Our family’s next stop on the Redwoods phase of our trip was backpacking along Redwood Creek in Redwood National Park. We drove down to the Kuchel Visitor Center where we secured our backcountry permit and our permit for the Tall Trees TH. One of the difficulties in backpacking in the Redwoods is the high number of trailhead break ins. The Tall Trees Trailhead is at the end of a locked access road, which does provide some security. The narrow road and small parking area does not allow trailers, but fortunately the staff at the visitor center allowed us to leave our trailer there.
The eight of us arrived at the trailhead around lunch time. We ate a quick lunch and shouldered our packs. The trail drops 800 ft from the trailhead before arriving in the magnificent Tall Trees grove. This grove contains the Libby Tree, which once held the title of the world’s tallest tree until 1994 when its top died. Regardless, these are some truly impressive trees.
We wound our way through the grove headed north. Our route then exited the grove and followed the clear waters of Redwood Creek , crossing the creek repeatedly. Our permit stipulated that we needed to be at least 1/4 mile from the grove to be able to camp on one of the wide gravel banks of the creek.
Camp was established on a particularly scenic stretch with a wide still pool of water for the kids to swim in. We set up the tipi in case the 20% forecasted chance of rain materialized. The kids spent the afternoon splashing while Jen and I enjoyed the opportunity for some quiet reading. We fixed bean burritos for dinner as the sun slowly set and the evening cooled.
Morning dawned to coastal fog bathing the tops of the trees. Everyone had chosen to spend the night under the stars, so we did have to spend some time drying the dew off the sleeping bags before packing up. We fixed a small fire and enjoyed breakfast before making the climb back to the car.
See it Yourself: The Tall Trees Trail is a beautiful trail to an isolated and spectacular redwood grove. It does require a free permit from the one of the three Redwood NP Visitor Centers to access and is considered by the NPS to be “moderately strenuous”. It is a 3 1/2 mile loop and provides access to Redwood Creek’s gravel bars for camping as well.