While closed much of last year and early this year due to mandatory budget cuts, the Tall Trees Access Road in Redwood National Park was scheduled to reopen today.
The Tall Trees Access Road provides visitor access to the Tall Trees Trail, Emerald Ridge Trail, and, during low-water periods, dispersed backcountry camping areas on Redwood Creek.
Required vehicle permits for the Tall Trees Access Road are free and available at all Redwood National and State Park (RNSP) Visitor Centers, seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors should plan at least four hours to drive to the Tall Trees trailhead and complete the five mile round trip walk.
The Tall Trees Access Road is a six-mile improved gravel road. Trailers and motor homes are not permitted due to the narrow road width and low-hanging vegetation. The road is passable for most regular passenger vehicles; high-clearance vehicles are not required. Due to recent rains, drivers should expect to encounter some slippery spots, a few small potholes and rutted sections. The park plans for additional improvements to the road as weather permits which may result in occasional weekday closures when heavy equipment is operating.
The Tall Trees Trail is a five-mile round trip walk, descending 800 feet in elevation over two miles into the world-famous Tall Trees Grove. The grove was named after the world's tallest tree was measured at 368 feet during a 1963 National Geographic Expedition. The Tall Trees Grove and the surrounding old-growth redwood forest became the impetus for the creation of Redwood National Park in 1968. While that one tree is no longer the world's tallest, the Tall Trees Grove remains an outstanding day hike into the tallest forest on the planet.
Redwood Creek, which during the summer and fall is accessible via Tall Trees Trail for backcountry camping, currently is running too high and too fast for safe crossing. Visitors interested in backcountry camping along Redwood Creek or other backcountry sites within RNSP may visit any park visitor center for current creek conditions and required camping permits.
Redwood National & State Parks offer more than 100 miles of hiking trails, most of which travel through spectacular stands of old-growth redwood forest. Lady Bird Johnson Grove, the Berry Glen Trail, and Trillium Falls Trail, all located near Orick, make for outstanding alternatives to the Tall Trees Grove, with trees that rival those of their more famous cousins on Redwood Creek. In addition, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, just north of Orick, California, holds more than 50 miles of roads and trails almost entirely within old-growth forest.