7 days rambling in Redwoods

Wow! During 7 days of rambling around in Redwoods National and State Parks, “WOW!” must have escaped my lips 50 times / day: the trees, the flowers, the quiet / peaceful forests, and beaches too! My sister has Redwoods park experience and her guidance helped tremendously on where to camp and which trails to prioritize.

The trip was Thursday to Thursday in the middle of May 2024. The first three nights found me at Mill Creek Campground in Del Norte Coast State Park. The second four nights at Elk Prairie Campground in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Each day was either a series of shorter hikes linked together with minimal car driving (without back-tracking), or longer hikes from either the campground or trailhead.

Weather for the seven days was perfect. There was 1 morning of fog / mist and one morning of light rain, but sunshine everyday by afternoon and temperatures not below 40 nor above 65. I never wore my rain jacket, and only wore Copperfield windshell 2x.

Trail conditions were perfect; a couple of seasonal bridges were not in place yet and very few muddy spots (mostly at coast) but never above shoe soles. Below is a trail near Elk Prairie CG and exemplary for miles close to CG; conditions further from CG were better than expected for May. I encountered less than 5 people >1 mile from TH over the entire 7 days – just redwoods’ solitude and quiet.

REMINDER: clicking on a photo with curved corners or within a carousel opens in higher resolution.

Why I chose NOT to backpack Rogue River

The original plan had the first 3 days backpacking from the west end of Rogue River Tr. After talking to Forest Service folks and one of the local shuttle service, I could not convince myself that ticks, poison oak, jet boats and generations of human-fed black bears were worth the 1 day of wilderness hiking on the ridge above the river – I vetoed Rogue and shifted to North and South Redwoods, not just south as originally planned. It was a great decision.

North and South of Klamath River

The north of Klamath River is dominated by Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and Grove of Titans. Trails are scattered and driving from 1 trailhead to another was necessary. Hikes either along the Coastal Trail or from the east side of the ridge through a creek / river ravine to the beach. Damnation Creek and Mill Creek (which ends at Grove of Titans TH) were favorite hikes from north of the river. Mill Creek Campground was the ‘base car-packing’ for 3 nights.

South of Klamath River is all about Prairie Creek State Park. For four nights, my car never moved and I hiked miles and miles from the trails all starting or ending at Elk Prairie Campground. These hikes were mostly ridge hikes that went north – south with some loop exceptions around the campground and 1 ridge to coast hike through Fern Canyon. Elk Prairie Campground was the ‘base car-packing’ for 4 nights.


Mill Creek CG is HUGE, over 175 campsites in a north and south loop. The campsites are not as cramped together as the other, and the sites have few views or vistas of anything other than young trees. Some sites along the creek are better than others. There are basically 0 trails leading to / from the campground which forces car drives to a TH. The most damning element, however, is the 2.5 mile drive from US101 to the CG – a 15 minute adder to any drive. My after dinner walks were strolls around the CG – not great.

Elk Prairie seems bigger, more developed than Mill Creek, but is half the size. The prairie and visitor center are crowded; the trails not so much. Campsites are hit / miss with many complete fish-bowls. The section around 53 along the creek are good, but the connector trail to all the THs is around site 30; I stayed in 32 which was chosen for is proximity to that connector trail. Every night after dinner I had options for a stroll and most underneath centuries old redwoods.

For my car-packing hiking style, Elk Prairie is the better of the two CGs without any need for deliberation.

Memorial Benches

All through the parks and in some odd places, memorial groves and benches appear. Artifacts of money raising to pull together all this land into the parks – celebrate them!

Bridges and tunnels

Another oddity are all the bridges and tunnels. Most of these trails were built during the 1930s and the CCC. The fact that most of the bridges still function after 100 years is amazing. Tunnels are just where the path goes through trees so large, you walk through them (not around).


Flowers were OUT! Wild rhododendrons in both pink and white (I had never seen wild white before) covered the inland ridges, and coastal flowers bloomed everywhere.

There will be at least 3 more posts from the Redwoods. One, the trees of the Redwoods – this is where the magic happens! Two, the trails and hikes of Northern Redwoods and three, the trails and hikes of Southern Redwoods.

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