Pay homage to the redwood — the world’s tallest known tree when it was discovered in 1963 — that sparked the national park’s establishment and avoid the crowds the shorter approach on this easy 16-mile out-and-back to Tall Trees Grove.
From the trailhead, hike south through spruce, hemlock, and yes, redwoods to the seasonal bridge over McArthur Creek at mile 1.5 (bridge is usually in place by Memorial Day). Follow meandering Redwood Creek, lined with blooming trillium and skunk cabbage in the spring, another 6.5 miles to the grove, where several old-growth monsters approach 370 feet (the current world-champion redwood measures 379 feet). Turn back and camp anywhere along the creek’s sandy gravel bar. Hike out along the same trail, keeping your eyes peeled for black bear, beaver, and Roosevelt elk.
NOTE: Winter stream crossings can be dangerous. Check with rangers for bridge and creek conditions.
Info: Map: Trails Illustrated #218: Redwood National and State Parks. Free permits required. (707) 464-6101; nps.gov/redw
Hike provided by John Russavage of Redwood Adventures.