Redwood National and State Parks lure millions of outdoor adventurers each year to snap selfies with the coastal redwoods, the tallest trees in the world. Many of these gigantic specimens have stood sentinel in Northern Cali's tranquil forests for more than 300 years.
The best part is, your canine companion can join you to marvel up at these tall, tall trees — but there's a catch. Big beasts like bears, bobcats, and mountain lions all make their home among the redwoods, and if they catch a whiff of your woofer, they just might feel threatened enough to attack. That's why it's imperative to follow the pet policies at Redwood National and State Parks.
First things first: doggos aren't allowed on trails. It might seem unfair, but this restriction is in place to protect your pupper, as well as the native wildlife and other park visitors. As long as your doggo is on a ten-foot leash, they're welcome to wander in the campgrounds, stroll along the dog-friendly beaches, chow down in the picnic area, and soak up stunning vistas from paved roads and select overlooks. It's vital that you pay close attention to your surroundings and clean up after Fifi immediately. Any, erm, "presents" that your dog leaves behind might attract some of the park's dangerous wildlife.
As of 2018, your doggo can even become a BARK! Ranger. Head to a visitors' center, take the BARK! Ranger Pledge, and earn a nifty dog tag that you can show off in a social media-worthy selfie.
Now that we've got the safety stuff out of the way, let's get to the fun part: all the activities you and Spot can enjoy together in Redwoods National and State Parks!
The developed campgrounds at Redwood National and State Parks welcome leashed canine campers with open paws. Whether you're planning to "ruff" it in a tent and do a little stargazing or go "glamping" in an RV, Redwoods National and State Parks has you and your canine covered with four pet-friendly campgrounds: Jedediah Smith, Mill Creek, Gold Bluffs Beach, and Elk Prairie. All campgrounds come equipped with restrooms, showers, bear-proof food lockers, fire pits, and picnic tables. Though the campgrounds have modern amenities, RV hookups aren't available.
Each camping area provides different scenery, experiences, and accommodation options. Offering more than 85 sites set among the redwoods, Jedediah Smith is a firm favorite with anglers. Mill Creek is the largest campground with 145 sites near Mill Creek. Gold Bluffs Beach is a cozy campground that's "pawpular" with canine campers, boasting 26 sites and remarkable vistas of the coast. Finally, Elk Prairie's 75 wooded sites are ideal for wildlife watchers keen to get a glimpse of the park's population of Roosevelt elk.
Now that you know the details of pet-friendly camping at Redwood National and State Parks, let's get to the good stuff: planning your trip in the California redwoods!
Hounds aren't allowed on designated hiking trails within the park, but they're welcome to wander along paved parking lots and select roads. Puppers can sniff around the following parking areas: Stout Grove, Tall Trees Trail, Lady Bird Johnson, and Fern Canyon.
Cal Barrel Road is a "pawticular" favorite among four-legged explorers. Along this gravel path, you'll amble under a lush canopy of redwoods. Be careful, though; this route is also open to cars. While most vehicles drive slowly to absorb the magic of the redwoods, others might not play by the rules. Stay alert at all times. Walker Road is also worth a walk — this short, one-mile road meanders through old-growth redwoods.