dog friendly hikes redwood forest

Dog Friendly Redwood Hikes and Fun Activities

Dog friendly Redwood hikes can be tricky to find, but those that are out there are well-worth a visit.

While the trees are mainly located within the boundaries of the Redwood National and State Parks, there’s no reason your dog should have to miss out.

We’ve got pet-friendly walks within the parks, alternate hikes, and the best beaches to visit!

Visiting Redwood National and State Parks with Your Dog


Are Dogs Allowed at the Redwoods?

Yes! While there are some limitations, both big and small dogs can be included in your adventure!

Rules for Dogs Visiting the Redwoods

The rules for dogs visiting Redwood National and State Parks are pretty standard. Hikers and their furry friends will need to follow the BARK! guidelines:

  • Bag your pet’s poop.
  • Always use a leash shorter than 6 feet.
  • Respect the wildlife.
  • Know where you can go. Like most national parks, dogs are permitted in campgrounds, on beaches, in picnic areas, and on roads.

The only exception to the rules is for registered service animals. They are permitted on all open trails and are able to access all attractions.

redwood national park dog friendly trails

Which Redwood National and State Parks to Visit

The Redwood National and State Parks is a unique experience, in that it’s actually made up of four separate parks.

It consists of one national park and three state parks:

  • Redwood National Park
  • Del Norte Coast State Park
  • Jedediah Smith State Park
  • Prairie Creek State Park

Together, the parks cover almost 40,000 acres of the California landscape. They preserve important flora and fauna, such as the beloved redwood trees.

They also provide an amazing historical backdrop for those wanting to learn more about the gold rush and timber industries.

Mostly, however, the parks are known for their amazing trails and outdoor experiences! Each park is unique and worth a visit if you have the time.

Redwood Trails That Allow Dogs

Unfortunately, pets are not permitted on standard hiking trails throughout the park. Don’t worry, though. Since dogs are permitted on roads, we’ll show you how to work around this!

There are also some amazing dog-friendly hikes just outside of their boundaries.

Redwood National Park Dog-Friendly Trails


Walker Road Trail

are dogs allowed at the redwoods

Walker Road is located in Jedediah Smith State Park. This road can be explored either by foot or by car, making it a fantastic dog-friendly choice for visitors.


It leads right through the sheltered undergrowth of the towering redwoods, bringing you out by the bank of the Smith River. It’s only about 3 miles long, accessible, and perfect for a quick taste of the park. 


Don’t bank on cooling off at the end of your walk, however. Dogs are not permitted to swim in the Smith River.


Cal Barrel Road

dog friendly hikes redwood city
Photo by Matthew Woltz | AllTrails

If your trip is more based around the Southern parks, then Cal Barrel Road in Prairie Creek State Park is well worth a stop. It was our favorite dog-friendly walk that was actually inside one of the parks.


This gravel road is 3.5 miles long and climbs over 700 feet. The redwoods here are absolutely gigantic and were just magical to see.


This trail is very popular, with tight corners, so take care and watch out for cyclists. We saw plenty on our trip as they can complete a beautiful 7-mile circuit.


Dog-Friendly Trails near Redwood National and State Parks


Elk River Trail

are dogs allowed in redwood forest
Photo by: Bureau of Land Management | Flickr

The Elk River Trail is a must for anybody seeking a true redwood experience. The trees absolutely tower in this area, with some thought to be over 2000 years old.


Dogs are permitted along the first 3 miles of this trail, up until the bridge crossing. The full hike is quite busy, but you still get a great insight into the peaceful nature of the forest. Weekdays are quieter and provide a more tranquil environment for those looking to get in touch with nature.


You’ll find this hike tucked away in Headwaters Forest Reserve. The drive along Elk River Road and through the surrounding forest is almost worth the trip on its own.


Myrtle Creek Trail

dog friendly redwood hikes
Photo by: Smith River Alliance

This lush, green trail winds along the beautiful Myrtle Creek. It’s a relatively easy walk and short in length, being a 2-mile round trip.

This trail provides a classic National Park experience without having to leave your pup behind.

