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National Parks

EPIC Yosemite to Redwood National Park Road Trip | 4-Day Itinerary

Jan 5, 2024

National Parks

EPIC Yosemite to Redwood National Park Road Trip | 4-Day Itinerary

Jan 5, 2024

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I'm a travel creator and influencer coach based out of Arizona. This blog is where I share the best itineraries for US & beyond, 63 US National Parks, and influencer tips.

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Whether that’s the hiking paradise of Yosemite National Park, the incredible majesty of Redwood National Park, or the scorching heat of Death Valley National Park, there is something for everyone in California’s national parks.

That makes picking which US National Park you want to visit tricky, as each of the nine parks offers such unique attractions.  

That said, you don’t have to choose just one, as you could always take a road trip from Yosemite to Redwood. This guide will combine a Redwood National Park itinerary with a Yosemite trip, with some magnificent stops along the way. 

And as someone who has done this myself when I lived in a campervan for a year, and DID this road trip more than once, I can’t recommend it enough!

Don’t know what to pack, when to go, or how far Yosemite is from Redwood National Park? No need to stress. All you need to do is keep reading – you’ll find all you need below!

Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!

Best Time to Do the Yosemite to Redwood Drive

To take part in all the best hikes, sights, and activities, the best time to do this road trip is from May to September.

More specifically, summer (June to August), where temperatures range between the 60s and the 70s Fahrenheit, is an optimal season to drive.

Just keep in mind that this is a peak tourist period, so it can be handy to book accommodation in advance. 

That said, the great thing about this itinerary is that it really can be done year-round.

Whether that’s appreciating the auburn foliage of fall (September to October) or enjoying the mild northern California winter (November to March), this drive is stunning anytime. 

Distance from Yosemite to Redwood National Park

The shortest route from Yosemite to the Redwoods is 463 miles along California State Route 4 and US Route 101.

There are loads of brilliant stops along the way, such as national forests, beaches, quaint towns, and picturesque sights. 

Adding these stops to your road trip will cover a distance of between 500 and 600 miles.

This amounts to a driving time of between 10 and 12 hours, but don’t worry, it’s not all continuous. 

What to Pack for a Yosemite to Redwood Road Trip 

Still trying to decide what to add to your bag for a Yosemite to Redwood drive? Here’s a list of some must-haves when packing:

Yosemite National Park to Redwood National Park Itinerary Breakdown  

Now that we’ve covered the nitty-gritty, let’s get into a full-on breakdown of the Yosemite to Redwood itinerary.

  • Day 1: Yosemite to Sacramento
  • Day 2: Sacramento to Mendocino
  • Day 3: Mendocino to Eureka
  • Day 4: Eureka to Redwood

Top tip: This route covers the coastal region of northern California. If you’d prefer to explore more of the Golden State’s natural landmarks, adding a detour via Lassen Volcanic National Park and Lake Tahoe to Redwood National Park is definitely worth it.

Day 1 – Yosemite National Park to Sacramento

Driving time: 2 hours and 40 minutes

Mileage: 141 miles

Morning to Afternoon

The best way to start your day in Yosemite National Park is by going on a hike, and one fantastic option is the Cook’s Meadow Loop.

This takes you past famous landmarks, such as the Yosemite Falls, the Merced River, the Yosemite Valley Chapel, Half Dome, and Glacier Point. 

Prefer something a little more challenging? You could do the Valley Loop Trail if you’ve got time.

Next up, it’s not a visit to Yosemite without seeing the awe-inspiring El Capitan.

Whether you’re seeing this sight from Tunnel View or Yosemite Meadow, try your best to spot some adrenaline-seeking climbers. 

Afternoon to Evening

Now, it’s time to hit the road, more specifically, California State Route 99 north towards Sacramento.

Along the way, you’ll pass quaint towns like Groveland and natural beauty, such as New Melones Lake and the Red Hills Recreational Management Area. 

If you’re feeling hungry, a great place to stop for some food is Stockton, around two hours into the drive.

For great sushi, visit Cocoro Japanese Bistro. If you are looking for something more substantial, then Fat City Brew & BBQ is the place for you. 

End off your day by staying at Embassy Suites by Hilton Sacramento Riverfront Promenade. It’s right in Downtown and close to many fantastic museums. What’s more, it’s also got spacious rooms, complimentary breakfast, and an indoor swimming pool. 

