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In Northern California, you’ll find hundreds of the world’s tallest trees on Earth. The Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) area covers 139,000 acres, which includes the national park and three state parks. It’s home to the tallest tree on Earth – Hyperion – which measures a towering 381 feet, hidden somewhere within the park.
Redwood National Park was established in 1968 to protect the trees and vegetation that were almost entirely destroyed by logging. Today, we’re lucky enough to have the chance to enjoy these giants that have stood for thousands of years. Keep reading to find out the best ways to visit by bus, train, plane, and car.
Redwood National Park by Bus
Crescent City is near the northern portion of the RNP and closest to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Amtrak Thruway bus service provides trips to the city.
You can catch a direct Amtrak Thruway bus trip to Crescent City, CA from several cities in California and Oregon.
You can also catch an Amtrak Thruway bus trip to Crescent City, CA with one transfer from these larger Oregon travel hubs. Learn more about how to transfer between buses here.
Bus prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period.
You’ll find two bus stations in Crescent City:
Historic Hiouchi Cafe
2095 Highway 199
Crescent City, CA 95531
Curbside stop, less than 1 mile from Hiouchi Visitor Center
Curbside Stop at Historic Hiouchi Cafe
Crescent City Visitors Center
1001 Front St
Crescent City, CA 95531
Curbside stop in front of Crescent City Visitor Center
Curbside Stop at Crescent Valley Visitors Center
Don’t worry – you don’t have to live in California or Oregon to enjoy the beauty of Redwood National Park. Wanderu can help you piece together a bus trip to Crescent City from all over the country.
Once you’re in the city, though, you probably want to pick up a rental car. Unfortunately, there is no shuttle available within the park. However, we’ve got you covered there, too: reserve your rental car through Wanderu.
Redwood National Park by Train
They say where there’s a will, there’s a way. So if you really want to take a train to Redwood National Park, you can. Kind of.
Now, there’s no direct train service to Redwood National Park. The closest Amtrak train station is in Klamath Falls, Oregon, 178 miles from Redwood National Park, give or take.
Redwood National Park by Plane
Several nearby airports make it easy to fly into the general area.
- Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport (MFR) in Medford, OR: You can fly from Denver, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orange County, San Diego, Burbank, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Depending on road conditions, MFR is about 2 hours from Redwood National Park. If you want to park your vehicle at the airport, you can make the airport parking reservation online in advance.
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO): SFO is 4 hours from the park, making it the closest major airport. All U.S. carriers fly into here, and flights are usually cheaper than flying into the smaller regional airports closer to Redwood National Park.
- Oakland International Airport (OAK): OAK is also 4 hours from the park, but fewer flights come here than SFO.
- Sacramento Airport (SMF): It takes about 6.5 hours to get from SMF to Redwood National Park, and that’s before stops. Flying into Sacramento is an option, but we do not recommend making it your first choice unless you have other plans in the area.
- Arcata-Eureka Airport (ACV) in McKinleyville, CA: You can fly with American, United Express, and Avelo into ACV if you’re coming from Phoenix, Denver, LA, San Francisco, or Burbank. Each carrier will run two flights into the airport each day at max. It’s about 40 minutes from Prairie Creek Redwoods in the southern part of the park. You do have the option of picking up a rental car here, but you definitely want to reserve in advance.
- Del Norte County Airport/Jack McNamara Field (CEC) in Crescent City, CA: This regional airport makes it easy to fly in from Oakland, especially since it’s just a 10-minute drive from the park. However, if you’re coming from anywhere else, you’re better off choosing a larger airport. Contour Airlines runs the only commercial flights here.
Redwood National Park by Car
Driving part (or all) of the way to the park allows you to make some fun detours and stop for as many scenic photos as you want! Plus, it’ll be easier to get around in the park if you have your own vehicle.
Driving from Sacramento, CA
You’ve got a couple of options when planning a drive from Sacramento to Redwood National Park. If you have time for stops, consider taking one route on the way and a different route for your return trip. From Central California, you’ll want to head to the southernmost visitor center, Kuchel Visitor Center.
The fastest route is 5.5 hours and takes you on I-5 and CA-299. However, the roads can be pretty winding, so come prepared if anyone in the car gets motion sick. Your second option is a scenic route along Highway 101 – the Pacific Coast Highway – but this route will take closer to 8 or 9 hours.
Driving from Portland, OR
A drive from Portland to the park’s northernmost entry point – Hiouchi Visitor Center – will take about 5.5 hours via I-5.
You’ll need to look up specific parking information depending on whether you’re visiting the northern or southern part of the park. There are four visitor centers that can be over an hour apart.
When it’s time to book your rental car, Wanderu can help. And since we know life happens, most cars have free cancellations.
Getting around within Redwood National Park
We’ve got good news – there is NO entrance or parking fee at Redwood National Park.
Now, for the bad news: if you didn’t catch it earlier, there is NO shuttle within the park. If you don’t have a car or don’t drive, it will take a little more planning to get around within the park. One option is to look up local hiking groups in the Arcata/Eureka area and see if anyone might let you join and catch a ride with them. You can also search for available guided bus tours.
Things to do in and around Redwood National Park
There is no shortage of outdoor activity options within the park. You can hike, camp, kayak, bicycle, and go horseback riding.
If time isn’t an issue, the NPS suggests the Circle of Discovery, a route in Oregon and California that takes you through seven national park sites.
Here are some of our favorite don’t-miss activities within the park:
- Drive along Howland Hill Road
- Hike the five-mile Boy Scout trail, which is less visited but full of endless beauty
- Visit Stout Grove (0.7 miles roundtrip) to see one of the most photographed places in the park (and most of the reason Redwood is the #2 most instagrammable National Park)
- Hike the 1.1 miles round trip to Fern Canyon (as seen in Jurassic Park)
- Camp at Gold Bluffs Beach
- Drive the 31.5 miles of Avenue of Giants (an hour south of the park but definitely worth including!)
Where to stay near Redwood National Park
You can fully commit to the Redwood experience by camping in the park. This is the only way to stay overnight, since there are no lodges or hotels within Redwood National Park.
However, if you want to plug in your phone after taking 10,000 tree photos in the park, you might prefer to stay in a hotel or vacation home, instead. These are some of our top picks for accommodations near Redwood National Park:
- Holiday Inn Express Redwood National Park in Klamath, CA
- Curly Redwood Lodge in Crescent City, CA
- Anchor Beach Inn in Crescent City, CA
- Logan’s Landing (vacation home) in Orick, CA
- Berry Glen Redwood Park Loft (vacation home) in Orick, CA
- Viewcrest Retro Country Home (vacation home) in Orick, CA
- Stone Lagoon Cabin (vacation home) in Orick, CA