Wondering when to visit Redwood National Park? This guide covers the best seasons for hiking, wildlife spotting, saving some cash and plenty more.
Planning to explore Northern California and the incredible national parks along its rugged coastline? Skipping out on Redwood National Park would be a mistake .
With towering redwoods opening out onto gorgeous coves, this is truly one of the most beautiful regions in the USA (and I’ve been blessed with seeing quite a few!)
Whether you’re in the mood for rustic backcountry camping, lengthy hikes with picturesque rewards or want to spot whales as they migrate, you might be wondering: when’s the best time to visit?
Well, wonder no more. Read on to discover exactly when you should plan your trip to Redwood National Park. Thank me later.
When’s the Best Time to Visit Redwood National Park?: At A Glance
As with most places, this is a tricky question to answer. But, ultimately, the best time to go to Redwood National Park (for most people, anyway) is in the spring, from April until May. You’ll miss the wet season and you’ll get temperate, sunny weather and lower crowds as opposed to the summer.
The Best Time to Visit the Redwoods
What is the Best Month to Travel to Redwood National Park?
If I had to pick, I think that the best time to visit the Northern California Redwoods is in May.
Why? You’ll be able to hike in comfortable weather (without getting too sweaty), plus you’ll see blooming wildflowers. That’s not all, as you’ll also be able to enjoy the park without the crowds.
When’s High Season in Redwood National Park?
The high season in Redwood National Park is summer, from the end of May until September. That said, it doesn’t get as packed as other Californian parks, like Yosemite National Park. So don’t stress if you can only make the trip in the hotter months.
The Cheapest Time to Visit Redwood National Park
What is the best time to visit Redwood National Park for budget-friendly travellers? That’s not hard to answer. You’ll want to visit between December and January for the cheapest trip, as it’s winter in the park.
Don’t stress; I’m talking about a California winter. This means temperatures of between 5ºC and 18ºC and averaging around 13ºC. As long as you bring a windproof jacket and some jumpers, you should be good.
July is the best time for hiking in Redwood National Park. That’s because it’s got the least average rainfall, which reduces the risk of slipping on trails. This, combined with longer days and warmer weather, makes exploring the park afoot a breeze.
To Enjoy a Scenic Drive
September is the ideal time for enjoying a scenic drive in the park. From the changing foliage of autumn to fewer crowds and more opportunities for wildlife sightings, you’re sure to have an idyllic time.
To Go Camping
August is a fantastic month for camping in Redwood National Park. With terrific campfire programs and summer coming to an end, you’ll be able to have a fabulous time camping under the redwoods.
To See the Roosevelt Elk
October is the perfect time to see Roosevelt Elk in Redwood National Park – this is due to the falling autumn leaves combined with the migratory patterns of these creatures. Also, with fewer crowds comes less foot traffic, making it ideal to see them undisturbed.
Redwood National Park by Season
Spring in Redwood National Park
March to May
The park becomes verdant in the springtime due to the previous rainy season. With this comes gorgeous ferns, wildflowers and moss-covered logs. And, with temperatures in the mid-20s, it might just be the best time to go to the redwoods.
Key Events and Things to Do in Redwood National Park in Spring
- Drive along the Bald Hills Road scenic drive to see vibrant wildflowers in bloom.
- Go on a ranger-led walk of Stout Grove or Prairie Creek to learn all about redwoods and the conservation efforts to protect them.
- Spring is the perfect time to go backcountry camping amongst the Redwoods.
Pros to Travelling to Redwood National Park in Spring
- You can see the Californian rhododendron in bloom from mid-May.
- You can avoid the crowds while enjoying lovely temperatures.
- Low likelihood of closed trails and roads.
Cons to Travelling to Redwood National Park in Spring
- The weather can be unpredictable, which makes trails muddy.
- Due to migration patterns, wildlife sightings are lesser.
Summer in Redwood National Park
June to August
Temperatures begin to rise in June, ranging from 18ºC to 27ºC, making it one of the best times to go to the redwoods. What’s more, with fewer rainy days and ideal weather for sleeping under the stars, it’s a fantastic opportunity for camping.
Key Events and Things to Do in Redwood National Park in Summer
- For a few weeks in summer, the park offers kayak tours in the Smith River – California’s largest free-flowing river. It costs $15 per person and lasts around three hours.
- Another fantastic event in the summer is the many campfire programs, where rangers lead shows of storytelling, music, and fun games.
- Redwood National Park has lovely beaches to explore and offers tidepool walks led by park naturalists. These are around two hours long and are an excellent way to see interesting creatures.
Pros to Travelling to Redwood National Park in Summer
- Best time to explore the park’s coastline – as it’s perfect weather for swimming.
- With temperatures only dropping slightly at night, it’s ideal for backcountry camping.
- With longer days and great temperatures, it’s a fantastic time for outdoor activities.
Cons to Travelling to Redwood National Park in Summer
- The woods become dry and dusty, causing an increased fire risk.
- This is the busiest time of year to visit Redwood National Park,
- Mosquitos are extremely unbearable, so bring anti-insect sleepwear and insect repellent.
Autumn/Fall in Redwood National Park
September to November
With the changing seasons come vibrant reds, oranges and yellows as leaves begin to fall. This makes autumn the perfect time for a scenic drive or a hike, as it’s a more tranquil season.
Key Events and Things to Do in Redwood National Park in Autumn/Fall
- Each year, there are monthly “Hike and Bike” days from October until May when the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway becomes available for bikes, walkers, and bikers.
- Hike the Trillium Falls Trail to see the stunning maple leaves turn the landscape into a picturesque abstract artwork.
- This is the best time to spot wildlife due to fewer leaves and changing migratory patterns.
Pros to Travelling to Redwood National Park in Autumn/Fall
- Increased visibility of wildlife due to less foliage.
- You get to witness the vibrancy of autumn as the trees shed their leaves.
- The weather is still pleasant and not too hot or cold.
Cons to Travelling to Redwood National Park in Autumn/Fall
- Reduced accessibility due to heavy rainfall may result in the closures of certain trails and roads.
- Rain and fallen leaves can make trails slippery and cause potential injury.
Winter in Redwood National Park
December to February
Redwood National Park fully slows down as it meanders through winter. With this comes more rain and fog, creating an ethereal and calming atmosphere. This all enhances the scenery, making it terrific for a relaxing stay (if you can put up with the weather).
Key Events and Things to Do in Redwood National Park in Winter
- Winter is the perfect time for whale watching, as grey whales come here from November to December.
- Watch turbulent waves hit the coast from scenic overlooks along Coastal Drive or go beachcombing along Enderts Beach.
- Enjoy the solitude during this time – it is ideal for hiking, photography and wildlife viewing.
Pros to Travelling to Redwood National Park in Winter
- You’ll have tons of solitude, as it’s shoulder season.
- Accommodation around the park is cheaper.
Cons to Travelling to Redwood National Park in Winter
- It gets very rainy in winter and the weather is very cold.
- Most road closures occur now.
When to Visit Redwood National Park: Practical Tips + Tricks
- Prepare for the season you are coming in. Bring light clothing and insect repellant if you’re visiting in summer. And most definitely bring an umbrella and waterproof hiking trainers if you’re visiting in winter.
- Planning the ultimate California road trip and want to stop at various parks? Consider getting the America the Beautiful Pass to save money on park admission fees.