• Image of coast redwood forest along Cal-Barrel Road


    National and State Parks California

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  • Jedediah Smith Campground sites available by reservation, ONLY.

    Due to campground maintenance needs, first-come, first-served sites are currently unavailable at Jedediah Smith Campground. Until further notice, sites are a available by reservation, ONLY. More »

Horseback Riding & Horsepacking

Horses (and their riders!) Welcome at Redwood National and State Parks!
Freshwater Lagoon Spit patrol.

Freshwater Lagoon Spit patrol.

NPS Collection

Trail riding with horses and pack animals is an exciting way to experience the parks. Designated horse trails, beaches, and stock-ready camps (see below) provide opportunities ranging from short day rides to multi-day pack trips. By their very nature, however, these large animals have the potential to leave great impacts on the land around them. For a safe, enjoyable, and low-impact trip, please familiarize yourself with backcountry guidelines and regulations, as well as the following:

  • Camp only in designated sites (see below).
  • Permits are required for overnight use of the Orick Horse Trail (Elam Creek Camp), and Little Bald Hills available free from the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center.
  • Feed for stock must be in the form of pellets or certified weed-free feed.
  • Animals may not graze park vegetation.
  • Animals must be hobbled or tied to a hitching post when unattended.
  • The following animals are designated as "pack animals:" horses, ponies, mules, burros, goats, and llamas.

Check-out the Horseback Riding brochure (PDF, 2.12 MB) for more information, including trail maps.


Horses and/or pack animals are allowed on the following beaches in Redwood National Park:

  • Crescent Beach
  • Hidden Beach (Humboldt County)
  • Freshwater Beach

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Little Bald Hills Trail
  • Trailhead: East end of Howland Hill Road in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park near Crescent City, Calif.
  • Permits & Fees: Free overnight camping permit required, available at Crescent City Information Center.Mileage: 3.3 miles to designated campsite; 4.8 miles to park boundary. An additional 5 miles on the Paradise Flat Trail (Smith River National Recreation Area) to South Fork Road.
  • Camping: Little Bald Hills Camp, 3.3 miles from the trailhead, offers a corral, horse trough, picnic tables, fire pits, bear-proof lockers, toilet, and non-potable water (bring drinking water!).
  • Description: As you traverse this old pack trail, you will steeply climb through changing habitats that exist nowhere else in the parks, each featuring a different mix of trees, plants, and flowers. The soil nourishing each blend of vegetation is derived from four distinctive rock formations. At the beginning of the trail, a fern-filled redwood forest thrives in sedimentary soil from an ancient sea floor. Higher up, as the underlying rock changes to mottled green and black serpentine, Port-Orford-cedar, Douglas-fir, and coffeeberry flourish. Farther along, red clay sustains a knobcone pine forest mixed with huckleberry and azalea. Atop the ridge, open prairies and shrub fields, dotted with beargrass and hairy manzanita, spread across the white acidic soils-a fine place to view raptors and smell the flowers.

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Mill Creek Horse Trail
Subject to seasonal closure (PDF, 2.68 MB) for the protection of salmon habitat.

  • Trailhead: Bertsch Avenue off Howland Hill Road near Crescent City, Calif.
  • Permits & Fees: None
  • Mileage: Up to 11 miles, depending on seasonal trail closures.
  • Camping: None—Day use only.
  • Description: As you make the steep, strenuous ride up the ridge to overlook scenic views of Crescent City and Crescent Beach, evidence of past logging practices gives a glimpse into area history. This is a relatively steep trail that passes through areas of red alder and second-growth redwood forest. Due to the numerous stream crossings along the trail, part of it is closed during the winter to protect coho and chinook salmon spawning grounds in Mill Creek.

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Orick Horse Trail

  • Trailhead: Orick Rodeo Grounds (inquire at a visitor center)
  • Permits & Fees: Free permit required for overnight use, available at Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center.
  • Mileage: Varies—Four interconnecting loop trails provide several possible itineraries [refer to Horseback Riding brochure (PDF, 2.56 MB) for map and additional info.]: Ridge Loop (7 miles), McArthur Creek Loop (14 miles), Elam Creek Loop (20 miles), and Forty-Four Creek Loop (32 miles).
  • Camping: Situated near a lush creek, surrounded by redwoods and injected with solitude, Elam Creek Camp offers a corral, picnic tables, bear proof lockers, toilets, and non-potable water (bring drinking water!). No more than 12 stock animals permitted. Overnight cmaping also available at Orick rodeo Grounds (trailhead) for $10 horse/night—flush toilet, water, and electricity may be available.
  • Description: The four loops of the Orick Horse Trail provide several days’ worth of riding, with views of the Pacific Ocean and Orick Valley as the trail ascends a ridge and then wanders through the redwood forest.

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Did You Know?

foggy redwood forest

Fog accounts for up to one-fourth of the precipitation needed so the mighty coast redwoods can survive. While you hike, fog drip is a good thing!