Exploring the Park by Car

A number of scenic drives cut through the park. Steep, windy Bald Hills Road (a few miles north of Orick on U.S. 101) will take you back into the Redwood Creek watershed and up to the shoulder of 3,097-foot Schoolhouse Peak. Don't even think of driving a motor home up here or pulling a trailer. A few miles farther north is the Lost Man Creek Trail, a short, unpaved scenic drive through the redwood forest. The 1 1/2-mile trip leads past the World Heritage Site dedication area and on to a cascade on Lost Man Creek. Again, anyone with a motor home or pulling a trailer can forget this one.

A don't-miss detour along U.S. 101 is the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, which passes through redwood groves and elk-filled meadows before returning to the highway 8 miles later. While you're cruising along, take the Cal-Barrel Road turnoff, a narrow, packed-gravel road (no trailers or motor homes) just north of the Prairie Creek Visitor Center off the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. It offers a spectacular 3-mile tour through an old-growth redwood forest.

One of the premier coastal drives on the Redwood Coast starts at the mouth of the Klamath River and runs 8 miles south toward Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The narrow, partially paved Coastal Drive winds through stands of redwoods, with spectacular views of the Pacific and numerous pullouts for picture taking (sea lions and pelicans abound) and short hikes. Keep an eye out for the World War II radar station, disguised as a farmhouse and barn. If you're heading south on U.S. 101, take the Alder Camp Road exit just south of the Klamath River Bridge and follow the signs to the Mouth of Klamath. Northbound travelers should take the Redwood National and State Parks Coastal Drive exit off the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. Motor homes and vehicles with trailers should not take this road.

The most amazing car-friendly trail in all of the Redwood National and State Parks is the hidden, well-maintained gravel Howland Hill Road. It winds for about 10 miles through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, an unforgettable journey through a spectacular old-growth redwood forest. To get there from the northbound lanes of U.S. 101, keep an eye out for the southernmost traffic light coming into Crescent City, at Elk Valley Road, and turn right. Follow Elk Valley to Howland Hill Road, which will be on your right. After driving through the park, you'll end up at U.S. 199 near Hiouchi, and from there it's a short jaunt west to get back to U.S. 101. Plan at least 2 to 3 hours for the 30-mile round-trip, or all day if you want to do some hiking or mountain biking in the park. Driving a motor home or towing a trailer is not recommended.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.