Redwood National Park

State: California

Established: October 2, 1968

Area: 131, 983 acres, including 3 state parks

History of Redwood National Park:

In 1850, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2,000,000 acres (8,100 km2) of the California coast. The northern portion of that area, originally inhabited by Native Americans, attracted many lumbermen and others turned gold miners when a minor gold rush brought them to the region. Failing in efforts to strike it rich in gold, these men turned toward harvesting the giant trees for booming development in San Francisco and other places on the West Coast. After many decades of unrestricted clear-cut logging, serious efforts toward conservation began. By the 1920s the work of the Save-the-Redwoods League, founded in 1918 to preserve remaining old-growth redwoods, resulted in the establishment of Prairie Creek, Del Norte Coast, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks among others. Redwood National Park was created in 1968, by which time nearly 90% of the original redwood trees had been logged.

The park preserves the remnants of a forest that once covered two million acres and, at the turn of 20th century, was badly threatened by logging. The state of California and the Save the Redwoods League came to the rescue by acquiring hundreds of groves and protecting them within 26 state parks. The four parks, together, protect 45% of all remaining coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) old-growth forests. These trees are the tallest and one of the most massive tree species on Earth.

How to get to Redwood National Park:

Tree-lined US 101, the Redwood Highway, runs the length of the park. From the south, take US 101 to the Thomas H.Kuchel Visitor Centre near Orick, about 40 miles north of Eureka. From the north, enter through Crescent City, also an information centre site. From the east, take US 199, another redwood-flanked highway, to Hiouchi. Airports: Arcata and Crescent City.

When to go to Redwood National Park:

Year-round. Summer draws highway-clogging crowds, so think about a visit in spring or fall. In both seasons, bird migrations enhance the redwood groves. Rhododendrons burst forth in late spring; deciduous trees add color in fall. Rains, welcome to the redwoods but not to visitors, drench the park in winter.

Hiking trails in Redwood National Park:

Hiking Trails – North

Leiffer-Ellsworth Loop Trail

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Walker Road, 0.4 miles from Hwy 199 junction.
  • Mileage: 2.6-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Non-level, some grades, not steep
  • Description: Take a step back in time on a trail that travels along a section of the 19th-century Crescent City Plank Road before descending into a canyon filled with hazel and vine maple. During the spring, clintonia, western burning bush, thimbleberry, red huckleberry, and western trillium color the trail, while California bay and tanoak wave overhead. Old-growth redwoods tower above, illustrating the many levels found in a climax forest.

 

Simpson-Reed Trail

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Exit Walker Road off U.S. 199 and proceed north ~.1 mile to marked trailhead on right (east) side of road.
  • Mileage: 1-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Easy, level (Rated: barrier free)
  • Description: Enter an ancient forest where 1,000-year-old redwoods form a towering canopy over a mixture of hardwood trees, shrubs, and ferns. Every old-growth forest has its own distinctive characteristics. This grove includes a lush stream corridor where fallen trees lie randomly in the water, forming staircases and pools that support fish and insects. Other fallen giants nurse new life on the forest floor as hemlock trees, huckleberries, and ferns sprout among their decaying trunks and branches. The damp shade of the forest creates ideal conditions for red-legged frogs, rough-skinned newts, and other amphibians that depend on the tree to provide moisture through the dry summer, assuring a home for a class of animals that are in decline.

 

Hatton Trail

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is on south side of Hwy 199, across from Simpson-Reed trailhead.
  • Mileage: 0.3
  • Difficulty Level: Non-level, some grades, not steep.
  • Description: This short connector trail provides access to the Hatton-Hiouchi Trail. An easy loop leads through the moist forest undergrowth before branching off onto the Hiouchi Trail.

 

Hatton-Hiouchi Trail

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Accessed via forks on Hiouchi Trail or Hatton Trail
  • Mileage: 1.2
  • Difficulty Level: Non-level, some grades, not steep
  • Description: After an initial climb up the ridge, this moderate hike winds through undisturbed redwood forest before dropping down to river level to join up with the Hiouchi Trail. Highway sounds are muffled by the dense forest cover, while occasional breaks in the canopy allow trailside flowers to flourish.