Read Next: Prettiest and Ugliest US National Parks

Day 2 – Sacramento to Mendocino

Driving time: 3 hours and 45 minutes

Mileage: 197 miles

Morning to Afternoon

Get your second day running with the included breakfast at the hotel.

Prefer to explore the city? Then, bacon & butter is a brunch spot you won’t want to miss. With options like the grilled cheese Benedict, the apple pie French toast, and the bacon and egg flapjacks – it’s no wonder locals love this place so much. 

Continue your day with a visit to Capitol Park, with its mesmerizing World Peace Rose Garden and its sobering Vietnam War memorial.

Looking for something cultural? Well, the Crocker Art Museum offers a wide variety of works, from European masters to Asian, African, and Oceanic art.

Afternoon to Evening

Wrap up your time in Sacramento by trying some of the delectable house-made ice cream at Vic’s Ice Cream. In business since the 1940s, this is an iconic part of the Land Park neighborhood. 

Now, it’s time to head on US Highway 101 for Mendocino.

There are tons of magnificent stops along the way, such as Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and San Pablo Bay, if you need a restroom or snack break. 

Once you reach Mendocino, you’ll see why it’s a stop on this trip, as it’s a stunning seaside village.

A cozy place to stay is Mendo Bungalow, as it has comfy bedding, fireplaces, and modernly-designed rooms.

Day 3 – Mendocino to Eureka 

Driving time: 3 hours

Mileage: 143 miles

Morning to Afternoon

The ideal start to the third day of this road trip is by heading to GoodLife Cafe for a cup of fair-trade coffee, an authentic New York-style bagel, or a freshly-baked pastry. Enjoy it on the outdoor covered balcony as you relax and take in the scenery. 

There’s loads to do, whether that’s enjoying a hike in Russian Gulch State Park or taking a meander through Mendocino Headlands State Park.

You could also stroll along Downtown Mendocino and pop in Gallery Bookshop or Mendocino Jams & Preserves. These two stores have some fantastic gifts, whether they’re for a friend or just yourself. 

Afternoon to Evening

As you prepare to leave Mendocino, look out for whales (especially if you’re visiting between November and April).

The whales love the warm waters of Mendocino Bay and migrate here in the winter. 

On your way to Eureka north along California State Route 1, it’s definitely worth seeing the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse Museum.

Some other great pit stops are the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and the Jug Handle State Natural Reserve if you have time.

One stop that’s non-negotiable is Fort Bragg for its stunning Glass Beach and freshly caught fish at the Princess Seafood Market.

After Fort Bragg, you’ll pass a bunch of small towns, but it’s best to keep driving, as Eureka is still a while to go.

It’s all worth it though, as this city has elaborate Victorian mansions, a charming waterfront, and many lovely beaches. 

Eureka Inn is a top spot to get some rest, which you’ll need for the last day. Plus, it has a great pool, elegant rooms, and loads of character.

Day 4 – Eureka to Redwood National Park

Driving time: 45 minutes

Mileage: 40 miles 

Morning to Afternoon

The last day involves a lot less driving, so you’ll have more time to explore both Eureka and Redwood National Park.

Greene Lily Cafe is a lovely spot right near the bay, where you can enjoy scrumptious breakfast options, including eggs Benedict, Huevos rancheros, or biscuits and gravy. 

While in Eureka’s Old Town, make sure to check out the Clarke Historical Museum for some insight into this destination’s history.

Then, it’s off to the Eureka Boardwalk as you head toward the Carson Mansion.

Unfortunately, you have to be a member of the Ingomar Club to see the interior, but its exterior is still a sight to behold. 

Afternoon to Evening

Now, on your way to Redwood National Park, a terrific natural feature is the Trinidad State Beach.

With its open meadow bluff, expansive stretch of sand, and vistas of Humboldt Bay, you’ll see why it was mentioned here. 

From there, it’s only a 20-minute drive to the park, so get ready to see the best things Redwood National Park has on offer.

It’s hard to pick what to see, so for hikers, do the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail

For movie nerds, you’ll recognize Fern Canyon from Jurassic Park, so check that out. To round it all off, camping beneath the redwoods is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Read Next: How to Spend 2 Days in Redwood National Park

Wrapping Up This 4-Day Yosemite to Redwood National Park Road Trip

There you have it, a delightful road trip from Yosemite to Redwood National Park. No matter where you stop along the way, you’re bound to make some lasting memories. 

With all that said and done, it’s definitely one of the best ways to experience Northern California and two of the best US national parks.

