Hiking the Coastal Trail to Enderts Beach was our first stop when we arrived in Redwood National and State Park. At more than 70 miles long and almost continuous throughout the length of the park, it’s one of the most popular hikes in the Redwoods. Well-known for it’s versatility (many sections along the bluff are easy, flat terrain) and the terrific wildlife viewing, the Coastal Trail should be on everyone’s Redwood hiking list.
Most people approach the Coastal Trail in sections. Today we’re re-capping a popular section of the trail, hiking from the Crescent Beach area down to Enderts Beach. We loved this section of trail because it has plenty of parking at the trailhead, good chances to see wildlife, and the perfect spot for a classic California sunset.
Planning Your Visit
The trailhead to Enderts Beach can be found at the Crescent Beach picnic area.
From the south, travel through Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park on US Hwy 101. Follow the signs off US Hwy 101 for Enderts Beach Road, turning left at the Crescent Beach Overlook. From the north, travel away from Crescent City south along Hwy 101. Turn right onto Enderts Beach Road and continue to the end of the road.
At the end of Enderts Beach Road, you’ll reach a large turn-around parking area where the trailhead begins.
The Best Times to Hike
The Coastal Trail is very popular among visitors to Redwoods National and State Parks. We recommend hiking early or later in the day to avoid the largest crowds. Seasonally, sections of the trail can be impacted by landslides and wet weather. Check in with a ranger or watch trail signs about sections that may be closed.
Checking Enderts Beach Tide Schedule
If there’s some flexibility in when you plan a hike to Enderts Beach, consider checking the tide schedule before you go. At low or minus tides the shallow rocky shoreline on the north end of the beach offers a safe place to explore the famous Redwoods marine life. The park service frequently holds ranger-led tide pool explorations here as well.
Remember, it’s illegal to disturb marine life in Redwoods National and State parks. If you pick up an invertebrate, place it exactly where you found it. Better yet, let it be!
Tide schedules are available online and at every visitor’s center in the park.
Before you head down the trailhead, stop to gaze out on the diverse Pacific coastline at Crescent Beach. Watch closely for some of the coastal birds that call Redwoods home. The first section of the trail is relatively flat, as it travels down the old Gold Coast Highway road grade.
From there, the trail will gradually continue down towards the Enderts Beach route. You wont find many coastal Redwoods here, the open landscape instead giving way to some large Sitka spruce.
Near the beach, the trail will leave the woods and arrive at a T-juncture. A sign will indicate to turn right to descend down the beach trail. Continue straight and you’ll travel up and further along the Coastal Trail. This next part of the Coastal Trail is called the Last Chance Section and leads to the Damnation Creek Trail, one of the most famous hiking trails in the park.
As you continue down the beach trail, it will open up to a wide, crescent shaped beach. Explore both north and south from the trail opening on this sandy coastline.
After spending time on the beach, return the 1 mile back to the Crescent Beach picnic area on the same route (all uphill now).
Other Trail Notes
- As mentioned earlier, Enderts Beach ranks high on the list of popular places to catch a Redwood’s sunset. At just over a mile of easy hiking back to the car, just be sure to pack a headlamp for your journey back.
- Roosevelt elk frequent the prairie areas near the beach trail. Be sure to watch carefully for elk as the vegetation can be overgrown in this area. Never approach elk as they can be aggressive if threatened. Check out our “3 Best Places to See Wildlife in Redwoods” post for more places to see elk in the park.
- The Nickle Creek back country campground used to be available on this section of the Coastal Trail, but has since been closed due to landslides. The Mill Creek Campground and Jedediah Smith Campground are good choices for places to stay near this hike.