Are you planning a vacation to California? Don’t miss out on seeing the Redwood National Park. This secluded nature spot can be a gorgeous addition to any trip.
One of the first and most important decisions to make when preparing for a trip is figuring out when you should go. With some tips, we can help you avoid crowds, get the best weather, or snag the cheapest flights.
So sit back and begin picturing yourself among the gentle giants of the West. Here’s a guide to help you with your journey. Make your time stress-free by choosing the best time to visit Redwood National Park.
Why You Should Visit Redwood National Park
The preserved area is one of the most famous landmarks of America. Hiking through redwood and sequoia trees is a relaxing experience that practically anyone can enjoy.
Coastal redwoods are the tallest plants in the world, growing over 300 feet tall. Some of these magnificent trees have outlasted the Roman Empire, standing for over 2,000 years. You can also see the giant sequoia, another of the largest trees in the world in thickness.
These trees exclusively grow naturally on the West Coast of America. Closer to the ground, you’ll encounter hemlock, spruce, Douglas-fir, and more. Dense vegetation and moss make it an ideal habitat to spot wildlife and enjoy the scenery you can’t find elsewhere.
Today, visiting these natural beauties is a way to help support their preservation. Taking time to absorb the quiet of the forest can be humbling, especially when you’re standing next to a tree larger than the Statue of Liberty!
Overall Best Time to Visit Redwood National Park
California weather allows you to visit Redwood National Park comfortably year-round, but the best experience is usually in the spring. This time of year is comfortable, lush, and light on tourists.
You’ll encounter pleasant, sunny weather that isn’t overbearing in the heat like in the summer. Usually, the greenery is at its peak between April and June. The previous wet season will leave the moss, ferns, and flowers full to show off.
When the summer begins, dry heat will quickly take some of the vibrancy from these plants. Plus, the early spring is a perfect time to avoid crowds. It won’t be nearly as busy as it’s during the peak days of summer, though the rush starts to build in May.
You’ll probably still enjoy comfortable weather while visiting as early as March. You can enjoy kicking off your spring with a trip to sunny California by finding a flight during the best time to visit Redwood National Park.
Cheapest Time to Visit Redwood National Park
If you’re looking for the cheapest time to visit the park, you should aim your visit for the winter. December and January have the lowest flight costs.
California is usually a spring and summer destination, so the off-season has some discounts for flights and hotels. Luckily, California’s winter isn’t particularly chilly. You’ll still be enjoying balmy weather in the 50s and 60s, a nice breather for people from colder climates.
Cost should be no reason to hold you back from visiting this landmark. In addition to lower hotel costs, this time of year can have slightly lower gas prices. Try avoiding the holiday seasons, when travel rates can be temporarily higher.
You might encounter rainy weather during your visit, but it doesn’t have to stop the adventures. Just be extra careful on the trails and pack appropriately. You’ll enjoy secluded trails during the cool seasons.
While the days are comfortable, it’s good to still prepare for cold nights. California temperatures can change drastically at night and can drop to a frost. The weather can be an adventure of its own, and you’ll see rare winter birds if you brave the trails during winter.
Least Busy Time to Visit Redwood National Park
One of the best times to visit Redwood National Park is when you have the woods to yourself, and you can experience that during winter. Yes, the cheapest time is also the least busy period to visit.
Rain tends to drive people away, and not everyone finds the 50-degree temperatures comfortable for hiking. If neither of these factors bothers you, you can enjoy a park with few people inside.
It can also be a great time to grab reservations at campgrounds. That said, Redwood National Park is never particularly crowded. The peak season is during the summer when free time leads many families to the area.
You’ll still see fewer people than you might at other famous locations, and the massive park makes it easy to feel relatively alone. Plus, this is a rare park that is open 24 hours. The crowds can be smaller at night. Many people head home at sunset when many other nature parks close.
Still, if you prefer knowing that there’s no one else around, you can plan a trip for the winter. Pack for rain, and you’ll still have a pleasant time among the trees. Any overnighters should prepare for weather that may drop to a frost.
Worst Time to Visit Redwood National Park
Unfortunately, winter is when people consider it to be the worst time to visit Redwood National Park. This is due to California’s altered seasons, where they experience a rainy season instead of what some consider a traditional winter.
Instead of freezing temperatures, California cools off from November to February and should experience frequent rains. For well-weathered natives of Northern climates, this may still seem like a fun vacation.
The rain doesn’t have to be a reason to stop your fun. It also isn’t guaranteed that it‘ll be raining during your visit. California has recently been experiencing dry rain reasons, meaning you may have a clear visit.
Packing an extra poncho can keep you ready for the unexpected and comfortable. Appropriate packing can still ensure a fun time, and you’ll get the rare experience of seeing the park during this time of the year.
Luckily, you probably won’t experience temperatures that get too cold except at night. Frosts can occur nightly during the late winter. Don’t let the winter reputation keep you away from a cheap, secluded visit to Redwood National Park.
Things to Consider
Now that you can pick the best time to visit Redwood National Park, here are a few more tips to keep in mind. These tidbits can help your travel experience go smoother and keep you safe on the trails.
