Redwood Transect

Learn about the redwood forest and complete your own redwood transect.

What Is a Transect?

A transect is a real or imaginary line that people use to learn about a place by noting plants, animals and other things they find along it. Mike Fay, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, walked an 1,800-mile Redwood Transect following the Pacific coast from central California to southern Oregon.

YOU don’t have to walk that far, though! Use this transect to explore a redwood park today.

Why Do a Transect?

Transects are a way to “sample” a place, without going to every spot there. They help people explore large areas in detail and to find patterns and connections. By hiking his Redwood Transect, Mike Fay was able to discover links between people, animals and plants in redwood forests.

You can discover the wonders of the redwood forest, too, just by doing this transect.

Transect Tools

Redwood transect, notebook, pencil or pen, colored pencils, camera, tape measure (optional).

Explore our Online Interactive Redwood Transect .

How to Do Your Redwood Transect

  1. Download and print this transect (PDF version).
  2. Bring all your Transect Tools (above) to a nearby park.
  3. Check with a park ranger about any safety concerns.
  4. Choose a trail or path.
  5. Take 10 steps (or measure 20 feet) along the trail and stop.
  6. Try to find one of the items on the redwood transect.
  7. In your notebook, describe or draw the item you see at this stop. Label it with the stop number (Stop 1, Stop 2, and so on).
  8. Repeat steps 4 through 6 until you find all the items. If you reach the end of the trail before you find them all, try another trail!
  9. Remember: Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints. Plants, animals, rocks and other natural things should be left alone.

Where to Do Your Redwood Transect

Plan a trip to one of California’s redwood parks (see map) and try doing your transect there. But you don’t need redwoods to do this transect — use it to explore any park near you.

More You Can Do

  • After your visit, review your transect. How many did you find? What did you learn?
  • Take a photo during your transect and upload it to our Flickr Gallery.
  • Explore our online Interactive Redwood Transect.
  • Visit National Geographic’s Redwood Transect. Learn more about Mike’s journey and find fun, interactive learning tools.