 

Hiouchi Trail

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is just before west end of Hiouchi Bridge on Hwy 199. Summer seasonal footbridge allows access from Jedediah Smith Campground. Trail can also be accessed via Hatton Trail off Hwy 199.
  • Mileage: 2
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep.
  • Description: A delightful hike along the pristine turquoise Smith River, this trail provides views of both riparian (near-stream) forest and old-growth redwoods. California bay, tanoak, Douglas-fir, and Pacific madrone abound, while salal, huckleberry, and thimbleberry draw in wildlife during the late summer and fall months. A moderate grade and spectacular views make this trail a favorite among visitors and rangers alike.

River Trail

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Howland Hill Road, across from Little Bald Hills Trail access road.
  • Mileage: 1
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some non-level grades
  • Description: Walk along the last major undammed river system in California. During the summer, serpentine waters flow beside an old-growth redwood forest and provide excellent habitat for chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

 

Little Bald Hills Trail (bikes and horses allowed)

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is on the east end of Howland Hill Road.
  • Mileage: 3.3 to primitive campsite and 4.8 to park boundary. From there, an additional 5 miles on the Paradise Flat Trail (Smith River National Recreation Area) to South Fork Road.
  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous, steep grades and switchbacks, 1,800 foot rise in elevation.
  • Description: As you traverse this old pack trail, you will climb through changing habitats that exist nowhere else in the parks, each featuring a different mix of trees, plants, and flowers. The soil nourishing each blend of vegetation is derived from four distinctive rock formations. At the beginning of the trail, a fern-filled redwood forest thrives in sedimentary soil from an ancient sea floor. Higher up, as the underlying rock changes to mottled green and black serpentine, Port-Orford-cedar, Douglas-fir, and coffeeberry flourish. Farther along, red clay sustains a knobcone pine forest mixed with huckleberry and azalea. Atop the ridge, open prairies and shrub fields, dotted with beargrass and hairy manzanita, spread across the white acidic soils. Backcountry camp exists at 3.3 miles in.

 

Stout Memorial Grove

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Paved access road is on east end of Howland Hill Road. Summer seasonal bridge allows access from Jedediah Smith Campground.
  • Mileage: 0.5-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: After the initial descent from the parking lot, the trail is easy and flat.
  • Description: Stout Grove, a majestic example of an ancient coast redwood forest, is often considered to be the heart of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. In 1929, Mrs. Clara Stout donated this 44-acre grove to the Save-the-Redwoods League to save it from being logged and to memorialize her husband, lumber baron Frank D. Stout. A walk along this loop trail reveals colossal redwoods thriving in rich soil deposited during periodic flooding of the Smith River. Here, waist-high sword ferns carpet the forest floor and normally flared tree bases stop short, covered in river soils. Flood waters inhibit the growth of understory trees and plants seen in other groves, leaving the 300-foot redwoods on display. A short spur trail leads you to the serpentine waters of the Smith River.

 

Mill Creek Trail

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: East trailhead can be accessed via summer seasonal footbridge from Jedediah Smith Campground. West trailhead is midway up Howland Hill Road.
  • Mileage: 2.6
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades. Not steep.
  • Description: This half-day hike wanders through an old-growth redwood forest. Mill Creek is a crystal stream bordered by thick forest that provides excellent habitat for coho and Chinook salmon, as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout. From October through December, vine and big-leaf maples display crimson and golden colors, and berries are available for the taking (one gallon per person per day). This trail allows easy access for fishing, photography, and identification of many plants endemic to the redwood forest community.

 

Boy Scout Tree Trail

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead and parking area is on north side of Howland Hill Road.
  • Mileage: 2.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks.
  • Description: Allow at least half a day to enjoy this outstanding trail, which leads you deep into the old-growth forest before concluding at Fern Falls. Slight changes in elevation give a different perspective on the redwoods and allow a peek into the dense canopy. At 2½ miles from the trailhead, an unmarked but prevalent spur trail leads up to the Boy Scout Tree (a double redwood), so named because of its discovery by a local troop leader.

Nickerson Ranch Trail

  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off west end of Howland Hill Road.
  • Mileage: 1
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some non-level grades
  • Description: This moderate trail provides stellar examples of primeval redwood forest, and illustrates the change in vegetation as you approach Mill Creek. The relationship between forest and stream is evident, and in several places you can observe where large fallen redwoods provide habitat for young fish in the creek.

