Did this hike on 5-3-18, nice starter trail to see huge redwoods. You do need a free permit that you can get at the visitor centers. This will give you the code to the gate, that is changed daily. You can search out Hyperion, tallest tree in the world. If you do you must cross the stream at the bottom of the trail. ****A word of caution****** if the stream is above knee high it can get sketchy real quick. Plus if you get across following Tom McDonald Creek is tough because it gets deep with no way around. I am 6' and in excellent physical shape and it was all I could do to hold my footing in the rushing water when it got thigh deep, not to mention the water was very cold in May and the river rocks can be like walking on marbles. Good luck and enjoy!