2011 Vanlife Sprinter "Ladybird"
2011 Vanlife Sprinter "Ladybird"
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The most striking coastal rainforest in the United States lies south of the Oregon border, in Northern California. Spanning nearly 40 miles of scenic coastline, Redwood National and State Park is home to the world’s tallest trees, remote beaches, herds of Roosevelt elk, majestic gray whales, and black bears. Redwood National and State Park is so valuable that it’s been designated a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.
Redwood National and State Park encompasses multiple national and state lands jointly administered by both the National Park Service and California State Parks. The old-growth trees were nearly milled to extinction in the 19th century, but conservation efforts slowly preserved them one tract at a time. Redwood National Park was created in 1968 and joined up with California State Parks in 1994. Today, the indigenous peoples who have inhabited this land for millennia still help the government manage the diverse and fragile ecosystems. You’ll have abundant opportunities to book an RV in Humboldt County and explore this beautiful area.
Redwood National and State Park has a range of activities as diverse as the ecosystems found in the park. There are five visitors’ centers spread throughout the park where rangers will help you find activities that will fit your interests, abilities, and itinerary.
Over 200 miles of hiking trails in Redwood National and State Park take you through the diverse habitats found in the park, including prairies, tidal pools, beaches, wetlands, and old-growth forests. Some visitors even feel as if they’re being transported back into prehistoric days; in fact, blockbuster dinosaur movies were filmed in the park for this very reason. Fern Canyon is one of these trails, starting at Gold Bluffs Beach. You can walk into the canyon from the beach, or make a full day out of it by continuing on the James Irvine Trail. Many shorter trails are spread out throughout the parks, some of which are wheelchair-accessible.
Wildlife viewers should be on the lookout for different species year-round. Winter months bring the gray whale migration past the park’s beaches, and there are excellent viewing opportunities for these large marine mammals at Crescent Beach, Wilson Creek, Gold Bluffs Beach, and the Kuchel Visitors’ Center. You're also sure to see the Roosevelt elk herds that call the park home. Mating season is in the fall, and calves are born in early summer. But be careful, as the elk can behave somewhat unpredictably during these times. The tide pools at Crescent Beach, Lagoon Creek, Hidden Beach, and Wilson Creek are fun for the kids.
Redwood National and State Park has some great scenic drives as well; however, many of these roads won’t be kind to your motorhome. Some of these roads are steep, narrow, and unpaved, while others are outright off-limits to RVs. These roads are best to explore if you’re in a camper van or with a trailer that you can leave at your site.
The heavy rains in the Pacific Northwest produce an abundance of water for freshwater fish, and anglers will find plenty of trout and salmon in the streams. You can also fish for perch and smelt from the park’s beaches.
There are plenty of RV camping options at Redwood National and State Park, but there are a few things you must first consider before bringing a rental RV into the park. The roads and campgrounds were designed in times before RVs existed, so there are length restrictions, and you won't find any hookups. Private RV campgrounds near Redwood National and State Park can accommodate these needs. Your four-legged friends are allowed at Redwood National and State Park campgrounds, but they must be on a leash at all times.
Jedediah Smith is a favorite RV campground for its dense old-growth forest setting. This campground has 86 sites able to accommodate RVs 25 feet or less and trailers 21 feet or less. It does have a dump station, fire pits, showers, and a visitors’ center. Seasonal Mill Creek is the largest campground with 145 sites. The maximum RV length limit is 28 feet and 24 feet for trailers. The campground also has a dump station, showers, and fire pits. Elk Prairie has 75 sites with similar length restrictions as Mill Creek and the same amenities.
If you have a small RV or campervan, you'd be wise to visit Gold Bluffs Beach. This beautiful beach campground has 26 sites for vehicles up to 24 feet, showers, and fire pits. Access to the beach can be tricky and isn't recommended for trailers or vehicles over eight feet wide.
Redwood National and State Park lies within what’s called the “Circle of Discovery,” comprised of several state and national parks, ice caves in Oregon, and lava beds to the east. These natural wonders offer enough attractions to keep you busy for weeks. In addition to these beautiful parks, the Battery Point Lighthouse Museum and Trinidad Museum showcase the area's fascinating history.
Further explorations to the south will take you to Eureka and Fort Bragg, and eventually San Francisco. To the north, you can explore Brookings, Oregon, and finally, Portland. Make a pit stop in Crescent City to the north or Eureka to the south to stock up your RV rental and fill up with gas; you won’t find any provisions within the park. There is a small general store in Orick, at about the midpoint of the park, but you might not find what you need here. This part of the country is known for its seafood, so if you're visiting in summer months, be sure to visit the area’s many seafood festivals for the freshest catch.