 

Mill Creek Horse Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is on Bertsch Avenue off west end of Howland Hill Road. Partial closure in winter to protect salmon spawning habitat. See link below.
  • Mileage: 7.75
  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous, numerous steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: As you ride up the ridge to overlook scenic views of Crescent City and Crescent Beach, evidence of past logging practices gives a glimpse into area history. This is a relatively steep trail that passes through areas of red alder and second-growth redwood forest. Due to the numerous stream crossings along the trail, part of it is closed during the winter to protect coho and Chinook salmon spawning grounds in Mill Creek (an alternate route is available).

 

Rellim Ridge Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: South trailhead is just beyond gate on Hamilton Road. North trailhead is at locked gate approximately 0.2 miles beyond end of pavement on west end of Howland Hill Road. Rellim Ridge merges with Mill Creek Horse Trail.
  • Mileage: 4.3
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: A strenuous climb up the thickly forested ridge reveals private vista points overlooking Crescent City harbor and beyond, while alder, spruce, and young Douglas-fir mix with maple and tanoak to provide breathtaking scenery along the trail. This trail is named for the Miller-Rellim timber company, which was a mainstay of the local economy in the early to mid-1800s.

 

Enderts Beach – take Coastal Trail, Last Chance section

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at the end of Enderts Beach Road off Hwy 101.
  • Mileage:0.6
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades.
  • Description: Spectacular tidepools reward you at the end of this short hike. (Check at the trailhead bulletin board or at the visitor center for low tide times). Interpretive signs along the trail provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about (1) coastal forest plants and their unique adaptations to their harsh environment and (2) tidepool creatures. Part of the trail encompasses the old coast highway that existed before the construction of present-day Highway 101.

 

Mill Creek Campground Trail

  • Location: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Adjacent to entrance road at Mill Creek Campground
  • Mileage: 0.7
  • Difficulty Level: Easy, flat
  • Description: An easy walk and excellent introduction to the camping area, this trail is appropriate for children and allows easy access to Mill Creek for stream exploration and birdwatching.

 

Hobbs-Wall Trail

  • Location: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Mill Creek Campground access road. Trail can also be accessed via Nature Loop trail or Saddler Skyline trail.
  • Mileage: 3.75
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep.
  • Description: A truly historic trail, this route is named for the primary company of the Del Norte timber industry during the late 1860s. Today, travel through an ancient redwood forest with gigantic coast redwoods. As you hike down to the entrance station, the forest turns into second-growth redwoods. Check out the difference in size and make up of plants.

 

Nature Loop Trail

  • Location: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is across from Mill Creek Campground entrance station.
  • Mileage: 1-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Non-level, some steep grades
  • Description: This easy 20-minute stroll allows visitors to learn about the redwood forest through interpretive signs along the path. In addition to coast redwoods, muscular madrone, birch-like alder, erect tanoak, and wispy vine maple attract your attention.

 

Saddler Skyline Trail

  • Location: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is between campsites 7 and 8 in the Mill Creek Campground. Trail can also be accessed via Nature Loop Trail or Hobbs-Wall Trail.
  • Mileage: 1.5
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: Like the other trails surrounding the Mill Creek seasonal campground, this route is filled with thimbleberry, huckleberry, redwood sorrel, wild ginger, false Solomon’s seal, and California blackberry; all of which draw in numerous birds and small wildlife such as gray squirrels and red foxes.

 

Trestle Loop Trail

  • Location: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is across from campfire center in Mill Creek Campground.
  • Mileage: 1-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Non-level, some steep grades
  • Description: Follow the trestles of a long-ago railroad route along Mill Creek through second-growth redwood, spruce, maple, and alder forest. Harvest berries (limit one gallon per person per day) and watch a multitude of birds along the way. The bird that sounds like a short train whistle is the varied thrush.

 

Alder Basin Trail

  • Location: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Accessed via Mill Creek Campground Trail, across from Mill Creek Campground entrance off Hwy 101
  • Mileage: 1
  • Difficulty Level: Easy, flat
  • Description: This creekside stroll offers children and adults numerous opportunities to spot small wildlife, aquatic insects, salamanders, and juvenile fish in Mill Creek. Walk beside red alder, vine maple, and willow, classic streamside (riparian) vegetation bending to the breeze.

 

Damnation Creek Trail

  • Location:Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead:Milepost 16.0 on Hwy 101
  • Mileage: 2.2
  • Difficulty Level:Strenuous, numerous steep grades and switchbacks. Trail drops 1,000 feet (16 percent grade)
  • Description: Experience the ancient redwood forest and the jagged Pacific coastline. This steep trail descends 1,000 feet (330 m) through the forest where canopy branches look like treetop arms holding thousand of plants. In the past, Tolowa Indians used the tidepools at the ocean for food gathering. Arrive at low tide and carefully make your way to the beach from the bluff. Remember our motto for tidepool creatures, observe but do not disturb.