We recommend making sure to:
- Plan your time in the park. Depending on your trip, you may have the entire day for roaming the trails or a limited period to drive through. You can use the website to find maps to decide which trails you want to explore beforehand. Checking current conditions can also help you see if any areas of the park are closed or experiencing issues. Remember that you can stay at night, as this park is open 24 hours!
- Consider Ranger-led activities. You can join rangers to see the park through an experienced eye. They have a kayak program where you can learn about the local geology, wildlife, and nature as you explore the nearby rapids.
- Prepare for California wildfires. If you’re visiting in late spring or summer, you’ll have to be ready for wildfires. Unfortunately, they often impact the Redwood National Park. You can check for an updated view of current wildfires in California.
- Dress comfortably. Wear clothes you can walk long distances in, and bring warm layers if it’s the colder months. It’s crucial you have appropriate socks and good shoes with plenty of grip for the nature paths.
- Pack appropriately. Packing for hiking is a delicate balance between keeping your bag light and ensuring you have all the necessities. You don’t want a burden if you’re walking. Bring snacks and water, essential clothing items, and only a few extras like cameras or survival gear. Don’t forget a printed map from the visitor center.
- Hike safely. Stay on trails that match your experience level. It’s a good idea to alert people about your hiking plans before you start. Avoid areas that seem overgrown or excessively muddy if you’re uncomfortable or don’t have the proper gear.
- You may avoid the busy season. Summer is usually the busiest time in the park and the most expensive time to visit California. It won’t be too crowded, but it’s worth knowing that it can add a few extra dollars to the cost, and you might find packed parking lots.
- Preserve nature. Logging has already taken 95% of the original redwood population, so spend your time in the park mindful of your presence. Pack out everything you bring in, and stick to established trails. Respect the mission to save the giants surrounding you.
- Get the most out of the park. Aside from hiking, you can also find kayaking, horse riding, scenic drives, biking, and even Native American dancing demonstrations.
- Enjoy a quick trip to the beach: You’ll be close to the Pacific Ocean, and you can easily make a trip to the beaches connected to Redwood National Park to enjoy sights like tidepools.
With these helpful tips, you can have a fun adventure at Redwood National Park without worry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have a few unanswered questions? Here’s a quick look at some frequently asked questions about the best time to visit Redwood National Park:
What’s near Redwood National Park?
The Redwood National Park is a massive area you can explore for days, but many people are looking for multiple things to do when they’re on vacation. Luckily, there are a few attractions nearby that are worth seeing.
If you’re willing to head far North into Oregon, you can find the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve. This area is about two hours away and has some of the only natural marble caves. You can head farther down South toward the Natural History Museum for people visiting the Southern side of Redwood National Park.
This small museum in Humboldt County has exhibits of evolution through time. Close to the park, you can also find some more natural areas to visit, and it connects to the Pacific Ocean for a chance to see the coast.
Should I visit Sequoia National Park or Redwoods National Park?
Sequoia National Park is on the Eastern side of California, near the border with Nevada. You can see giant sequoia trees in this location, the impressive specimen that isn’t quite as large as coastal redwoods. Both parks are worth visiting, but for different reasons.
If you enjoy winter activities, you might have more fun in the mountains of Sequoia National Park. You can also find a cave and enjoy fishing at Sequoia, activities that aren’t available in Redwood National Park. Still, Redwood National Park has the more impressive coastal redwoods and giant sequoias.
You might find this location more fun if you prefer warmer weather or being near the ocean. Ultimately, it can be a matter of personal preference which park to visit. You can also easily make it a goal to see both.
Is a sequoia or redwood tree bigger?
Which is larger depends on how you measure the tree. Giant sequoia trees have a larger circumference, and they are the thickest trees with trunks making them the largest in volume.
However, coastal redwoods are the tallest trees in the world. Although it’s still massive, they tend to have much thinner trunks. So giant sequoias are the thickest, heaviest trees but coastal redwoods are the tallest.
What’s the cost of Redwood National Park?
Luckily, Redwood National Park is free to visit. You can explore the main park areas at absolutely no cost. If you plan to visit the developed campground areas within the California state parks of Del Norte Coast, Prairie Creek Redwoods, or Jedediah Smith, you’ll have to pay a $35 fee at the entrance.
Federal park passes or California state passes can get you a discount. Additionally, you might have to pay a fee if you want to drive the Gold Bluffs Beach and Fern Canyon trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods.
Again, federal park passes can waive this fee. Several holidays result in days with no fee, such as Martin Luther King Jr Day and Veterans Day.
Can you camp at Redwood National Park?
Redwood National Park has extensive camping options, including cabins, developed camping, and backcountry camping. The cabins are often limited, and reservations fill quickly. But you can enjoy these comfortable locations within the park.
For the slightly more adventurous, you can find developed camping grounds that support tents and RVs. These camping areas usually need a reservation. Finally, for experienced hikers looking for a truly unique experience, you can get a backcountry camping permit. These allow you to explore off-trail and set up camp in secluded areas.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Redwood National Park?
With mild weather and relatively uncrowded conditions, it’s easy to find the best time to visit Redwood National Park. Exploring this area lets you glimpse history and experience America’s natural wonders. So what are you waiting for — plan your visit to these remarkable trees today!