Frequently Asked Questions


Where are the parks?

RNSP is in northern California just below the Oregon border. It's about a seven hour drive north of San Francisco. The park headquarters is located in Crescent City, CA.

When are the parks closed? The parks are always open. Most visitor centers are open from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. each day except for Thanksgiving, December 25th, and January 1st.

Where are the campgrounds? There are four campgrounds in Redwood National and State Parks. For 2014, Jedediah Smith, Prairie Creek and Gold Bluffs Beach are open all year. Mill Creek will be open in the summer months.

There is a $35.00 per night/per site fee to camp. Reservations can be made to camp during the summer season by calling Reserve America at 1-800-444-7275. Gold Bluffs Beach is first-come, first-served, only.

Is there a drive-through tree?The famous drive-through tree, the Wawona Tree, was a giant sequoia in Yosemite National Park. It fell over in 1969 under a heavy snowfall. There are three coast redwood drive-through trees on the coast. All are private businesses, which charge a small fee to drive your car through the tree. From north to south they are: Klamath Tour Thru Tree, Myers Flat Shrine Tree, and Leggett Chandelier Tree.

Is there an entrance fee to the parks?There is no fee for the National Park area. State parks charge for camping and have a day use fee for the developed area within each state park. This fee is waived if the visitor is in the area only to attend an interpretive program. As of 2012, National Park passes are honored at the Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks only.

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When was Redwood National Park established? The park was dedicated on October 2, 1968. On March 27, 1978 the park was expanded.

When were the state parks established? Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park: August 13, 1923. Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park: October 26, 1925. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park: June 3, 1929.

What is the total acreage of Redwood National and State Parks? Currently, the park contains 131,983 acres (federal: 71,715; state: 60,268). Old-growth forest is 38,982 acres (federal: 19,640; state: 19,342). The non-federal acreage is in Jedediah Smith, Del Norte Coast, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks. The total amount of acres in 1968 was 56,201 (28,430 acres was state park).

The park was expanded in 1978 to 106,000 acres (authorized). Only 9,000 out of the 40,000 acres added were old-growth redwood forest.

In December 2005, federal legislation was approved to expand Redwood National and State Parks by including the Mill Creek watershed within its boundary, adding 25,000 acres to the parks.

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Which is bigger, a giant sequoia or a coast redwood? Sequoias found in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains are larger in volume, but not taller.

Is the redwood the oldest tree in the world?

No. Bristlecone pines, found in many parts of the western United States, are the oldest. Some may be as old as 5,000 years.

How old are the oldest redwoods? Some redwoods live to 2,000 years.

What is the average age of the redwood trees? 500-700 years old.

How many redwoods have been logged? 96 percent of the original old-growth coast redwoods have been logged.

How much of the remaining old-growth redwood forest exists within Redwood National and State Parks?

RNSP contains 45 percent of the remaining protected old-growth redwoods in California.

Where is the tallest redwood? A tree dubbed the Tall Tree in the Tall Trees Grove once measured nearly 367.8 feet (120 m). Subsequent logging in the Redwood Creek basin subjected the grove to windier, drier, and hotter conditions. The Tall Tree's crown fell off in the 1980s.

Today, other identified tall trees grow throughout the California redwood region. The tallest tree changes frequently as trees continue to grow and tops break off. The tallest known redwood tree is 379 feet tall, located in the Redwood Creek watershed. As long as the entire forest is allowed to thrive, tall trees will survive the seasons and the centuries.

Why do redwoods grow so tall? The trees grow tall for the following reasons: large amounts of rain (60-140 inches per year), mostly from November-April; summer fog which reduces evapotranspiration; temperate climate, average temperatures between 45 degrees and 61 degrees Fahrenheit; rich soil in river bottom flats; few natural enemies; burl sprouts (see following question), which promote growth after injury by fire or toppling; wind protection by other redwoods.

What is a burl? A burl is a hard conglomerate of many dormant buds. The original single bud grew, but failed to develop into a branch. The irregular growth proceeds to divide and redivide until a lump (burl) has formed. Some of the over growth is actually a form of scar tissue, resulting from a past injury to the tree.

Why do redwoods live so long? Favorable climatic conditions; tannin in the bark, which makes it resistant to insects like termites; thickness of the bark helps protect the inner core of the tree from fire.

What do redwoods look like? The trees have a brown/gray bark that is deeply furrowed. The needles are arranged in a flay spray. An old-growth redwood can be over 200 feet tall and up to 16-20 feet in diameter.

When do rhododendrons bloom? It varies according to the weather; mid-May to early-June is the best time to see these lovely native flowers.

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