Redwood National Park was created to protect the tallest trees on earth, the coast redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens. Old growth forests here contain many trees over 300 feet (100 meters) tall, and 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter. The park stretches for 45 miles (70 kilometers) along the far northern coast of California, containing not only redwood forest but also meadows (prairies), coastal bluffs, and beaches.
Included within the national park are three superlative state parks, created with private funds raised by the Save-the-Redwoods League beginning in 1918. This trail, leading in 3.5 miles to a particularly massive redwood known as the Boy Scout Tree, is in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
The understory here consists primarily of sword ferns and lady ferns, with scattered hazelnut, vine maple, huckleberry, and rhododendron. In addition to the redwoods there are huge Douglas fir, grand fir, Sitka spruce and western hemlock trees. Annual rainfall exceeds 100 inches (250 cm), almost entirely in the winter. In summer heavy fog rolls in from the ocean most days, keeping the forest cool and green. Wildlife, though seldom seen, abounds, and includes black bear, mountain lion, and the majestic Roosevelt elk.