Visit Redwood National Park

Visit Redwood National Park | RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel

Riding among ancient giants sounds like something from a fantasy novel. But if you point your front wheel for a motorcycle ride in Redwood National Park, you can turn that fantasy into reality.

Officially called Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP), the Redwood National Park was wrapped into one administrative unit with the Prairie Creek, Del Norte Coast, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks in 1994. The park, covering nearly 140,000 acres in total, houses almost half of the remaining old-growth coast redwood forests.

And what trees they are!

The tallest of the redwoods tower nearly 400 feet above the forest floor. With their ages reaching four digits, the park roads will truly allow you to ride between the giants of old. You didn’t think I was being dramatic, did you?

Yet, there’s so much more to RNSP than the redwoods. Although the redwoods are the main attraction, the park features a wonderful variety of northern California ecosystems.

In RNSP, you can find prairie, oak woods, coursing rivers, and 40 miles of coastline. The coast is dotted with small beaches, but leave the speedos and bikinis home—these aren’t southern California’s balmy sands.

Plentiful wildlife dwells within the forests, including bald eagles, black bears, deer, cougars, and beavers. As a particular highlight, keep your eyes peeled for the rare California condor. The bird went extinct in the wild in 1987, but a few individuals have recently been reintroduced in RNSP.

In short, if you want to see northern California as the Native Americans did before Europeans arrived, Redwood National Park is your best shot

Get Into the Wilderness

Getting to RNSP is easy. Simply pick up US 101 at any point north of Los Angeles and keep on a northward trajectory until you roll right into the park.

But what’s there to do once you get there?

If you’d like to stay on your motorcycle, the park has plentiful opportunities for a great riding day. Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway—starting right off US 101—is a relaxing, paved 10-mile ride under enormous redwoods.

Adventure or dual sport riders can take to Howland Hill Rd, a narrow unpaved road with the trees so close you can touch them off your bike. Another great unpaved option is Davison Road, which rolls past meadows and younger redwood forests where Roosevelt elk graze.

No outdoorsy person will leave Redwood National Park disappointed. There are walking and hiking trails for all skill levels, with some—like the Boy Scout Tree and Stout Memorial Grove Trails—having their trailheads right by the roads.

Fishing is also possible in some of the park’s rivers if you’d like to catch some salmon or trout.

It’s best to pack your own lunch if you’re riding through RNSP. Yet, if you get peckish, the towns of Orick and Klamath have some options available for food and gas.

When visiting Redwood National and State Parks, remember that there’s always a fire risk in California during the summer months. There are also entrance fees to some parts of the park, so I recommend checking in advance what your favorite activities will cost you.

Facts & Info

Nearby Attractions

Nearby Roads

As I mentioned, there are many great roads in the Redwood National Park itself. The Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is a paved road rideable on any motorcycle that branches off US 101 at exits 765 or 753.

There are many pullouts along the road that let you marvel at the massive redwoods. Just note that there may be some traffic on this easy road and that motorized vehicles are banned on the first Saturday of each month from October to May.

For a more technical riding experience, head onto Howland Hill Rd. This is a very narrow dirt road with the redwoods growing right next to it. Howland Hill Rd might be closed in spring for winter damage repairs.

If you’d like to ride a bit farther away from your home base in RNSP, traipse about 70 miles south on US 101 to Ferndale and the Lost Coast Scenic Drive. In addition to seeing coastal forests, grassland, and ocean views, you can hike to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse.

Elk Meadow Cabins lets you stay in total comfort in the heart of the Redwood National Park. Split into the Meadow and Ranch sites, you can choose whether you’d like your neighbors to be elk or cows.

There is both off-street and street parking, so you can park your motorcycle right next to the multi- and single-bedroom cabins. Even the single rooms have plenty of space for spreading out your riding gear to dry and breathe overnight.

If your legs are restless after the day’s ride, Elk Meadow Cabins has a nature trail on-site for a nice stroll. There’s also an outdoor jacuzzi and fire pit for relaxing as the evening rolls in.

Best Time to Travel

Spring and fall are generally the best times to hit Redwood National Park. At these times, the largest tourist crowds haven’t yet arrived (or have already gone) while the forest is beautiful and the days on the coast are still sunny.

The woods will be at their most burgeoning in the spring, while fall brings with it the chance to visit local vineyards at harvest time.

Summer temperatures are milder here than in southern California, but you may have to deal with some crowds and possible fire alerts or even forest fires. Winter envelops the park in magnificent fog, but also brings heavy rain and road closures.