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(Last Updated On: March 24, 2021)

Winding roads through towering redwood giants, lush trails, and river access – Jedediah Smith State Park has it all and is definitely worth stopping for, if not dedicating an entire trip here. Jedediah Smith State Park is home to over 10,000 acres of lush redwoods and has some of the best spots for photos of Redwood Trees!

This Redwoods park was established in 1939 on Highway 199 just outside of Crescent City, California. Here are my top 5 places to hike and photograph Redwoods in Jedediah Smith State Park.

Visit these 5 Best Redwood Photo Spots in Jedediah Smith State Park in Northern California! This could be added on to a road trip or made a road trip all in itself. Come see some of the world's Tallest Redwoods here!

Land Acknowledgement: Tolowa Dee-ni’. Find what Native Land you are visiting by using the app Native Land! I encourage you to read the history and culture of the Indigenous people who’s land you are visiting!

History Lesson: The Dee-ni’ lived amongst the redwoods and the coast long before explorer Jedediah Smith passed through. Smith came through and named one of the Dee-ni’ Rivers after himself to “honor himself”, which is how the State Park name came to be. The gold rush followed shortly after and decimated the California Native American population. I encourage you to read the full history in the link above.

All photos in collaboration with Johnathon DeSoto.

Where is Jedediah Smith State Park?

Jedediah Smith State Park is just 9 miles outside of Crescent City, California on the scenic 199 Highway.

  • From San Francisco: 6 hours
  • Distance from Portland: 5.5 hours
  • From Reno, Nevada: 7 hours

Navigation there is not a stressor as there is cell service in Crescent City, Hiouchi and in parts of Jedediah Smith State Park itself.

5 Epic Hiking Spots for the Best Photos of Redwood Trees

1. Highway 199 Scenic Pull Offs through Jedediah Smith State Park

A woman gets out of her car to stop and see the redwoods in Jedediah Smith State park

This road is incredibly picturesque, and one of my absolute favorite drives in Northern California. This highway winds right through Jedediah Smith State Park with Redwoods shouldered up against the road.

There are numerous small pull-offs for vehicles, so stop and stretch your legs and take a few photos here. These roads are often very busy, so I do not recommend walking into the middle of the road for any photographs.

The road continues like this for 10-15 minutes until you reach the small town of Hiouchi.

Photography Note: I have seen more light rays on this stretch of road than any other Redwoods Road.

2. Simpson Reed Trail

A woman walks through towering redwoods in jedediah smith state park. Great picture spot with a person  so small next to the redwood trees.

Simpson Reed Trail in Jedediah Smith SP is the first trailhead you will encounter coming from Crescent City. An easy hike that has towering redwoods close to the trail and boasts some of the tallest redwoods in the world! Bring your wider lens for these photos!

  • .9 mile loop
  • 52 feet elevation gain
  • Heavily Trafficked
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • No dogs allowed
  • Small Parking lot

This can be a very busy trail, but since it is a loop trail, you rarely have to pass or share space with other people. We took one of the last parking spots, and only crossed paths with one person. We did this trail counter-clockwise.

There are not wheelchair accessible bathrooms at this trail but there are some available at the Hiouchi visitor Center.

3. Hatton Trail

Just across the street from Simpson Reed trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods is the Hatton Trail! You could easily park at Simpson Reed and knock both of these trails out in a couple hours if you desired!

  • 3.3 miles Out and Back Trail
  • 521 feet elevation gain
  • Moderately Trafficked
  • No Dogs Allowed

4. Stout Grove Trail

This has been a hike that I continuously keep going back to! I’ve been on this trail over 5 times already and I know I’ll go back again. This easy loop trail is incredibly scenic and when the light hits just right in here, it is pure magic.

  • .7 mile loop
  • 32 feet elevation gain
  • Heavily Trafficked
  • No dogs
  • Wheelchair friendly

5. Boy Scout Trail

  • 6 mile Out and Back Trail
  • 875 feet elevation gain
  • Heavily Trafficked
  • No Dogs

Best Time to visit Jedediah Smith State Park for Photos of Redwoods

So, most guides state April – October are the best months to visit the Redwoods, but I can say that I’ve been to this area of the Redwoods in every month and it is fantastic.

Of course outside of April – October are generally the rainy months and so if you are trying to avoid rain, stick within this monthly guideline.

In the winter months, you are more likely to have fog rolling through the trees and get those epic light rays. Also – a bonus that it is less crowded during the winter months!

Where to Stay When Visiting the Redwoods in Jedediah Smith

Full view of rustic treehouse sitting in the forest in northern California

There are quite a few options here! Campgrounds, Hotels, Airbnbs or unique glamping experiences!

Camping Options

Jedediah Smith Redwoods Campground

Availability has been changing in flux with the pandemic, but if this campground is open – you’ll be able to enjoy a magical night camping in the redwoods.

Smith River Recreation Area

This is primitive camping – meaning no facilities. BUT it is free, dispersed camping on a first come first served basis. With campsites like this, I always recommend checking them out during the day to solidify your plans and ensure it will be a good place for you to camp comfortably.

Lodging Options Nearby

Hiouchi Hotel

This Hotel sits in the middle of some of the best hikes and is just minutes from the Redwoods. A cafe boasting a 16 inch pancake sits next door haha – if that’s something you’re into, you might want to stay here.

Crescent City

Crescent City sits just 10 miles outside of Jedediah Smith State Park and has MANY hotel and Airbnb options.

If you’re a first time Airbnb user, use my link to sign up and get up to $65 off your first booking! *This is not sponsored. I would receive a small credit towards my next stay with Airbnb.

Unique Stays Nearby!

We make pretty frequent trips to this area since it is only 1.5 hours away from where we live. I’ve been able to experience a couple very unique airbnbs close to these redwoods!

Off-Grid Treehouse

See my blog post on my experience and how to book!

The Nor Cal Hobbit Hole

Now THIS was an experience haha! If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan be sure to check this out.

Make it a Redwoods Road Trip!

Whether you’re coming from the North or South to get to Jedediah Smith State Park for the Redwoods, there are MANY add ons. Check back here for more…but to get you started:

Have you been to the Redwoods?? Let me know in the comments if you have or not, and if you have let me know what trail!

Save for Later!

Visit these 5 Best Redwood Photo Spots in Jedediah Smith State Park in Northern California! This could be added on to a road trip or made a road trip all in itself. Come see some of the world's Tallest Redwoods here!

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