Sure, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are amazing, but, what if I told you there was a place even better—somewhere that belongs in a Lord of the Rings type movie. Somewhere tree-lovers near and far could only dream of. Somewhere that ranks higher than those other parks on the epicness scale. “Dani, What?” I couldn’t believe it either until I planned a Redwood National Park itinerary.
*Redwood National Park has just entered the chat*
Redwood National Park is so lush, unique, underrated, AND under-visited—you need to visit ASAP. With its proximity to the coast, the park is an easy addition to a larger California and PNW trip you might already be planning, so no excuses! Or, you can plan a trip around day hikes in the park and then afternoon runs to the beach—ummmm sign me up!
But hey, I get it, planning what to see and when it is difficult, right? No problemo! In this blog, we will go over my suggestions for the perfect Redwood National Park 2 day itinerary, complete with some information about things to do in the area. By the end of this blog, you’ll be practically running to RNSP.
So let’s begin because you have a long run! We’ll start with a few must-know details. And when you’re done with this blog, you can check out my Redwood National Park guide for additional help with planning your trip!
Disclaimer: Hey booskie—this blog includes some affiliate links. When you use my links to make a purchase, I earn a small commission at NO ADDITIONAL cost to you! These help support me and my blog, so thank you for your consideration!
Planning Your Redwood National Park Itinerary
- 🌲Where is the Park: Redwood National Park and State Parks are located in the Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, in Northwestern California.
- 🌞When to Go: Spring through Summer
- ✈️Flying: Rogue Valley Airport in Medford, OR is the closest airport at 2 hours drive from the park. Use KAYAK to find tickets!
- 🚙Rental Car: KAYAK is my go-to for the best rental car prices!
- 🚐Rental Campervan: Click here to rent a campervan!
- 🏨Where to Stay: We’ll cover this under each day!
- ⏰How Long to Stay: A Redwood National Park 2 day itinerary is ideal.
- 🎟Fees: RNSP is free to visit with the exception of an $8-day use and vehicle fee to visit Jedediah Smith State Park.
The best way to describe Redwood National Park to you is to think of a conglomerate of State Parks PLUS a national park. Together these makeup what is known as RNSP (Redwood National and State Parks). Here are the state parks:
- Jedediah Smith State Park
- Del Norte Coast State Park
- Prairie Creek State Park
Since you’ll be exploring these parks within 2 days, you’ll want to make the most of your time! Flying into Medford, Oregon will do the trick—assuming you are located outside of California—and will be a 2 hour drive to Jedediah Smith State Park. That’s exactly how this itinerary will be laid out for you! We’ll be focusing on Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek, though, because those offer the most attractions!
Things to do in Redwood National Park
Here is a quick list of things to do in RNSP!
- Drive Howland Hill Road—Scenic driving route in Jedediah Smith State Park
- Hike Boy Scout Tree Trail—Redwood trail that starts from Howland Hill Road.
- Hike Karl Knapp Trail—2.5 mile trail that consists of tree tunnels and large Redwoods.
- Take a scenic trip into Fern Canyon—A lush canyon covered head-to-toe in large ferns.
- Hike Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail—1.5 mile loop into a vibrant Redwood forest.
Don’t worry! In your 2 day Redwood National Park itinerary, we’ll cover how to see all of these!
And before we jump in, below you’ll find an itinerary map I created for you! Click here to view a live version of the map if that’s more your style.
Redwood National Park 2 Day Itinerary
- Day 1
- Land in Medford, OR
- Drive to Jedediah Smith State Park
- Day 2
- Drive to Prairie Creek State Park & explore
- Explore Fern Canyon
- Option to see Lady Bird Johnson Grove
- Depart in the morning
We’ll dive into your itinerary now! Each day is split into what to do in the morning and afternoon/ evening. I’ve also included specifics on where to stay—enjoy!
Day 1—Jedediah Smith State Park
- Day 1 in Sum: Land in Medford, OR, drive to Jedediah Smith State Park, explore
- Drive Time: ~2 hours
- Stay: Riverfront House, Beachfront Home in Crescent City, Pet-Friendly Riverfront Home, or Camp in Jedediah Smith
- Eat: SeaQuake Brewing is a popular choice, especially if you’re a beer lover. They also have some great vegan options available.
