Redwood National Park in January: A Serene Winter Wonderland

Redwood National Park in January offers a unique and enchanting experience for nature enthusiasts. With mild temperatures, high rainfall, and a serene atmosphere, this time of year provides a chance to explore the park’s lush forests, scenic drives, and abundant wildlife without the crowds of the peak season.

Exploring the Redwood Trails in January

One of the best ways to experience Redwood National Park in January is by hiking its extensive trail system. While the trails may be muddy and washed out due to the heavy rainfall, the solitude and tranquility of the forest can be truly rewarding. Here are some of the top trails to consider:

Trail Name Distance Highlights
Fern Canyon Trail 1.1 miles Lush fern-covered canyon walls, cascading waterfalls
Prairie Creek Trail – Foothill Trail Loop 2.6 miles Towering redwoods, diverse flora and fauna
Tall Trees Grove Trail 4 miles Access to the Tall Trees, one of the tallest trees in the world
Boy Scout Trail 5.3 miles Scenic vistas, old-growth redwood forests
Gould Grove Nature Loop Trail 0.7 mile Intimate exploration of a redwood grove

Remember to obtain any necessary permits, such as the free Tall Trees Grove Trail permit, before setting out on your hike.

Scenic Drives through the Redwoods

Redwood National Park in January

Redwood National Park offers several scenic drives that allow visitors to experience the park’s natural beauty from the comfort of their vehicles. These routes are particularly enjoyable in January, as the wet weather can create a serene and moody atmosphere.

  • Bald Hills Road: Mostly located within Redwood National Park, this road offers stunning views of the park’s high-elevation forests and meadows.
  • Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway: Situated primarily in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, this parkway winds through towering redwood groves.
  • Howland Hill Road: Mostly found in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, this road provides access to the park’s old-growth redwood forests.

Observing the Resident Elk Population

Redwood National Park is home to a thriving population of Roosevelt elk, and January is an excellent time to spot these majestic creatures. The elk can often be seen grazing in the park’s meadows and open areas, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon hours.

Experiencing the Redwood Forest in the Rain

One of the unique aspects of visiting Redwood National Park in January is the opportunity to experience the forest in the rain. The heavy precipitation can create a serene and atmospheric environment, with the sound of raindrops on the canopy and the lush greenery coming to life. This can be a particularly rewarding experience for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

Enjoying the Mild Temperatures

Despite its northern location, Redwood National Park enjoys a relatively mild climate year-round, and January is no exception. With high temperatures in the mid-50s Fahrenheit and lows in the mid-40s, the park offers a comfortable environment for outdoor activities, even in the winter months.

Avoiding the Crowds

One of the significant advantages of visiting Redwood National Park in January is the smaller crowds. While the park is popular during the peak summer season, the winter months typically see fewer visitors, allowing for a more intimate and personal experience. This can be particularly beneficial for those seeking solitude and a deeper connection with the natural world.

Preparing for Your Visit

When planning a trip to Redwood National Park in January, it’s essential to be prepared for the wet and muddy conditions. Packing appropriate rain gear, sturdy hiking boots, and layers of clothing can help ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Additionally, it’s important to check the park’s website for any updates or closures, as heavy rainfall can sometimes lead to trail or road conditions that require temporary restrictions.


Redwood National Park in January offers a unique and enchanting experience for nature enthusiasts. From exploring the lush trails and scenic drives to observing the resident elk population and experiencing the forest in the rain, this time of year provides a serene and intimate connection with the park’s natural wonders. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Redwood National Park in January is a destination worth considering.


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