Tall Trees Grove

Redwood trees line the right bank of Redwood Creek
Redwoods line the right side of Redwood Creek


Half Day Adventure To A Celebrated Grove

This four-mile (6.5km) round trip backcountry hike with 1,600 feet (487 m) elevation change is frequently written about in blogs, international publications, and by travel writers. As a result it gets a lot of attention - but this hike is not for the faint of heart - or for people short on time.

Keep in mind there are many other physically easier to do and to access trails in the parks that will lead you to equally beautiful old-growth redwood groves. If you want our best suggestion for an alternative to the Tall Trees Trail, we suggest the Prairie Creek-Foothill Trail Loop. It is very easy to get to, it has trees just as tall, and is much easier on the knees.

The Tall Trees Trail is a moderately strenuous hike that descends 800-feet down to the alluvial floodplain of Redwood Creek. The grove has plenty of water, good soil, and protection from winter winds and as a result has many redwood trees that exceed 350 feet (106 meters) in height.

The grove was featured in a famous 1963 National Geographic Magazine article that helped propel a public push for the creation of Redwood National Park. The tallest tree in the world is not located in the Tall Trees Grove. After the discovery by the National Geographic survey team, the tree known as the Libby Tree, or "Tall Tree", held the title until 1994 when the top died back, dropping it down to the 34th tallest tree on the planet.

Be Prepared: Make sure you have food, water, sturdy shoes, raingear, and a flashlight.

Access: Allow a 1-hour drive (including 7-miles on a dirt road) from the nearest visitor center to the trailhead. The road to the Tall Trees trailhead is a narrow and windy. The small parking lot does not accommodate RVs over 21 feet or vehicles towing trailers. There is a locked gate at the top of the road to manage the traffic and to avoid overcrowding. Visitors must get a free permit and gate information from the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center before attempting to access the Tall Trees Grove.

We recommend that visitors do not rely on digital maps to find your way to the gate - digital map accuracy and data coveage in our area is poor. Park rangers will provide good directions when you get your free permit.

Free Permit Required: Free Tall Trees permits can be obtained in-person at the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center after 9 am of the day of your visit. No permits will be issued by phone or my other visitor centers. All that is required is your vehicle make, model and the number of people in your group. Daily permits are limited - and they may be all given out on busy summer holidays like July 4th.

Two vault toilets, a shelter, and information panels are located at the trailhead.
A free permit required - these are issued from our visitor centers on the day of your Tall Trees trip.
Tall Trees hikers must fist pick up a free permit and get the gate combination from rangers at a park visitor center.
Always bring a flashlight when hiking in the redwood forests. They get darker much earlier than what you might be used to.
Accessibility Information
This is not an ADA trail and has switchbacks and a grade exceeding 10%. Trail is four to six feet wide. Aggreate and wood material with occasional tree roots. 

Service animals are welcome.

Last updated: December 18, 2019