What are you waiting for? Get in your car or book a plane ticket and get started. 

PS: Thinking of doing another road trip between two national parks? Check out this Yellowstone to Glacier National Park road trip.

Whether that’s the hiking paradise of Yosemite National Park, the incredible majesty of Redwood National Park, or the scorching heat of Death Valley National Park, there is something for everyone in California’s national parks.

That makes picking which US National Park you want to visit tricky, as each of the nine parks offers such unique attractions.  

That said, you don’t have to choose just one, as you could always take a road trip from Yosemite to Redwood. This guide will combine a Redwood National Park itinerary with a Yosemite trip, with some magnificent stops along the way. 

And as someone who has done this myself when I lived in a campervan for a year, and DID this road trip more than once, I can’t recommend it enough!

Don’t know what to pack, when to go, or how far Yosemite is from Redwood National Park? No need to stress. All you need to do is keep reading – you’ll find all you need below!

Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!

Best Time to Do the Yosemite to Redwood Drive

To take part in all the best hikes, sights, and activities, the best time to do this road trip is from May to September.

More specifically, summer (June to August), where temperatures range between the 60s and the 70s Fahrenheit, is an optimal season to drive.

Just keep in mind that this is a peak tourist period, so it can be handy to book accommodation in advance. 

That said, the great thing about this itinerary is that it really can be done year-round.

Whether that’s appreciating the auburn foliage of fall (September to October) or enjoying the mild northern California winter (November to March), this drive is stunning anytime. 

Distance from Yosemite to Redwood National Park

The shortest route from Yosemite to the Redwoods is 463 miles along California State Route 4 and US Route 101.

There are loads of brilliant stops along the way, such as national forests, beaches, quaint towns, and picturesque sights. 

Adding these stops to your road trip will cover a distance of between 500 and 600 miles.

This amounts to a driving time of between 10 and 12 hours, but don’t worry, it’s not all continuous. 

What to Pack for a Yosemite to Redwood Road Trip 

Still trying to decide what to add to your bag for a Yosemite to Redwood drive? Here’s a list of some must-haves when packing:

Yosemite National Park to Redwood National Park Itinerary Breakdown  

Now that we’ve covered the nitty-gritty, let’s get into a full-on breakdown of the Yosemite to Redwood itinerary.

  • Day 1: Yosemite to Sacramento
  • Day 2: Sacramento to Mendocino
  • Day 3: Mendocino to Eureka
  • Day 4: Eureka to Redwood

Top tip: This route covers the coastal region of northern California. If you’d prefer to explore more of the Golden State’s natural landmarks, adding a detour via Lassen Volcanic National Park and Lake Tahoe to Redwood National Park is definitely worth it.

Day 1 – Yosemite National Park to Sacramento

Driving time: 2 hours and 40 minutes

Mileage: 141 miles

Morning to Afternoon

The best way to start your day in Yosemite National Park is by going on a hike, and one fantastic option is the Cook’s Meadow Loop.

This takes you past famous landmarks, such as the Yosemite Falls, the Merced River, the Yosemite Valley Chapel, Half Dome, and Glacier Point. 

Prefer something a little more challenging? You could do the Valley Loop Trail if you’ve got time.

Next up, it’s not a visit to Yosemite without seeing the awe-inspiring El Capitan.

Whether you’re seeing this sight from Tunnel View or Yosemite Meadow, try your best to spot some adrenaline-seeking climbers. 

Afternoon to Evening

Now, it’s time to hit the road, more specifically, California State Route 99 north towards Sacramento.

Along the way, you’ll pass quaint towns like Groveland and natural beauty, such as New Melones Lake and the Red Hills Recreational Management Area. 

If you’re feeling hungry, a great place to stop for some food is Stockton, around two hours into the drive.

For great sushi, visit Cocoro Japanese Bistro. If you are looking for something more substantial, then Fat City Brew & BBQ is the place for you. 

End off your day by staying at Embassy Suites by Hilton Sacramento Riverfront Promenade. It’s right in Downtown and close to many fantastic museums. What’s more, it’s also got spacious rooms, complimentary breakfast, and an indoor swimming pool. 

Read Next: Prettiest and Ugliest US National Parks

Day 2 – Sacramento to Mendocino

Driving time: 3 hours and 45 minutes

Mileage: 197 miles

Morning to Afternoon

Get your second day running with the included breakfast at the hotel.

