Redwood National Park is chocked full of amazing hikes, drives, and groves; however, it is hard to beat the Tall Trees Grove, which has all of the best things the park has to offer. It takes more work to get here then most of the other groves in the park, but the effort is paid off by some of California’s best hiking and most amazing trees. That being said, social media has made this trail incredibly popular, and as such, it can be busy, which may not be what you are looking for. If you are willing to brave the crowds, it will pay off though, here is all the information.
- 4 miles round trip
- Steep 800 feet of elevation going up and down
- Need to get a permit to get past the locked gate
- It is a minimum of 4 hours to drive to the trail, hike it, and drive back out.
This trail is located at the south end of Redwood National Park, past a gate that is always locked. To even access the 7-mile dirt road to the trailhead, you have to go to the visitor’s center and fill out a permit.
After that, they will give you a code that allows you to unlock the gate and access the dirt road that leads to the grove. They will also give you directions to the trailhead, so I will not add them here. The dirt road was fine for a two-wheel drive car when we went, but be sure to ask them about the road condition if you go.
After driving the dirt road, you will arrive at the trailhead. When we got there, there were multiple cars in the parking lot, but we didn’t see anyone else on the trail for the first hour. It does feel very remote, so know that going in.
The trail is a reverse hike, and it heads down over 800 feet and 1.5 miles to the grove. The grade is steep in parts too, so this is a good uphill hike on the way back.
The trail is fantastic though, as it is shaded the entire way, and you immediately start passing some big trees.
When I was there, it felt like we were in the movie Jurrasic Park with lush green plants and gigantic trees all around us.
After about a half-mile, you will pass the walkthrough tree, which is a popular photo spot on this trail.
It is fun to see this walkthrough tree, but there are many better highlights on the trail. The trail continues to head downhill as you get closer to the grove.
We got to the visitors center right when they opened, so we were on the trail early, which was awesome as it felt like we were by ourselves. On the way back up though, we passed dozens of people coming down.
Eventually, the trail will even out, and you will be nearing the grove.
This part of the trail is a one-mile loop that takes you around the grove and gets you up close with the trees.
It was a majestic experience with many massive trees to see. I will say though, if you are looking specifically for big trees, Stout Grove is my favorite in this park.
The rest of the plants in the grove are impressive as well, with ferns up to 5 feet tall and lots of other plants and trees.
We spent a good amount of time walking around and just taking all the views in while at the grove.
I especially loved the second part of the loop as well, where the redwoods were traded for another type of tree with these massive arms that stretched out and made for cool photos.
After completing the loop, we took advantage of the bench that sits at the start with all the massive trees around it and had snacks before starting the uphill climb out of the grove.
Here is a video I made of the trail as well.
All in all, this is a fantastic place in California that requires work to get to, but which is certainly one of the coolest hiking experiences you can have in the state. Let me know what you think in the comments.