For this itinerary, I will assume that you fly in from Medford, Oregon. Of course, being out of state, that would be what I would do! After flying into Medford, Oregon, you’ll pick up your rental car and begin your trek to the Redwood National Park and State Parks area.
I HIGHLY recommend you do a grocery run before descending to the park. You will have about a two-hour drive, and if you’re like me, snacks are of utmost importance. There is a Walmart about 10min away from the Medford Airport. If that doesn’t do it for you, then three is a Costco available as well!
If you need an espresso fix, you can go to Forage Coffee! It’s about a 10 minute drive south from the airport – the general direction we need to go in. You can certainly save the grocery shopping for Crescent City, especially if you plan on camping and don’t want food in your car for the journey south. You’ll now have about a 2 hour drive to the Jedediah Smith State Park area.
Afternoon to Evening
Once you arrive, you have a couple of things you can do! Jedediah became one of my favorite places to see in Redwood National Park, and it sits a few miles inland from the coast of California.
I highly recommend driving along Howland Hill Road (if you’re up for more driving), where you’ll be able to get up close and personal with giant redwoods. On a foggy day, the park looks even more magical than it already is! Did you know Star Wars was filmed here? I was casually waiting for Ewoks to appear.
Howland Hill Road is a 10mi drive that is open all year round. It will take about 45 to 90min to complete.
Looking for a hike to do in the area? Give the Boy Scout Tree Trail a go! The trail is about a 5.5mi round trip. The trail starts at Howland Hill Road and will immerse you fully in Redwoods. This was one of my favorite hikes on my Redwood National Park itinerary when I last visited.
I’ve only ever done a section of it, but the entire trail can take 3 to 5 hours to complete. Once you’re done for the day, you’ll be staying in the area.
Where to Stay
Crescent City will be your best bet. Your hotel options will be a bit sparse—the rentals are great, though! Check them out:
- Riverfront House ($$$)—A 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms house right on the Smith River, which features some of the bluest water you hav ever seen. In addition to being in your own forest hideaway, the property features a hot tub, a BBQ, snorkeling gear, kayaks, and bikes—all for your enjoyment. Inside the home you’ll find an abundance of windows, so that magical forest view will never go unseen. This is the perfect place for a group. It’s about 0.6 miles away from Jedediah Smith State Park.
- Beachfront Home in Crescent City ($$$)—Ready to never want to go home again? This beachfront property has views of the ocean in every direction. The massive sun room that was most likely built for royalty will put you in a state of “awe” every time you peer out at the coast. With 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, this property will be great for family get together and groups. About 18 minutes from Jedediah Smith.
- Bungalow in the Heart of the Redwoods ($$)—Book a getaway in this cute cabin bungalow! The property features a large outdoor area and lets visitors feel fully immersed in the beauty of the Redwoods. With 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, this is the perfect place for a group of friends or a small family. Bring about 1 mile from Jedediah Smith and minutes from the beach, you can spend the day exploring then come back to the large fireplace to talk about the day’s adventures.
Camping in Jedediah Smith State Park is another great option! You’ll need to head to the Reserve California website to book your campground. There is a $7.99 reservation fee, and from my research, one night at a tent site will cost you about $35.00.
Day 2—Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
- Day 2 in Sum: Explore Prairie Creek State Park, Fern Canyon, Lady Bird Johnson Grove
- Drive Time: ~2 hours
- Stay: Charming Beach House, Pet-Friendly Home Near Beach, or remain in Crescent City
- Eat: Seafood lovers might enjoy Trinidad Bay Eatery ; Beachcomber Cafe has vegan options available!
Now it’s time to descend further South! Your next stop will be the Prairie Creek area. The drive here will take you about an hour.
You can hike among giant redwoods on the 2.5mi Karl Knapp Trail. Along the way, you’ll walk through tree tunnels and find hideaways within the trees. It’s pretty neat! PS, this is also referred to as Foothills Trail which can get confusing. It starts near Elk Prairie Road.
What I love most about this trail because you can make whatever you want out of it. Even though the trail is a loop, you don’t HAVE to complete the whole thing. As a matter of fact, my favorite parts of the trail were in the first half a mile! The Prairie Creek area is known for elk, so you have a good chance of seeing them on your adventure!
Prairie Creek remains one of my favorite hiking trails to date. Can you see why?
