiting Redwood National Park in the Spring

Spring is mild and damp in the Redwoods, as the rainy season continues through April. Slightly warmer temperatures in the high 50s make this a great time to tackle some of the park’s challenging hikes, including the Berry Glen Trail. Avoid trails with stream crossings, as the park only puts out footbridges in the summer. On most days, a warm rain jacket and waterproof shoes is enough to keep you comfortable.

Late spring brings a stunning surprise to Redwood National Park: bright pink rhododendrons. These beautiful flowering trees start blooming in May, adding a lovely pop of color to a hike along Lady Bird Johnson Trail or the Damnation Creek Trail. If you prefer to drive, try Highway 101 through the Del Norte Coast Redwoods. In mid-May, ranger programs start up at visitor centers in the park; this is a great time to experience a walk through the trees with a small group.

When Is The Best Time to Visit Redwood National Park?

The best time to visit Redwood National Park is during the summer. Low rainfall levels and warmer temperatures create the most comfortable hiking conditions, particularly in the inland Jedediah Smith and Prairie Coast areas. Summer is also a great time to experience the mysterious mist that dances around the trees on the coast. June, July, and August offer the highest number of ranger-led activities, as well as guided tours from companies such as Main Street Adventure Tours and Inc Adventures – a great option if you have limited time in the forest. Though visitor levels are at their highest during the summer, the park rarely feels crowded, particularly when you get out onto the area’s 200 miles of hiking trails.

 
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