 

Yurok Loop Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is on north side of Lagoon Creek picnic area parking lot.
  • Mileage: 1-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Non-level, some grades, not steep.
  • Description: Explore the coastal environment along this easy trail and take in views of False Klamath Cove and Lagoon Creek. An excellent route for children, the Yurok Loop encompasses stellar examples of coastal scrub forest plants, which include Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir, cow parsnip, wild cucumber, coltsfoot, yarrow, and many varieties of berries. Take binoculars to view seabirds (cormorants, pigeon guillemots, brown pelicans, and common murres) on the seastacks (big rocks left behind by erosion).

 

Hiking Trails – South

Carruthers Cove Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Coastal Drive, approximately 1 mile from the junction with Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. Trail can also be accessed via the Coastal Trail at low tide.
  • Mileage: 0.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: Follow an old skid road through alders and berries down to the beach, and watch for herds of elk and flocks of birds along the way. This trail is named for a previous landowner who was at one time the publisher of the Eureka newspaper.

 

Ah-Pah Interpretive Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is on east side of Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, at mile marker 133.50.
  • Mileage: 0.3
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: Witness the astounding results of post-logging road removal and hillslope rehabilitation along this converted trail. Deconstruction of the road is documented in trailside exhibits, which portray what the land looked like prior to revegetation and slope recontouring. Great for young children.

 

Ossagon Trail (bikes allowed)

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off west side of the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, at mile marker 132.74. Trail can also be accessed via the Coastal Trail.
  • Mileage: 1.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: Hike or bike an old road through dense second-growth forest to a secluded stretch of beach.

 

Ten Taypo-Hope Creek Loop Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off east side of Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, opposite Ossagon Creek trailhead (mile marker 132.74).
  • Mileage: 4-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: This moderate loop follows a creek through streamside habitat and stately old-growth redwood forest up to a broad ridge. Fern laden trail has some colossal redwoods that are burned half-way through, yet still stand tall—a testament to their strength.

 

Friendship Ridge Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off West Ridge Trail. Trail can also be accessed via James Irvine Trail and Fern Canyon Loop Trail.
  • Mileage: 3
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: Elk are regularly seen along this trail, which drops out of high slope redwood forest down to nearly sea level. When connected with the James Irvine and West Ridge Trails, this route offers 12.5 miles of old-growth redwoods and far-reaching coastal views.

 

Rhododendron Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off east side of Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, at mile marker 130.54. Trail can also be accessed via the Brown Creek Trail, South Fork Trail, Cal Barrel Road, CREA Trail, or Cathedral Trees Trail.
  • Mileage: 6.3
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: During mid-spring and early summer, bright pink and red blooms give this trail its name and offer a delightful contrast to the varying shades of green found in the accompanying trees, shrubs, grasses, and herbs. Favorable lighting lends itself to beautiful prints and paintings of the landscape, making this trail a top pick among photographers and artists.

 

Fern Canyon Loop Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at Fern Canyon parking area off Davison Road. Trail can also be accessed via James Irvine Trail, Coastal Trail, and Friendship Ridge Trail.
  • Mileage: 0.7-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Non-level grades, not steep. Some trees to climb over or go under
  • Description: Some of the exquisite ferns now clinging to Fern Canyon’s shadowy 30-foot cliffs are ancient species whose ancestry can be traced back 325 million years. Look for velvety five-fingered ferns, dark green sword ferns, and delicate lady ferns. Scouring winter floods periodically rush through the canyon. Seasonal bridges only exist is the summer season.

 

Brown Creek Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Rhododendron Trail, 3.1 miles from north trailhead. Trail can also be accessed via South Fork Trail and Foothill Trail.
  • Mileage: 1.2
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: Compare firsthand the differences between riparian (streamside) vegetation and old-growth redwood/Douglas-fir forest. Brown Creek is a tributary of Prairie Creek, which provides important habitat for salmon and trout populations native to the parks.

 

South Fork Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway at mile marker 129.00, opposite Prairie Creek trailhead. Trail can also be accessed via Brown Creek Trail, Foothill Trail, and Rhododendron Trail.
  • Mileage: 0.9
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: Like many of the trails in the Prairie Creek area, this short route travels up a steep ridge though pristine old-growth redwood forest. Various length loops are possible when this trail is combined with the Brown Creek, Rhododendron, and Cathedral Trees Trails.

