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9 Magical Redwood Groves in California
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9 Magical Redwood Groves in California

Come with us as we dive into the most magical redwood groves in California and explore Mother Nature.

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5 min read

March 03, 2022

The towering redwoods of California are one of the state’s biggest tourist draws, and it’s easy to see why. Dating back over 200 million years, reaching soaring heights of 300 feet, and branching out in a hundred different directions, these awe-inspiring trees have a greatness to them that is best experienced up-close. 

If you haven’t done so yet, planning a trip to the best redwood groves in the Golden State could be one of the best travel decisions you’ll ever make. Pick any of the spots we’ve highlighted and you’ll have a memorable journey surrounded by gentle giants.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park consists of 9,500 acres of redwood trees, including several groves of old-growth trees.

1. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Most people immediately think of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park at the mention of California redwoods. Likely one of the most stunning redwood parks in California, Jedediah Smith houses seven percent of all old-growth redwoods in the world. A handful of redwood hikes in the park take you along scenic routes, exposing you to primeval corners of the park—make sure to put aside enough time to trek at least one of them.

The area is also considered to be the original home of the Tolowa Native American tribe. There are several exhibits showcasing the cultural history of the park at the visitor center; make sure to check them out!

2. Redwood Grove Nature Preserve

The sublime Redwood Grove Nature Preserve is an unexpected treasure hiding in the suburbs of Los Altos. While it only occupies six acres of land in total, this redwood forest in California is one of the most striking South Bay destinations to explore. You’ll find a boardwalk, picnic tables, observation decks, and a rose garden at Redwood Grove Nature Preserve. If you plan to go on a hike, you’ll also likely come across the 14.2-mile-long Adobe Creek flowing through its premises.

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is a 14,000-acre verdant land that's a coastal sanctuary for old-growth Coast Redwood trees.

3. Prairie Creek Redwood State Park

Prairie Creek Redwood State Park in Humboldt County will seem familiar to sci-fi fans—it has starred in numerous flicks, including a certain galaxy far, far away, and a land where dinosaurs once roamed free. Given its otherworldly landscape and fossils dating back to the Jurassic period, it is no surprise that these Northern California redwoods have inspired directors.

If you even find yourself among the towering trees of Prairie Creek, make sure to explore Fern Canyon. This is a narrow creekbed bounded by towering walls of lush ferns and dripping moss; a must-see natural attraction in every way.

4. Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Another Humboldt County redwood grove makes the list with Humboldt Redwoods State Park. While this can’t-miss state park allows you to experience the redwoods without leaving your car along the Avenue of Giants, we highly recommend exploring parts of it on foot as well. 

Choose from over 250 campsites among the redwoods in this California park and hike more than 100 miles of trails. Only have time for one hike? Make it the half-mile Founders Grove Nature Trail. This redwood hike takes you to the Founders Tree, which is one of the world’s tallest trees.

Hendy Woods State Park is named after Joshua Hendy, who owned the land and stipulated that it be protected.

5. Hendy Woods State Park

A getaway to Hendy Woods State Park is one of the best things on the North Coast of California. This Mendocino County gem is the perfect setting for a weekend full of adventures, offering redwood groves, swimming holes, tranquil campsites, and even a hidden hermit hut. Once you’re done gushing over the piercing trees along your redwood hike, reward yourself with a dip in the nearby Navarro River. Providing a string of swimming holes, this scenic body of water is the perfect place to unwind when the weather gets a bit too hot to bear.

6. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Less than five miles from Santa Cruz’s sunny coasts is a gorgeous redwood grove by the name of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. This 40-acre grove of trees was spared the extensive logging of the 19th and 20th centuries, so it has plenty of old-growth trees for you to find.

Besides towering redwoods in California, the park’s diverse landscape also includes the sandy terrain of an ancient seafloor, an observation deck with sweeping views of Monterey Bay, numerous swimming holes, and notable trees such as the Fremont Tree, whose massive, hollowed trunk gives the perfect photo ops for groups.

The Redwood National and State Parks are a complex of one national park and three state parks, cooperatively managed.

7. Redwood National and State Parks

Down to meet the tallest tree in the world? Plan the ultimate forested getaway to Redwood National and State Parks. Home to roughly 45 percent of all of California’s remaining old-growth redwoods, this incredible destination is unlike any other place you’ve been to. You likely won’t identify Hyperion, which is the 380-foot redwood in California gracing the pages of the Guinness World Records books, because its location has been kept a secret to protect its fragile root system. However, you’ll also hardly miss it given the park’s wealth of magnificent redwood groves.

8. Muir Woods National Monument

San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area is home to many beautiful attractions, and the Muir Woods National Monument is one of them. Teeming with big trees, colossal crowds, and a ton of scenery, this 558-acre redwood grove is one of the most visited destinations in California for good reason. 

A series of loop trails connect the park and invite you to stroll as far as you’d like into the forested valley. Highlights you may come across along your redwood hike in Muir Woods include the hushed Cathedral Grove, the beautiful Redwood Creek, and neighboring spots such as Muir Beach and Mount Tamalpais.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park contains almost all of the Waddell Creek watershed, which was formed by the seismic uplift of its rim.

9. Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is one of the best state parks near San Francisco. Not only is it the oldest of its kind, but it’s also considered a Golden State historical landmark, housing numerous points of interest for history buffs. 

Big Basin’s unique variety of flora and fauna includes the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of the San Francisco area, as well as a varied landscape that features waterfalls, canyons, and slopes covered with greenery. While Northern California redwoods are definitely the stars of the show, phenomenal views of the Pacific Ocean give you an extra reason to plan a trip to the incomparable Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

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