Beware: This trail is known for its stinging insects and is signed as such. We spotted a hive but fortunately didn’t have any issues – others aren’t so lucky. Be careful!

Darlingtonia Trail/Botanical Trail

dog friendly hikes redwood forest
Photo by: Smith River Alliance

The Darlingtonia Trail (AKA the Botanical Trail) is a 16-minute drive from Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.


This trail is short, at only 0.2 miles, but is a lovely pitstop to make with your pooch. It’s flat, wheelchair-friendly, and a great opportunity for the whole family to get moving.


The main attraction here is the Cobra Lily. This carnivorous plant is far from a redwood tree, but still a unique sight if you’re looking to cleanse your palate between parks.


Sequoia Park

are dogs allowed in redwood forest

Located in Eureka City, Sequoia Park spans 67 acres and is dog-friendly throughout. Here you will find a number of trails and roads that allow you and your pooch up-close access to the towering redwoods.

We loved how well-maintained and accessible this spot was. Eureka City itself was a great stop during our trip, and the park was a definite cherry on top.

Remember that pets do need to be leashed in the park. And while the park itself is dog-friendly, the neighboring Sequoia Zoo and Redwood SkyWalk are not.

We were a little disappointed about this as both seemed like pretty popular attractions. If you can, it might be nice to either board your dog or have somebody pet-sit while you explore.

Stulsaft Park Loop

are dogs allowed at the redwoods
Photo by: kaori shino | AllTrails

This loop is one of the best dog-friendly hikes in Redwood City. It’s only 0.9 miles long, but its location in the park makes it the perfect doggy playground.


Stulsaft Park covers 42 acres of the city and dogs are allowed to be off-leash on any trails south of the creek. You’ll find a beautiful creek, doggy water stations, and lots of four-legged friends to play with.


However, there is a three-dog maximum per owner, so keep that in mind if you’re part of a larger pack.


Dog-Friendly Redwood Sights and Activities


Become a BARK! Ranger

dog friendly hikes redwood city
Photo by: National Park Service

This adorable program is absolutely worth a mention. Law-abiding pooches can pop into any Redwood visitor center and earn their place as a BARK! Ranger.


You and your dog will recite the BARK pledge, have their certificate stamped, and can even purchase a special Redwood Ranger collar tag. It’s such a sweet touch and in my opinion, an absolute must-do.


Lookouts and Viewpoints


Klamath River Overlook

redwood trails that allow dogs

This is where the Klamath River feeds into the Pacific Ocean. You can enjoy this beautiful overlook from the comfort of the parking lot. Keep your eyes peeled for whales, sea lions, and seals!


While it’s unfortunate that pets can’t complete the full hike, rest assured that you won’t be missing out on much by skipping over this trail. It was poorly maintained on our last trip and not a trail that I would really like to take the dogs on, anyway.


The view is just as nice from the parking lot and is a great place to stop and stretch your legs.


Redwood Creek Overlook

redwood national park dog friendly trails
Photo by: Redwood National and State Parks | Flickr

The Redwood Creek Overlook is known as one of the most beautiful sunset spots throughout the parks. If you time it right, you’ll be treated to the breathtaking sight of the sun dipping down into the redwoods.


Dog-Friendly Redwood Beaches

There are so many fantastic dog-friendly beaches sprinkled throughout Redwood National and State Parks.


On Leash Beaches

  • Crescent Beach
  • Gold Bluffs Beach
  • Freshwater Lagoon Beach
  • Samoa Dunes & Wetlands


Off Leash Beaches 

  • Moonstone Beach
  • Clam Beach
  • Luffenholtz Beach
  • Mad River Beach


Final Thoughts

A visit to the Californian redwoods is a must for any lover of the outdoors. These magnificent trees are so unique and quintessentially Californian that you just can not pass them over if you’re in the area.


Taking your dog to the Redwood National and State Parks requires a little bit of give and take. Hopefully, this guide to the best dog-friendly redwood hikes has given you some ideas for your own planning. 


Do you have any favorite dog-friendly redwood hikes that just should not be missed? Let us know!