 

Prairie Creek Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked south trailhead is off west side of the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, opposite the Cathedral Trees trailhead. Trail can also be accessed via Zig Zag #2 Trail, Zig Zag #1 Trail, Foothill Trail, Cathedral Trees Trail, and the Elk Prairie Trail.
  • Mileage: 4
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: Hike along crystal-clear Prairie Creek and watch for spawning salmon and steelhead during the winter and early spring months. There are many breathtaking views of slope redwood forest. A short spur trail leads past the Corkscrew Tree, an excellent example of a “fairy ring”—a single tree with numerous trunk reiterations.

 

Clintonia Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Miners Ridge Trail. Trail can also be accessed via James Irvine Trail.
  • Mileage: 1
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: So named for its bright seasonal display of fuchsia blooms, this popular trail is moderate in length and difficulty, and provides access into a narrow and secluded valley filled with dense fern and shrub undergrowth. The route connects the James Irvine and Miners Ridge Trails, giving the day hiker a memorable experience and many excellent photographic opportunities.

 

Circle Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is in Big Tree Wayside parking area, at mile marker 127.96 on the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. Trail can also be accessed via Foothill Trail and Cathedral Trees Trail.
  • Mileage: 0.3
  • Difficulty Level: Easy, level
  • Description: For the time-pressed visitor, this trail offers a great opportunity to enter the redwood forest and experience the lush environment without taking up a large part of the day. It provides easy access to the Big Tree, one of the largest trees in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

Foothill Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Cal Barrel Road, approximately 0.25 mile from junction with Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. Trail can also be accessed via the Cathedral Trees Trail, South Fork Trail, and Brown Creek Trail.
  • Mileage: 2.2
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: The level grade and moderate length of this premiere trail through magnificent old growth makes it perfect for families looking for a way to spend a few hours in the redwoods. Its proximity to the Elk Prairie Campground and link with the Elk Prairie Trail makes walking to the trailhead easy for all ages.

 

West Ridge Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Trail can also be accessed via Zig Zag Trail #1 and #2, Cathedral Trees Trail, and the Butler Creek Trail.
  • Mileage: 7
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks.
  • Description: Travel nearly the entire length of the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway along this moderately strenuous trail through breathtaking old-growth redwoods. Two backpacking routes are possible by taking the Ossagon or Miners Ridge Trails to designated camps. Link with the James Irvine and Friendship Ridge Trails for a 12.5 mile loop.

 

James Irvine Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Trail can also be accessed via Fern Canyon Loop Trail, Gold Bluffs Beach, and Clintonia Trail.
  • Mileage: 4.2
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: The quintessential redwood trail, this moderate hike travels along Godwood Creek through majestic forests to end at the world-famous Fern Canyon and Home Creek. You will easily spend 4-5 hours traveling through the enormous old-growth trees that line this historic access route to Gold Bluffs Beach mines and camps. After arriving at Fern Canyon, continue on the Coastal Trail, Gold Bluffs Beach section and link up with Miners Ridge for a strenuous return trip.

 

Miners Ridge Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Trail can also be accessed via Davison Road, across from the Gold Bluffs Beach Campground.
  • Mileage: 4.1
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: This trail follows the route used by gold miners in the mid-1800s. It follows a ridgeline that allows the heart to pump, and offers breathtaking views of coastal forest and steep ocean bluffs.

 

Revelation Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is outside Prairie Creek Visitor Center.
  • Mileage: 0.3
  • Difficulty Level: Easy, level
  • Description: Developed specifically for the visually impaired, this trail encourages you to engage all of your senses to more fully experience the redwood forest. You can touch the rough bark of a redwood and then compare it to the soft feel of a moss-covered fir or spruce, while sounds of the creek murmur in the background. The sharp aroma of California bay and tart taste of redwood sorrel allow for a more complete understanding of the ecosystem.

 

Cathedral Trees Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is in the Big Tree Wayside parking area. Trail can also be accessed via Elk Prairie Trail and Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, across from Prairie Creek Visitor Center.
  • Mileage: 1.4
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Description: This short walk gives access to some of the largest trees in the Prairie Creek area. Many cathedral trees, or a family group of trees, tower on the slopes. Walk past fallen mother trees that have become nursery logs for a vast array of trees and ferns. A great trail for children because of its gentle grade and many trailside herbs and berries.

