What Is the Best Time to Travel to Redwood National Park?

Summer is the best time to travel to Redwood National Park. But for the cheapest rates and smallest crowds, you might consider visiting in the winter.
Written by Patrick Price
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on Jul 06, 2022
Redwood National Park is home to some of the most dramatic sights mother nature has to offer – from the majestic rocky canyons and beaches to the gigantic redwood trees for which the park is named.
Have you been dreaming of running away to another world? Perhaps one in a galaxy far far away? Do fantasies of strange and alien rainforests excite your imagination? If so, it might be time for a trip to Redwood National Park. 
Redwood might not be another planet, but it’s the next best thing. This summer, stay dry as you wander through the temperate rainforest where iconic films such as Star Wars and Jurrasic Park were filmed. Or, brave the rainy winter season to avoid the crowds. 
Lousy weather can quickly put a damper on even the most thrilling nature adventure. That’s why the
car insurance
has compiled this guide on the best time to travel to Redwood National Park. 
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The best times of year to travel to Redwood National Park

The summer peak season in Redwood National Park lasts from lateMay until mid-September. This is the most popular time to visit the park and will be the most ideal season for most travelers. 
For those parkgoers that would prefer to dodge the crowds, and don’t mind getting wet, the winter rainy season might be worth considering.
For a  good balance between nice weather and fewer crowds, the shoulder seasons in spring and autumn might be the best bet. 

Peak season: May to September

The good: Mild temperatures, less rain
The bad: Heavy fog, largest crowds 
The weather: 50s to 60s
Summer is by far the most popular time to visit Redwood National Park. While the rain is heavy year-round in Redwood, summer offers a slight reprieve from the downpour. Stay warm and dry as you wander the otherworldly trails that wind through one of the most unique displays of plant life that planet earth has to offer. 
The warm and (relatively) dry weather from May to September offers the ideal conditions for the park’s numerous
outdoor activities
. If you’re looking to
, or go
horseback riding
, summer will be the best time for you to plan your trip. 
If you do decide to visit Redwood in the summer, however, be prepared for the frequent bouts of heavy fog. The summer fogs can roll in at a moment's notice and vail the forest in a dense iridescent haze. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Like the forest itself, the atmosphere created by this fog is ancient, mysterious, and full of wonder. 
Peak season is also when you can take part in some of the wonderful
ranger-led activities
, such as
guided kayak tours
and tidepool walks
Pro Tip While summer is the dry season, it can still get chilly and damp at times. Plan ahead and pack extra layers of clothing. While you’re at it, pack some snacks as well – there are not many places to buy food inside the park. 

Off-season: November to March

The good: Fewer crowds, lowest rates 
The bad: Constant heavy rain, chilly weather, frequent storms 
The weather: 40s to 50s 
Winter is the off-season and the least popular time to visit Redwood National Park—and it’s not hard to see why. The term “rainy season” doesn’t begin to describe the near-constant downpour that Redwood experiences during the winter. All season long, trails and campsites are transformed into muddy rivers and swamps. 
From November to March, the rain causes park attendance to dwindle almost to nothing. But if you’re not bothered by (or even enjoy) the rain, winter can be a great time to explore Redwood while avoiding the crowds. Redwood is also a temperate climate so it doesn’t get much colder during the winter, only dropping by about 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Standing alone in the ancient woodland and listening to the winter rains beat against the canopy of trees is an overwhelmingly powerful experience – so much so that it has inspired words of admiration in everyone from John Steinbeck to Theodore Roosevelt. 
Or, if you’re looking for a more active way to enjoy the Redwood winter, you could plan a
fishing trip
to catch a few of the iconic steelheads or coho salmon.  
Pro Tip Depending on the weather, some campgrounds and trailheads may be closed in the winter. Before you go, check the Redwood National Park
for news of any closures. 

Shoulder Seasons: April & October

The good: Balance of small crowds and lower rates, fall colors and spring blooms
The bad: Heavy rain 
The weather: 50s to 60s
If you’re looking for a good balance between the rains of winter and the crowds of summer, consider visiting during one of the shoulder seasons in fall and spring
The shoulder seasons will still be rainy, but not as much as the winter. You’ll also find smaller crowds than in the summer.
Take in the vibrant colors in either shoulder season. In the autumn, the leaves turn brilliant shades of red and orange, while in the spring, the stunning pink rhododendrons burst into bloom. This is a great time to indulge in one of the park's many
scenic drives

The cheapest time to travel to Redwood National Park

The cheapest time to visit Redwood National Park is in the winter. The general lack of demand means that travel and lodging accommodation prices will be at the lowest point of the year. 

Find the best month for your visit to Redwood National Park

The best month for your visit to Redwood National Park will depend on one vital question: how do you feel about rain?
  • If a little bit (or a lot) of rain doesn’t bother you, mid-winter can be a great time to visit the park. In December and January, you’ll find the lowest prices and smallest crowds – but you’ll also get the most rain.
  • If you’re mainly interested in seeing the spectacular plant life in the park, you should consider visiting in April or October. The forest, which is always beautiful, puts on an especially dazzling display of colors during these shoulder seasons.
  • If you’d rather hike and camp unimpeded by storms, you might want to stick to July and August. This is also the best time to head to the coast and catch a glimpse of the Eastern Pacific Gray Whales as they arrive for their matting season. 

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