Warning: Elk Calving Season, Elk Can Be Aggressive
Female (cow) elk are defensive of their newly born calves. As people approach, a cow may charge and/or rear up and lash out with her front legs. For your safety, STAY 500 FEET AWAY from elk, at all times. More »
Davison Road Maintenance begins 7/7/2014. Expect delays.
Beginning July 7, road crews will be grading sections of Davison Road between the hours of 8 am and 4:30 pm. Visitors to Gold Bluffs Beach and Fern Canyon should expect 30 minute delays.
Found only minutes from our local communities, Redwood National and State Parks is a natural and wild place. Within this natural environment there are potential hazards. Whether you are a visitor or resident, being in or near Redwood National and State Parks means being in elk, black bear, mountain lion, tick, tsunami, and "sneaker" wave country. Regardless of how much time you plan to spend in or near the redwoods, please take a few moments to familiarize yourself these safety guidelines.
In an EMERGENCY, DIAL 911
For Redwood National and State Parks information dial (707) 465-7335
Sneaker wave safety
Don't get trapped by a rising tide! Always carry -- and know how to use -- a tide table, topographic map and a watch whenever hiking along the redwood coast! Several points along the coast are only passable at lower tides. DO NOT GUESS! Know when the tides will occur and plan your hike according. Strong winds or storms can significantly elevate tides and create hazardous conditions. Be attentive to your surroundings and never underestimate the power of the Pacific Ocean.
Tips to stay safe while enjoying the North Coast
In the northern part of of the parks, see Crescent City, Calif.
In the southern part of the parks, see Orick, Calif.
Many of the elk herds within Redwood National and State Parks are used to being in close proximity to people, and therefore may appear somewhat tame. NOT SO! Elk may be encountered anywhere in the parks, including beaches and river bars. Give them plenty of space! As the largest subspecies of North American elk (bulls can weigh as much as 1,200 pounds), Roosevelt elk deserve your respect and attention.
Calving season-late spring
During calving season, late May through June, female (cow) elk may be extremely defensive of their young. Newborn elk calves may be hidden in vegetation out of view, sometimes near trails. As people approach, a cow may charge aggressively, and could rear up and lash out with her front legs. A single cow or groups of cows with calves should be given a very wide berth, as tempting as it may be to try to get that great photo of a newborn calf!
Rut, breeding season-fall
During the fall rut, or elk breeding season, in late August through October males (bulls) become defensive and aggressive. At this time bulls gather their cows in groups, or harems. They may stomp and charge at both people on foot and vehicles. If you encounter a bull with his harem on a trail, slowly back away and fin an alternative route.
If you encounter an elk at close range
If an elk charges
If you witness an aggressive elk, take note of the location and report it to a park ranger as soon as possible.
Bears are wild! Inviting them into your picnic or camp—on purpose or accidentally—can result in damage to your equipment, you, or the bear. Bears have great memories and can quickly become accustomed to human foods. Once habits form (i.e campgrounds provide food), a bear may become frustrated when food is no longer available. The "habituated" bear expects a reward (food) in exchange for a learned behavior (human encounters). A frustrated and hungry bear that seeks human encounters is dangerous. Wildlife managers, given no other options, may have to destroy the bear. Help save a bear and avoid personal injury by following these precautions:
Prevent a Black Bear Encounter
Download an informative black bear safety brochure here.
Mountain lions (also known as: cougars, pumas, panthers) are large, seldom seen forest inhabitants. Still, mountain lion sightings have increased in recent years and like any wild animal, they can be dangerous. The following suggestions are recommended in lion country.
Prevent an encounter
If you encounter a mountain lion
If a mountain attacks
Poison Oak grows as a low shrub in clumps or long vines throughout Redwood National and State Parks. If you see a vine climbing up a tree that has a reddish color in the stem or leaves, chances are great that it is Poison Oak. On the ground, look for fuzzy or waxy green leaves in clusters of three. In the fall, the leaves will change to a reddish color. Poison Oak may have yellow-white berries.
How is poison oak spread?
When the oils from Poison Oak come in contact with human skin it may cause a rash. Most commonly in Redwood National and State Parks, visitors come in indirect contact with Poison Oak, that is, the plant's oil is often and unknowingly stuck to clothing, pets, camping gear, and other items that have come in contact with the plant. The hardest part of dealing with indirect exposure is the fact that the plant's oil lingers (sometimes for years) on virtually any surface until it's washed off with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
Tips for prevention
Tick SafetyIn Redwood National and State Parks, ticks dwell in tall grass, bushes, and wooded areas. In the summer months, as temperatures increase, ticks become more active. Ticks can infect humans with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause serious illness. As you venture into these habitats, follow these guidelines to protect yourself.
Removing a tick
Common Lyme disease symptoms
Did You Know?
Did you see that bullet cross the treetops? That's the marbled murrelet! The robin-sized seabird nests on the branches of old-growth conifer trees and flies to and from the ocean at 60 miles per hour. In the ocean, it feeds on fish. This bird is listed as state-endangered and federally-threatened.