Elk Prairie Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is in Elk Prairie Campground. Trail can also be accessed via the Cathedral Trees Trail.
  • Mileage: 2.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: Meander through one of the most heavily populated Roosevelt elk areas in the parks, and get an up-close look of these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Evidence of antler rubbing and browsing is obvious on numerous trees along the trail.

 

Davison Trail (bikes allowed)

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is in Elk Meadow Day Use Area. Trail can also be accessed via Streelow Creek and at the south end of Elk Prairie on Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
  • Mileage: 3
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: Davison Hike/Bike Trail follows a former logging road that once led to a lumber mill and log deck. The National Park Service purchased this land in 1996 and launched a massive project to restore the landscape. Trails now pass wetlands, hills, and streams that are slowly returning to healthy conditions. Hikers and bikers can observe spawning salmon, stalking herons, and migrating songbirds in the recovering wetlands and forests. The route winds through stately stands of redwoods and thick groves of streamside alder trees. Trails also lead to Lost Man Creek, Trillium Falls (no bicycles), and past Elk Prairie to the Prairie Creek Visitor Center.

Streelow Creek Trail (bikes allowed)

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Davison Road, approximately 1.5 miles from turnoff on Hwy 101. Trail can also be accessed via Davison Trail.
  • Mileage: 2.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: An easy trip through second-growth redwood and red alder forest, this bike route connects with Davison Road and the Davison Trail for a more challenging ride up Prairie Creek and past prime elk grazing habitat.

 

Lost Man Creek Trail (bikes allowed)

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at Lost Man Creek Picnic Area on Lost Man Creek Road. Trail can also be accessed via Bald Hills Road.
  • Mileage: 10
  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous, numerous steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: Ancient redwoods reach dizzying heights along this former logging road. Winding through a stream valley, the trail crosses a wide bridge that spans Lost Man Creek, offering glimpses of rock pools and lush streambanks below. Here five-finger ferns, wild ginger, and deer ferns thrive beneath the redwoods and tanoaks. At a second bridge, a cliffside collection of thimbleberry and California hazel receives filtered light through the tall trees. In spring, velvet white trilliums and salmonberry clusters dot the edges of the path. As the trail rises up a steep incline to the Bald Hills Road junction, it crosses a tributary and passes through a second-growth redwood forest.
  • Special Note: Approximately 2 miles from the trailhead off Hwy 101, there is a moderate stream crossing. Please use caution when fording the stream.

 

Trillium Falls Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: 3 miles north of Orick, CA on U.S.101, turn onto Davison Road and continue 1/2 mile to Elk Meadow Day Use Area (on your left). Look for marked trailhead
  • Mileage: 2.5 mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: The trail leads you through the misty hallways of an ancient redwood home. Along the path, families of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce reside under the shade of the world’s tallest trees. The forest floor creates a moist sanctuary for red tree voles, Pacific giant salamanders, and banana slugs. Along the creek, scattered patches of silky white trillium bloom in the spring. Near the waterfall (a 10-foot cascade over deep green, moss-covered rocks), the heavy, sloping limbs of big-leaf maple reach out in every direction.

 

Berry Glen Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: 3 miles north of Orick, CA on U.S. 101, turn onto Davison Road and continue 1/2 mile to Elk Meadow Day Use Area (on your left). Look for marked trailhead
  • Mileage: 3.5 miles one way, to Ladybird Johnson Grove Trail
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous (1200 foot climb to Ladybird)
  • Description: This trail is the latest addition to Redwood National and State Parks‘ extensive trail system. Following portions of the original Bald Hills Road, hikers follow in the footsteps of native Yuroks, gold seekers, and United States presidents through magnificent old-growth redwoods. The trail starts near Berry Glen, where the Batrel family established a small Depression-era store and fruit stand known well to early travelers for their delicious homemade berry pies.

 

Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Bald Hills Road, approximately 2 miles from Hwy 101 turnoff.
  • Mileage: 1-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Easy, level
  • Description: Situated around the dedication site of Redwood National Park, this moderate walk winds through stands of old-growth redwood, Douglas-fir, and tanoak. A brochure at the trailhead corresponds to marked posts along the trail and guides you along this historically significant route. In spring, rhododendrons and azaleas abound, and during the autumn months, vine and big-leaf maple reveal their bold colors.

