Fresh air, beautiful views and spending time in nature provide nourishment for both body and soul. Few places offer a better backdrop for outdoor activities than Redwood National Park.
Just a few hours’ drive from Lake Park, Redwood National Park is the perfect weekend destination for hiking and biking a scenic parkway. Both activities provide multiple health benefits and can work with any level of fitness.
If you’re ready to hit the road and head for the parkway, here’s what you need to know to make the most of your trip and your active time.
Enjoying the Park
The Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is a 10-mile, paved route that’s open to non-commercial vehicles and is available for hiking and biking. On specific days, the route is open only to hikers and visitors using non-motorized vehicles.
This breathtaking route passes through the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and its old-growth redwoods. The parkway also passes numerous landmarks, including the Prairie Creek Visitor Center, Elk Prairie Campground and Big Tree Wayside.
The visitor center includes a bookstore, restrooms, a picnic area, information and exhibits, along with programming and activities led by rangers during the summer months. The center is open 9 am to 5 pm during the summer, 9 am to 4 pm in the off season, and closed on Christmas, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving.
Using the parkway is free, and it’s open from sunrise to sunset. To get to the parkway, look for signs off U.S. 101. The parkway is located about 6 miles north of Orick, California. Park officials note that GPS units may not be accurate at all times in the area; watch for road signs and consult a park map for reliable travel information.
Preparing for Your Visit
Temperatures in the park range from 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, but weather conditions can change depending on the season. During the summer, you may experience a moist fog, while you’ll find more precipitation and cooler temperatures in winter. Before you go, you can check the current conditions.
Whenever you go, it’s wise to prepare for a variety of weather conditions. Plan to dress in layers that you can add or remove depending on the current temperature and your exertion level, and bring along rain gear.
In addition, be sure to wear comfortable, sturdy boots or walking shoes if you plan to hike the park. Non-slip soles are important, as the forest can be slick during rainy periods.
Getting the Most from a Hike
While workouts in a gym can sometimes get a little boring, hikes can be different each time. At Redwood National Park, you can enjoy beautiful scenery to motivate you as you get some fresh air and exercise.
Just about any type of exercise — including hiking — can relieve stress and help with problems like insomnia and mental health challenges. When you hike outdoors, you also benefit from getting in touch with nature, which may increase your feelings of happiness and fulfillment. You may also feel a sense of accomplishment when you push yourself to complete a hike.
Hiking can provide a number of additional benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, increasing bone density, building muscle strength and improving balance. It can also be an effective way to help control weight and can help lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
To get the most from your hike, start slow if you’re a beginner. For more advanced exercisers, consider using poles to propel yourself forward and create a more challenging workout. For maximum safety, take along a friend who can assist with navigation and call for help if you’re injured.
Cycling for Fun and Fitness
Riding a bike is another great way to enjoy Redwood National Park and get some fresh air as you get your blood pumping. Even on a leisurely bike ride, you may burn nearly 300 calories an hour.
Despite its calorie-burning capacity, riding a bike is much gentler on the knees, ankles and legs than running, and it works your leg muscles with minimal force. Research also has found that cycling appears to reduce stress; in one study, people who commuted by bike experienced less stress than those commuting by car.
To maximize your riding time in Redwood National Park, make sure your bike fits your body properly; a bike that’s too big can cause problems for your neck and back. Seats and handlebars that are too low or too high can cause injuries, so consider stopping by a bike shop for an assessment and adjustment.
On the parkway, be sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes that won’t get caught in spokes, and always wear your helmet.
Whether you prefer hiking or biking, you can look forward to your weekend getaway to Redwood National Park. It’s just one of the many attractions located near Lake Park. From our campus in downtown Oakland, California, you can access convenient transportation options to get to numerous cultural and recreational venues, shopping, dining, sightseeing and more. To schedule your visit, please contact us today.