Best social distancing camping ever

As Californians weary of Covid resort to camping to break up the monotony and social distance in nature, one little known location stands out as one of the most remote, beautiful and least crowded spots.

Redwood National Park allows hikers to access the Tall Trees Grove, an old growth forest with record-sized arboreal towers, through a limited number of permits. During Covid restrictions, 50 are available each day and must be obtained online.

While some national park services are limited at this time, most of the park remains open, including the grove. Besides getting a free hike permit, nature lovers can get a free permit to backcountry camp near the grove along Redwood Creek, whose watershed protects most of the world’s ten tallest trees, including Hyperion, the record-holding king at 380 feet, or six stories taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Set aside at least four total hours for a Tall Trees trek, which is about a 45-minute drive from Orick on Bald Hills Road and an unpaved access road, then a steep hike for 1.3 miles down a winding trail. The reward is worth it, a mystical, rarely visited grove with super redwood giants, including the Libby Tree, a former record holder whose discovery lead to the creation of the park in the late 1960s.

Fortunately, given the vast expanses and limited permits, hikers and campers can expect to social distance with ease. And Covid or no, camping along the sandy banks of Redwood Creek, allowed during the dry season, offers an unrivaled forest experience in California national parks.

To reserve your free hike or camping permit for Tall Trees Grove or Redwood Creek, go to the RNP website here:

Check at least 48 hours in advance of your trip, and make sure a permit is available for the date or dates of travel. Permits won’t be issued more than a week in advance.

For those seeking other nature overnights, additional primitive campsites are open too. Check the link above for more. Or sleep in a public campground in nearby Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, with running water, bathrooms and hot showers, for a nominal fee. To make a reservation, visit or call 800-444-7275.

(Photo Courtesy Lanewood Studio.)