Frequently Asked Questions

Things To Know


Where are we?
Redwood National and State Parks is in northern California just below the Oregon border. We are a 7-hour drive north of San Francisco, about a 4-hour drive west of Redding, and an 8-hour drive south of Portland, Oregon. The parks' headquarters is located in Crescent City, CA.

Do I need to reserve an "entry time" to go to Redwood National and State Parks?
No. You can arrive at any time of day and night.

Where are the entrance stations?
We don't have any entrance stations or "main gates" at Redwood National and State Parks. Most of our sights, facilities and trails are along HWY 101, the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and other county roads. The only place where there is an entrance station is for visitors driving towards Fern Canyon. Those visitors will pay a state park entrance fee at the Gold Bluffs Beach entrance kiosk.

When are the parks closed?
The parks here are always open. Visitor centers are open from 9 am to 5 pm each day in summer, and 9 am to 4 pm in autumn to spring. Our visitor centers are closed on Thanksgiving, December 25th, and January 1st.

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

There is a $35.00 per night/per site fee to camp. Reservations can be made by calling Reserve California at 1-800-444-7275.

Where is the drive-through tree?
There are no trees in the parks you can drive through. However, there are three coast redwoods you may drive through in California. One is a few minutes drive from middle of the park - in Klamath. The others are 2-hours to the south. One of those have been featured in TV commercials recently. All three are at private business, which charge a fee to drive your car through. Find out more.

From north to south; Klamath: "Tour Through Tree", Myers Flat: "Shrine Tree" and Legget: "Chandelier Tree".

If you are thinking of a black and white photograph of an old car driving through tree, that was likely the "Wawona Tree". This was a giant sequoia in Yosemite National Park. Due to the damage caused by cutting it, this tree fell over in 1969 under a heavy snowfall.

Did you hear of a drive-through tree that fell down in the winter of 2016-2017? That was a giant sequoia which fell down in Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

Is there an entrance fee to the parks?
There is no entrance fee for Redwood National Park areas. Most of the California State Park areas are free too. There is a state park entrance fee when driving to Gold Bluffs Beach and Fern Canyon. State parks charge for camping and do 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. 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 national park was dedicated on October 2, 1968. On March 27, 1978 the national 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 Parks contain 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.

How is this a State and National Park?
This is a unique partnership between California and the US government. In the 1920's, citizens and the state of California began buying land to preserve some of the redwood groves. Parts of these purchases are now three of state parks that are located here. In the late 1960s the federal government purchased from timber companies some of the last sections of old growth redwood groves and this became a national park. The state parks and national park sections are in close proximity, and share many borders. In 1994 the management and operations were combined. State park employees work alongside national park employees, and as a visitor you might not even notice the difference.

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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?
Redwood National and State Parks 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. A typical old-growth redwood in this area can be over 300 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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Last updated: May 4, 2021

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Crescent City, CA 95531


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