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Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park protects more than 4,650 acres of pristine wilderness in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The park is home to one of the most beautiful groves of old-growth coast redwood in California, with the tallest tree standing 277 feet high. It's known as "The Giant" and is estimated to be more than 1,500 years old. Beyond ancient coastal redwoods, the park cradles a unique ecosystem of grasslands, riparian wetlands, and sandhills. There are more than 30 miles of well-marked hiking trails to explore, as well as picturesque picnic spots and swimming areas along the San Lorenzo River.
Planning to visit California's Central Coast? Book an RV in Santa Cruz County and you'll enjoy the freedom to explore the region at your leisure. Spend a few nights soaking up the surf scene in Santa Cruz and camping at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, then head to nearby state parks like Big Basin Redwoods and Pfeiffer Big Sur. San Francisco is an hour and a half north and is a great place to rent an RV near Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and kickstart a Pacific Coast road trip. You're also within striking distance of must-see California national parks such as Yosemite, Sequoia, and Joshua Tree.
Scenic hiking trails wind through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and are a fantastic way to explore the area on foot. At the heart of the park is a 40-acre grove of towering old-growth redwood trees. The short Redwood Grove Loop Trail takes you through the famous grove, which won the attention of historic environmentalists such as President Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir. Along the way, you'll learn about the unique ecology of coast redwoods and how the park paved the way for some of California's first redwood conservation efforts.
Stop by the visitors' center to pick up a self-guided brochure of the park or join a ranger-led tour. You can also join year-round interpretive programs, including stargazing, evening campfires, climate change talks, and birdwatching. Kids and adults alike love stepping inside the Fremont Tree, a magnificent redwood that was hollowed out by fire and served as a shelter for Lt. John C. Fremont in the 1800s.
In summer, the Garden of Eden swimming hole on the San Lorenzo River is a great place to cool off. For sweeping views over the redwood canopy, head up to the Observation Deck. It's the highest point in the park, with views stretching all the way to Monterey and the Pacific Ocean on a clear day. Keep your eyes open for black-tailed deer, bobcats, coyotes, banana slugs, and other native wildlife.
RV camping at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park offers a unique chance to sleep among some of the tallest trees in the world. The campground is set in a sun-dappled evergreen forest and features more than 100 sites with picnic tables and fire pits for enjoying your meals outdoors. Sites can accommodate motorhomes of up to 35 feet in length, making it a great option for small to medium-sized RV rentals. A handful of sites are ADA accessible.
There are no electric, sewer, or water hookups, so you'll need to be self-sufficient. That said, you'll enjoy creature comforts like flush toilets, coin-operated hot showers, and potable water stations. If you need access to a dump station, head to nearby state parks such as Big Basin or New Brighton State Beach. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park fills up fast from Memorial Day to Labor Day, so it's best to make a reservation. Pets are welcome at Henry Cowell Redwoods but must be kept on a leash. You'll also need to clean up any leftover food, as Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is in black bear country.
RV camping at Henry Cowell Redwoods is a great opportunity to explore the Santa Cruz Mountains and California's Central Coast. Head 10 minutes south and you'll hit Santa Cruz, a laid-back beach town fringed by a sandy beach and bustling boardwalk. You're also well-placed for exploring the Santa Cruz Mountains American Viticultural Area, one of California's prime winemaking regions. Spend the day sipping your way through boutique vineyards and sampling award-winning pinot noir, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. Why not pick up a bottle of your favorite and enjoy a private tasting session back at your campsite?
For gas, groceries, and other motorhome camping essentials, head to Felton, a three-mile drive from the campground. Felton is also a jumping point for forest ziplining adventures and rides on the Roaring Camp Railroad, which offers a unique chance to ride heritage steam locomotives from the 1800s. Ride the narrow-gauge railway through the redwood forest and up to the summit of Bear Mountain or step aboard the beach service to Santa Cruz. Want to drive your car through a giant tree? You'll find a handful of options just off US Route 101, including the Chandelier Tree in Leggett, Shrine Drive-Thru Tree in Myer’s Flat, and Klamath Tree in Del Norte County.