Redwood National Park features prime social distance camping

Camping in the redwoods is always great

tent in
(Camping under the tall trees. Courtesy Mario Vaden/

As urban Californians weary of Covid resort to overnighting in nature to break up the monotony of social distancing, one little known spot stands out for its remoteness and beauty.

Redwood National Park allows hikers to access the Tall Trees Grove, an old growth forest with record-sized arboreal towers, through a limited number of permits. During Covid restrictions, 50 are available each day and must be obtained online.

While national park facilities are closed at this time, most of the park remains open, including the grove. Besides a free permit to hike in the grove, redwoods enthusiasts can get a free permit to backcountry camp near the grove along Redwood Creek, whose watershed protects most of the world’s ten tallest trees, some as tall as, or taller than, the Statue of Liberty.

hiking in redwood national park
(Hiking in the redwoods. Photo Courtesy Drew Hyland/

Set aside at least four total hours for a Tall Trees trek, which is about a 45-minute drive from Orick on Bald Hills Road and an unpaved access road, then a steep hike for 1.3 miles down a winding trail. The reward is worth it, a mystical, rarely visited grove with super redwood giants, including the Libby Tree, a former record holder whose discovery lead to the creation of the park in the late 1960s.

Fortunately, given the vast expanses and limited permits, hikers and campers can expect to social distance with ease. And Covid or no, camping along the sandy banks of Redwood Creek, allowed during the dry season, offers an unrivaled forest experience in California national parks.

To reserve your free hike or camping permit for Tall Trees Grove or Redwood Creek, go to the RNP website here:

Check at least 48 hours in advance of your trip, and make sure a permit is available for the date or dates of travel. Permits won’t be issued more than a week in advance.

For those seeking other nature overnights, additional primitive campsites are open too. Check the link above for more. Or sleep in a public campground in nearby Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, with running water, bathrooms and hot showers, for a nominal fee. To make a reservation, visit or call 800-444-7275.

Due to current dry conditions, open fires are prohibited within the parks’ boundaries. Fires within fire rings and picnic grills are allowed. So is the use of camp stoves, including in the backcountry in primitive camping areas and the Redwood Creek gravel bars.


Avatar for Richard Stenger

About the author

Richard Stenger is a former park ranger at two California national parks who enjoys promoting the beauty of that state's north coast redwoods.

Take Action

One Response to “Redwood National Park features prime social distance camping”

  1. M. Virginia Leslie

    Redwoods National Park is one of my husband’s and my favorite places to camp and hike. We both have a number of fond memories of trips we have made up there over the years. In non-Covid years one could also visit the Lost Coast, Ferndale (including a cheese factory/store on the road east towards 101), Eureka, Humboldt, etc. It’s just a great place to visit!


Leave a Reply