Afternoon to Evening
Close to Prairie Creek, Fern Canyon is another option for you. Imagine a giant black stone canyon with walls lined with more ferns than you have ever seen in your life. It’s quite the sight and should be on your list of things to do in Redwood National Park! You must pay an $8-day fee to enter!
You can also choose to explore Lady Bird Johnson Grove. Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail is one of the more popular things to do in Redwood National Park. Like most areas, it is known for its lush forest views. While I believe it is pretty, I think you can get a similar vibe by visiting Prairie Creek!
Where to Stay
Once you’re done exploring, you can go back up to the Crescent City area before returning to Oregon. Another option is to continue South and stay in Trinidad. Staying in Trinidad is a good option if you plan on continuing your journey back down to California.
Trinidad offers a mix of beachfront properties and cabins—lucky you! Below are some hotels and rental properties to consider.
- Trinidad Bay Bed and Breakfast Hotel($$$)—Book a stay in this adorable bed and breakfast where your room is sure to have a view! This charming property sits about 5 minutes from the beach. Guests have the option of enjoying a 3-course breakfast, which will be the perfect start to the day! It’s the perfect place for couples to book.
- Charming Beach House ($$$)—This charming beach house is located right on the beach and Trinidad Bay. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll be greeted by an ocean sunrise, peering in through the kitchen windows, while making your first coffee of the day. With 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom, this is the perfect rental for couple’s visiting!
- Emerald Forest Cabins($$)—Opt for a dreamy cabin getaway nestled deep in the coastal forest. Cabins on property features a cozy kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and an adorable patio for you to enjoy. A short drive will take you to the beach or a state park. Plus, it’s pet-friendly, so Fido can come too!
Tomorrow you’ll be wrapping up your trip! You can either depart back to Oregon in the morning or continue down the California coast. Below I’ve detailed some additional options to consider on your trip—if you have more time!
Redwood National Park Itinerary Add-Ons
Have more time to explore the Redwood National Park and State parks area? Consider these destinations!
Spend a Sunny Morning at Sue-Meg State Park
If you’re a morning person and don’t mind a sunrise mission, then make your way to Sue-Meg State Park! Sue-Meg State Park sits right on the coast and a little before you enter the official Redwood National Park area.
The views are breathtaking. There is nothing I love more than listening to the sound of crashing waves, and Sue-Meg is the best place to do that! Patrick’s Point became one of my favorite parts of my Redwood National Park itinerary because of the…drumroll, LIGHT RAYS. Yes! I said light rays. They will shine down like no other.
Drive Avenue of the Giants
If you find yourself in the Humboldt area, make sure you take a drive along Avenue of the Giants. The Avenue is another road you can drive and stop to get better views of giant redwoods. There is also a river flowing alongside the Avenue, and most people don’t know the river turns blue in the winter. 10/10 would drive this road again.
Alternatively, if you have one day in Redwood National Park, I would skip these and spend it entirely in the Jedediah Smith area or visit Prairie Creek then Jedediah Smith!
Final Tips for Visiting RNSP
Now that I KNOW you’re on your way to visit Redwood National park, here are some tips for your visit!
Leave Animals Alone
This goes without saying, but please leave wildlife alone in Redwood National Park! Approaching or feeding wildlife can harm the animal in the long run and could end with you getting hurt.
Watch the Weather
Sure, you need to watch the weather for just about any trip, but this is especially true for Redwood National Park. The park tends to get lots of rain and thick fog. But, you don’t want your trip to be ruined because you couldn’t enjoy the sights!
Bring a Wide-Angle Lens
The trees here are HUGE. Bring a wide-angle lens to ensure you can capture the beauty of the park!
Head-Up to the Oregon Coast
That’s right! If you have time to kill, extend your trip up to the Oregon Coast! If you fly in from Medford, OR, this should be an easy inclusion.
And that’s it! I hope you found this Redwood National Park itinerary write up to be helpful. The entire area is gorgeous. If you’re still feeling a bit unsure about the trip, I would aim to see a major highlight like Howland Hill Road or Karl Knapp Trail, then maybe opt for a beach day!
That way, you’ll have a diverse trip that included some sand, sea, and forest.
For more information on getting to the park, best time to visit, etc., read my complete Redwood National Park guide next!