Oregon is one of the few places in the US where you are able to see mighty redwood trees, some of the most impressive trees in the world. People travel for miles around to see these towering giants in California, but very few people know they can be spotted in select spots along the Oregon coast as well.
There are two hikes that showcase the very best of the redwoods in Oregon, the Redwood Nature Trail, and the Oregon Redwood Trail.
How To See the Redwoods in Oregon
Resistant to insects and diseases, they are the ultimate old-growth trees, with many reaching over 1000 years old. Some of these giant redwoods can grow up to 250-feet tall and up to 10-feet in diameter, a size that really has to be seen to be believed.
The redwoods in Oregon sit at the very northernmost limit of where they can grow, and simply add to the already impressive beauty of Oregon forests. Coast redwood naturally has a very limited range of where they can grow, and are only found alongside the Pacific Coast.
They grow in the thick fog that forms as warm air masses are cooled by the Pacific Ocean. It is these distinct conditions that allow the redwoods to grow into some of the tallest trees in the world.
1. The Redwood Nature Trail
Distance: 1.1 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
The Redwood Nature Trail is one option for a hike to see these mighty trees and can be found around 7-miles east of Brookings in the Siskiyou National Forest. This is the northernmost redwood trail, looping through an attractive grove of small to medium redwoods.
Although the hike is short, be aware that for some of the walk you’ll be gaining some serious elevation, so pack water with you. Just be sure to look up so you can enjoy the scenery.
The best way to start this impressive hike is at Alfred Loeb State Park, where you can connect a walk along the river with this nature loop. If you are starting from the park, you can follow the Riverview Trail for 0.7 miles before entering the forest of redwoods.
Although most of the redwoods on this hike are not the biggest, the hike itself is beautiful. In the winter you’ll pass an energetic waterfall, that’s a picturesque cascade down a rocky creekbed in the summer.
After passing the falls the trail will begin to climb, and the first of the redwoods come into view. This is the most scenic part of the loop, as you climb through the ravine, with the biggest redwoods surrounding you.
About halfway around the loop, you will likely come across the biggest tree of the hike, standing at 296-feet tall and around 34-inches in diameter. This tree in particular is around 800 years old, and this fact alone is quite difficult to comprehend.
To find out more about the area and the redwoods, you can pick up a free brochure at the trailhead which will help give you an idea of the different plant species you’ll see along the nature trail.
Alfred Loeb State Park
Because the trail is so close to the Alfred Loeb State Park, it tends to get a lot of visitors, despite there being more impressive-sized trees elsewhere. A trip to the state park can easily be combined with a walk on the trail.
It is a good place to spend the night, with a few campsites available to visitors, as well as comfortable rental cabins. Spend your days catching fish, swimming or rafting down the river, or enjoying one of the park’s trails.
2. Oregon Redwoods Trail
Distance: 1.6 miles
Type of Trail: Loop
Another option for seeing these noble giants is via the Oregon Redwoods Trail, the other of the only two places to see redwoods in Oregon. This short loop will take you through stunning, mixed species upland forests. This route is home to a larger collection of old-growth groves than the Redwood Nature Trail, but both are worth visiting.
At first, this hike may seem like the hundreds of other hikes through Oregon’s coastal forest, but something pretty special is waiting for you along the way. No matter how many times you have seen pictures of one of these ancient redwood trees, nothing compares to seeing the towering giants in person.
From the parking lot, the trail immediately dives straight into the forest and splits. If you take the left-hand branch, you will begin to descend down the hill via a series of switchbacks.
The redwoods that you may begin to see are relatively small in size but don’t be too downhearted, as the bigger trees tend to be at the lower part of the trail.
After a while, you’ll notice that the path begins to climb again, and at this point, you will pass through a dense cluster of redwoods, with the growth of ferns at their base helping to add to the almost magical atmosphere that these trees create.
Once the trail reaches the top of the ridge, you will be able to view what is likely the biggest trees of the whole hike, so it is worth doing the loop this way round to save the best for last.
You can walk along the ridge back to the parking lot. You could always combine this short hike with others in the region for a more challenging adventure.
RELATED: 17 Breathtaking Oregon Coast Hikes
Getting to the Oregon Redwoods Trail
The trail is very easy to find thanks to the visible ‘Oregon Redwoods Trail’ which signposts you off Highway 101, you can then follow the further signs to the parking area for the trail. Be aware, that the road to the trail is very bad.
Reaching the trailhead will require you to navigate a bumpy logging road, but due to the effort of reaching the trail, it is usually pretty quiet. Just take it slow and you’ll be fine. If Lucy, our old VW Bus can make it, you can too!