Redwood Creek Beach & Estuary

Redwood Creek Beach & Estuary

Redwood Creek is one of three major rivers and watersheds that runs through Redwood National Park, and in many ways is the centerpiece of the park. It enters the Pacific Ocean just north of the southern boundary of Redwood National Park, near the small town of Orick. The Redwood Creek Estuary is located along the coast near the Kuchel Visitor Center. Located high above Redwood Creek, along Bald Hills Road, is the Redwood Creek Overlook. This is unquestionably one the most noteworthy of the views in the park. This viewpoint provides exceptional views of Redwood Creek, and its drainage, a number of strands of Redwood trees, and the Pacific coast. The nearby hillsides contain 9000 acres of old growth redwood, one of the largest collections still remaining. The overlook provides panoramic views of the area all the way to the ocean. At one time the Tall Trees Grove, below the Redwood Overlook, was believed to contain the three tallest trees in the world. The tallest tree, believed to be about 600 years old and known as the “Libby Redwood”, was measured at 367.8 feet, and is believed to be about 600 years old. However, in recent years 10 feet from the top of this tree were blown off during a storm, costing it its title at the world’s tallest tree. In 2006, however, another tree inside the park was found to be the highest, although its location has not yet been released to the public. The altitude of the Redwood Creek Overlook is about 2000 feet; altitudes in the park range from sea level to 3100 feet. On slopes which are adjacent to alluvial flats, such as those visible from Redwood Overlook, there is a transition from redwood to Douglas fir forests. Between 1000 and 1600 feet there is mixed redwood and evergreen forest. The redwood forests have a climatic effect in that they remove moisture from mist and fog as it moves across the land, leaving inland areas drier. In the view from Redwood Creek Overlook, the marine layer of fog can be seen laying over the ocean as it is intercepted by the redwood forests and coastal hills and mountains.

Summertime highs at Redwood Creek generally tend to be in the 70’s with
nighttime lows in the 40’s. During the winter, daytime highs range in the 50’s, and sink into the 30’s at night. Redwood Creek gets a good deal of water; during December this area sees the most rain, and July is the month with the least moisture.

Recreational Opportunities

The wonderful California scenery and the cool fresh water make whitewater rafting adventures here worthwhile. The put-in location is a reasonable drive from Eureka, Arcata and Fortuna. The 5.4 mile river run has been rated Class II by American Whitewater, and is appropriate for novice, experienced rafters and up, while beginning thrill-seekers ought to use caution. The average California whitewater rafting or kayaking river tends to be a bit harder to master than those in other states. This river system has a few good paddling sections and the Highway 299 to Bair Road section is one of them. No matter if you’re whitewater rafting or kayaking this area has a large number of paddling rivers. This is a pretty moderate length section, suitable for an afternoon trip. If you’re a camper you can camp at one of the great campgrounds nearby. The beauty of the Coast Ranges is a great plus for this river. A map of put-in and take-out locations is included under the Media section.

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, in Orick, offers a 3.2 mile round-trip hike year round. While exploring this trail, you will encounter Big Maple and Red Alder running along Redwood Creek. Depending on the time of the year, you might also encounter elk herds. In the Summer, the State Park opens the Tall Trees Grove trail, which offers a lengthier hike�approximately 17 miles round trip�and comfortably requires more than a day to trek. The trails connect by a bridge that crosses over Redwood Creek.

Seasons Accessible

Year-round accessibility, with the exception of the seasonal closure of the Tall Trees Grove trail, and various other trails along the Redwood Creek Estuary.

Fees: Free

ADA Accessibility Notes
ADA Accessibility permitted, though not recommended.

Eco-Friendly Notes
The utmost eco-consciousness is desired.

For More Information, Contact:

Redwood National and State Parks
1111 Second Street, Crescent City, CA 95531
707-465-7335 · fax 707-464-1812

Redwood Creek Beach & Estuary