Redwood National Park Family Trip
You really can't appreciate a stand of giant redwood trees by simply driving through them. These trees are magnificent and awe inspiring, and one of the best ways to see them is by bike.
Our Redwood National Park itinerary is one of our best family bike trips yet. Way up on California's northern shore, this area provides a great spot for riding, hiking, swimming and camping.
After meeting in Crescent City, we head for Jedediah Smith State Park and a stroll through the famous Stout Grove. In the afternoon the kids can ride along the Howard Hill Road, or swim in the Smith River, while the parents head out for a longer loop through the Elk Valley. On the second day we head for the coast and a ride on the Coastal Trail, an old doubletrack closed to cars - perfect riding for kids. A short pedal will bring us to astounding views of the vast Pacific Ocean. Afterwards, the kids go to camp to learn exactly how a redwood can grow to over 350 feet tall, while parents have an opportunity for a longer ride. We continue this pattern alternating between epic groves of astounding trees, remote walks and rides on the beach itself. Everyone has the opportunity to do as much or as little as they like, while exploring the remote California coast and the tallest trees on earth.
We will begin our adventure with a shuttle to the beginning of our first ride; an out and back along the beautiful Howard Hill Road. While we ride, one of our guides will drop the gear trailer at our camp at Jedediah Smith State Park. They will then drive around and meet us at the famous Stout Grove. After lunch we will hike through Stout Grove and here we will get an introduction to the giant redwoods. These big trees are called redwood or Sequoia sempervirens, a name meaning “ever living”; an appropriate name as these trees can grow to over 350 feet tall and live for up to 2,000 years. The trail through the Stout Grove takes us in and around trees both living and dead. Those trees lying on the ground really help you understand how big 350 feet really is! Can you imagine one growing in your front yard? After the hike, we can either ride or drive in the van back to camp. TOTAL MILEAGE: 10 - 18 miles riding, 1 mile hiking
Today we will get our first glimpse of the vast Pacific Ocean. We head south to the Last Chance section of the Coastal Trail. This was the original north-south road through the area, but it is now closed to cars. Everybody rides this morning as we make our way to a dramatic bluff above the ocean. We will pack our lunch today and stop along the trail. Afterwards we will return to the van to continue our journey south. The second half of today is mostly paved or gravel. Those who are ready for a few more miles will ride the Coastal Drive which continues on the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. Mr. Drury was a former National Park Director and was extremely influential in saving the redwoods for us to enjoy today. This ride is unsupported and has some steep grades. The van will go back to camp with the kids. Our camp tonight will be at Elk Prairie, our home for the next three nights, giving us a lot of chances to see the elk herd that frequents this area. TOTAL MILEAGE: 4 - 6 miles AM, 15 miles PM
This morning we will do a ride right from our camp on the Davison and Streelow Creek trails. We begin all together for a one mile section of trail through giant trees which takes us south. Then we head west to the beach on a remote, but smooth section of introductory singletrack. Here we find ourselves on a nice section of wider dirt road, which takes us right to the ocean. We continue along the shore to the start of our hike. We will hike up Fern Canyon, a spectacular, vertical walled canyon which is dripping with ferns and water. The trailhead is also our picnic spot. After lunch the energetic can continue north along the shore past some amazing waterfalls to a fun section of singletrack. Meanwhile, the kids will have time to explore the beach. We won’t be swimming from here as the tides and currents are quite strong, but it is great place to learn about marine life in the various coastal zones. Afterwards the kids will shuttle back to camp to meet those
who choose to ride back to camp. TOTAL MILEAGE: 5.5 miles AM, 14 miles PM
The Lady Bird Johnson Grove is our first destination for today and we will shuttle in the van to get there. Here we will hike the trail, where we will learn more about the trees and how they were saved when the national park was formed. This is a great close up look at these towering giants. The geography of northwestern California creates the unique conditions which allow these trees to grow. The proximity to the ocean makes the climate very moderate. Rainfall is very high in the winter, up to 80 inches! All these factors combine to make this the most productive and diverse forest in the world. After lunch, the parents will head out to ride Holter Ridge. This long and unsupported ride includes some substantial climbs and a fast steep downhill, not for the feint of heart. The ride will take the parents right back to camp. The kids will shuttle back to camp and then do a ride on another section of the Davison Trail. TOTAL MILEAGE: 3 - 16 miles riding, 1.5 miles hiking
We take a day off the bikes today and opt for a beautiful coastal walk. We will shuttle north from camp to the section of the Coastal Trail which will take us to Hidden Beach. It is a primarily downhill walk with great views to the beach. This is a beautiful beach which has great giant boulders to climb, tide pools, soft sand and cool drift wood. In the tidepools we may see creatures such as anemones, sea stars, sea cucumbers, crabs and chitons.Once we have all explored the tide pools and marine life of this very special spot, we will continue north to Lagoon Creek for the final lunch of our trip, after which we will do a short 45 minute shuttle back up to Crescent City. TOTAL MILEAGE: 3 miles hiking
Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety and other factors which may affect the logistics of the adventure.
Riding Surface: Mostly dirt roads, smooth singletrack and some pavement.
Overall Rating: Introductory
Technical Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Physical Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Altitude: 0 - 500 feet
For travel logistics and a packing list, please download the complete trip itinerary.