Redwood National Park, California

Redwood National Park, California

According to TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA, Northern California’s unique climate has produced a plant species that makes any human dwarfed by comparison: the coastal redwood forests are a wonder of the world in many ways. They still amaze visitors – this also applies to the environment in which the giants stand.

When the white settlers first set foot on Californian soil, extensive forests with the tallest trees in the world stretched along the coast: The Sequioa sempervirens – as the coast redwood is called in Latin – differs from its relatives, the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), primarily by size. With a maximum height of 115 m, the coast mammoth is quite a bit larger than its misleadingly named inland relative. Both trees are evergreen conifers (cypresses) that can reach an age of up to 2,000 years.

With human colonization of the coast, the large areas where the trees once grew were rapidly decimated. 95 percent of the former stocks were destroyed in this way. The wood of the mighty trees was a very coveted raw material because it is extremely durable. Redwood National Park protects some of the last remaining contiguous areas in which these “redwoods” (as the trees are known in English because of their red wood) stand.

The park, which covers an area of ​​approximately 24,000 hectares along the coast, also includes three California state parks: Prairie Creek Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods and Jedediah Smith Redwoods. The national park was only established in October 1968. Since 1994 the administration has been combined with the state parks – so it is both a national park and a state park. The park has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980.

Visitors who come here can easily see the park in a day – although those staying longer will have a better chance of seeing some of the park’s residents who live here in the forest and along the wild boisterous coast . These include the Roosevelt wapiti (also called Roosevelt moose) or the Pacific giant salamanders that live here, as well as sea lions and brown pelicans that spend the summer here.

Location and Size
The 534 km² national park is located on the northwest coast of California near the Oregon border. The park stretches north-south for around 100 km and has a total of four visitor centres. The national park is a seven-hour (520 km) drive north of San Francisco, about a six-hour (530 km) drive south of Portland, Oregon, and a four-hour (270 km) drive west of Redding. The park includes not only the redwood forests, but also 60 km of unspoilt coastline with tide pools and sandy beaches, as well as rivers and prairies.

Directly via Hwy. 101 between Arcata and Crescent City.

Opening times and seasons
The park is open all year round.

Admission Fees
Admission to Redwood National Park is free with the exception of Gold Bluffs Beach at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. There is a daily fee of USD 8 (please note any changes). The entrance to Fern Canyon is also chargeable.

Thomas Kuchel Visitor Center – Approximately 2.2 miles south of Orick is the first visitor center for those coming from the south on US 101. And it is the largest of the five visitor centers. There is an exhibition here with several exhibits, as well as a video about the ecology of sequoias. There is also a bookshop and access to the sandy beach.
Opening times in summer: daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., off-season: daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Crescent City Information Center
The Crescent City Visitor Center – Located in the town of Crescent City at 1111 Second Street. There is an information stand, an adjoining picnic area and a small shop. The visitor center is located in the basement of the building, which also houses the park headquarters .
Opening times in summer: daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., off-season: only as required.

Prairie Creek Visitor Center
The visitor center is located on the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway – in the heart of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. – Approximately 10.5 km north of Orick, CA. There is also information, an exhibition, a junior ranger program and a shop.
Opening times in summer: daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., off-season: daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hiouchi Visitor Center
The northernmost visitor center is about 9 miles northeast of Crescent City on Highway 199. It also has a year-round information booth, exhibits, and a small shop. You can also get the backcountry permits if you want to go into the wilderness.
Opening times in summer: daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., off-season: daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jedediah Smith Visitor Center
The Visitor Center is located directly at the Jedediah Smith campground – 15 km northeast of Crescent City on Highway 199 -. There is also an information stand with a small shop and numerous activities with the park rangers (but only during the summer season). The Visitor Center is also the starting point for numerous hikes.
Opening times in summer: daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., off-season: daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During the summer, the high pressure area moves north and dries out the landscape. The California Current pulls warm surface water from the coast and brings deeper, colder seawater to the shore. Moisture occurs where the cold sea and the warm coast meet. The water that results from the moisture is carried down river canyons, providing the redwoods with the water they need to grow.

The ocean influences the relatively even weather along the California coast. Winters are cool with a lot of precipitation due to the many storms that originate from a high pressure area in the North Pacific. From October to April there is between 1.5 to 2 meters of rain.

Average Temperatures Redwood National Park, California in °C
Month Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 19 19 18 14 13
Min 4 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 9 8th 6 4

Visitors to Redwood National Park should wear an outdoor jacket (windbreaker) even in summer and warm waterproof clothing in winter; Hat, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended at all times!

Sights and vantage points

Klamath River Overlook – Some 200m above sea level, this point offers a view of the river’s confluence with the Pacific Ocean. From December to April you can watch migrating gray whales from here. It is also worth going to the lower lookout point, which offers views of the roaring surf of the Pacific.
Location: 8 km north of Klamath

Coastal Drive Loop – (Approx. 14 km – Duration 45 minutes). South of Klamath, the winding and very narrow one-way road leads through wild terrain with breathtaking views of the Pacific. In addition to the natural beauty and plenty of animals such as pelicans, sea lions and whales, there is also a WWII radar station disguised as a farm here.
From Klamath 1 mile on the 101 exit at Klamath Beach Road. 1.5 miles left onto Alder Camp Rd. Continue 2.2 miles to fork in road, then right (Northbound).
The road can also be ridden by mountain bike. It is closed to motorhomes and caravans.

Howland Hill Road – (approximately 10 miles – takes 45 minutes). The dirt road – just a few miles west of Crescent City features magnificent redwood trees in the middle of Jedidiah Smith Redwood Park.
Directions: From Crecent City south on 101, after 1 mile turn left onto Elk Valley Road. After approximately 1 mile turn right onto Howland Hill Road – then Jedidiah Smith Park (unpaved). Driving with motorhomes and caravans is not recommended because of the narrow road.

Bald Hill Road (approx. 27 km – duration 45 minutes). In addition to towering redwood trees, there are stretches of open prairie with wildflowers and Roosevelt moose and black bears. At the southernmost point of the park is Schoolhouse Peak. At almost 1,000 m, it is the highest point in the national park.
Directions: 1 mile north of Orick on 101, exit Bald Hill Road. Driving with motorhomes and caravans is not recommended because of the narrow road.

Avenue of the Giants – About 130 km south of Orick (about 200 km south of Crescent City) on State Route 254 is the 52 km long Avenue of the Giants, which runs parallel to US101. Numerous activities are offered here.

Fern Canyon: The wonderful world of ferns
The Fern Canyon is not yet very famous – except among plant lovers, because the 10 to 15 m high steep walls of the gorge are overgrown with the wondrous plants that prefer it to be constantly wet. The canyon was even used as a filming location in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster The Lost World: Jurassic Park . And after that the BBC documentary Walking with Dinosaurs and the IMAX’s film Dinosaurs Alive were filmed hereturned. A total of seven different types of ferns grow here – and transform the canyon of Home Creek into a strangely wallpapered green space. Amphibians also like the constant moisture – that’s why you can find giant transverse-toothed newts here, which can grow up to 30 cm in size. A signposted path leads all the way into the canyon, which narrows the further you hike. Fern Canyon is a designated International Biosphere Reserve. VUSA tip: Waterproof shoes are highly recommended.
How to get there: Turn off the 101 at Orick onto the Davison dirt road and follow this road for 10 miles.

Redwood National Park, California

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