Prefer to explore the city? Then, bacon & butter is a brunch spot you won’t want to miss. With options like the grilled cheese Benedict, the apple pie French toast, and the bacon and egg flapjacks – it’s no wonder locals love this place so much. 

Continue your day with a visit to Capitol Park, with its mesmerizing World Peace Rose Garden and its sobering Vietnam War memorial.

Looking for something cultural? Well, the Crocker Art Museum offers a wide variety of works, from European masters to Asian, African, and Oceanic art.

Afternoon to Evening

Wrap up your time in Sacramento by trying some of the delectable house-made ice cream at Vic’s Ice Cream. In business since the 1940s, this is an iconic part of the Land Park neighborhood. 

Now, it’s time to head on US Highway 101 for Mendocino.

There are tons of magnificent stops along the way, such as Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and San Pablo Bay, if you need a restroom or snack break. 

Once you reach Mendocino, you’ll see why it’s a stop on this trip, as it’s a stunning seaside village.

A cozy place to stay is Mendo Bungalow, as it has comfy bedding, fireplaces, and modernly-designed rooms.

Day 3 – Mendocino to Eureka 

Driving time: 3 hours

Mileage: 143 miles

Morning to Afternoon

The ideal start to the third day of this road trip is by heading to GoodLife Cafe for a cup of fair-trade coffee, an authentic New York-style bagel, or a freshly-baked pastry. Enjoy it on the outdoor covered balcony as you relax and take in the scenery. 

There’s loads to do, whether that’s enjoying a hike in Russian Gulch State Park or taking a meander through Mendocino Headlands State Park.

You could also stroll along Downtown Mendocino and pop in Gallery Bookshop or Mendocino Jams & Preserves. These two stores have some fantastic gifts, whether they’re for a friend or just yourself. 

Afternoon to Evening

As you prepare to leave Mendocino, look out for whales (especially if you’re visiting between November and April).

The whales love the warm waters of Mendocino Bay and migrate here in the winter. 

On your way to Eureka north along California State Route 1, it’s definitely worth seeing the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse Museum.

Some other great pit stops are the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and the Jug Handle State Natural Reserve if you have time.

One stop that’s non-negotiable is Fort Bragg for its stunning Glass Beach and freshly caught fish at the Princess Seafood Market.

After Fort Bragg, you’ll pass a bunch of small towns, but it’s best to keep driving, as Eureka is still a while to go.

It’s all worth it though, as this city has elaborate Victorian mansions, a charming waterfront, and many lovely beaches. 

Eureka Inn is a top spot to get some rest, which you’ll need for the last day. Plus, it has a great pool, elegant rooms, and loads of character.

Day 4 – Eureka to Redwood National Park

Driving time: 45 minutes

Mileage: 40 miles 

Morning to Afternoon

The last day involves a lot less driving, so you’ll have more time to explore both Eureka and Redwood National Park.

Greene Lily Cafe is a lovely spot right near the bay, where you can enjoy scrumptious breakfast options, including eggs Benedict, Huevos rancheros, or biscuits and gravy. 

While in Eureka’s Old Town, make sure to check out the Clarke Historical Museum for some insight into this destination’s history.

Then, it’s off to the Eureka Boardwalk as you head toward the Carson Mansion.

Unfortunately, you have to be a member of the Ingomar Club to see the interior, but its exterior is still a sight to behold. 

Afternoon to Evening

Now, on your way to Redwood National Park, a terrific natural feature is the Trinidad State Beach.

With its open meadow bluff, expansive stretch of sand, and vistas of Humboldt Bay, you’ll see why it was mentioned here. 

From there, it’s only a 20-minute drive to the park, so get ready to see the best things Redwood National Park has on offer.

It’s hard to pick what to see, so for hikers, do the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail

For movie nerds, you’ll recognize Fern Canyon from Jurassic Park, so check that out. To round it all off, camping beneath the redwoods is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Read Next: How to Spend 2 Days in Redwood National Park

Wrapping Up This 4-Day Yosemite to Redwood National Park Road Trip

There you have it, a delightful road trip from Yosemite to Redwood National Park. No matter where you stop along the way, you’re bound to make some lasting memories. 

With all that said and done, it’s definitely one of the best ways to experience Northern California and two of the best US national parks.

What are you waiting for? Get in your car or book a plane ticket and get started. 

PS: Thinking of doing another road trip between two national parks? Check out this Yellowstone to Glacier National Park road trip.

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