 

Redwood Creek Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Bald Hills Road. Trail can also be accessed via Tall Trees Grove Trail and Dolason Prairie Trail.
  • Mileage: 8 to Tall Trees Grove Trail, and an additional 6 to Dolason Prairie Trail
  • Difficulty Level: Redwood Creek Trail is moderate; the hike to Dolason Prairie is all up hill, strenuous.
  • Description: For thousands of years, giant redwoods, big-leaf maples, and other moisture-loving plants have flourished in this cool, wind-protected stream valley leading to the Tall Trees Grove. The trees have been sustained by nutrients in the rich soils along the creek. Beginning in the early 1950s, large-scale timber harvesting and road building on the surrounding hillslopes caused extensive erosion and landsliding in the Redwood Creek watershed during floods. One storm in 1964 sent 20 feet of sediment into the creek channel near the headwaters, threatening tall trees, plants, and animals. As the slug of sediment slowly moves from the headwaters to the river mouth, Redwood Creek is beginning to recover, though it may take decades for park staff and nature to complete the restoration process.
  • Winter Hiking:(December – May) Redwood Creek runs high and fast during the winter. Foot bridges across the creek have been removed until the summer season. There are no gravel bars available for camping. Check at the visitor centers before planning your trip for current conditions.

 

McArthur Creek Loop (Horses allowed)

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Orick Rodeo Grounds
  • Mileage: 14
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades with switchbacks
  • Description: Equestrians will find several days worth of riding within the parks with this series of trails (McArthur-Elam Camp-44 Camp) that include backcountry sites at Elam and 44-camps. Capture views of the ocean and Orick Valley as the McArthur Trail climbs up the ridge and enters the forest.

Elam Loop and Horse Camp

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Orick Rodeo Grounds
  • Mileage: 20
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades with switchbacks
  • Description: Orick Horse Trail is a system of trails that runs along the ridges southeast of Orick. The trail lands midway at Elam Creek. Hikers and horse riders can camp in the backcountry at this site near a lush creek, surrounded by redwoods and injected with solitude.

 

44 Loop and Horse Camp

(Closed to horses, open to hikers)

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Orick Rodeo Grounds
  • Mileage: 32
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades with switchbacks
  • Description: Experience all the forest has to offer: old-and second-growth trees with banana slugs, evergreen huckleberry, salal, and wild ginger on the side.

 

Emerald Ridge Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Take Tall Trees Trail for 1/4 mile to the Emerald Ridge Trail junction; can also be accessed via Dolason Prairie Trail or Redwood Creek.
  • Mileage: 2.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: As you descend 580 feet through dense old-growth forest to Redwood Creek, you will pass through an area narrowly saved from logging in the late 1960s. Follow the streambed (only in summer during low water) for 1.5 miles and hook up with the Tall Trees Trail. Climb out of the redwoods for a 4.3 mile loop.

 

Tall Trees Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: U.S. Highway 101 to Bald Hills Road (about 1/2 mile north of Orick, Calif.). Turn right and follow signs to the Redwood Creek Trailhead parking area.
  • Mileage: About 16 miles, round-trip via Redwood Creek Trail.
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, 50-100 feet of elevation.
  • Description: Visitors should plan to spend 8 hours or more hiking round trip to the Tall Trees Grove. See description for Redwood Creek Trail.

 

Dolason Prairie Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Bald Hills Road, approximately 11 miles from turnoff on Hwy 101. Trail can also be accessed via Tall Trees Grove Trail and Redwood Creek Trail.
  • Mileage: 5.9
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: The wide-open spaces of Dolason Prairie offer a hike unlike any in the redwood forest. Meandering across meadows and through oak woodlands, this trail passes a picturesque structure left from a large sheep-herding ranch that operated in this area for almost a century. Red-tailed hawks circle overhead. Black-tailed deer browse the fine prairie grasses, serving as prey for mountain lion. Along the way, hikers have panoramic views of Rodgers Peak, which was clear-cut by timber harvesters during the 1960s and 1970s. The path descends into an old-growth redwood forest flourishing in a deep gorge along Emerald Creek.

 

Lyons Ranch Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Bald Hills Road, approximately 17 miles from turnoff on Hwy 101.
  • Mileage: 2
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: Chilula, Hupa, and Yurok Indians sustained themselves on these grassy hillsides for thousands of years. They deliberately burned the oak woodlands to enhance the growth of acorns, berries, and grasses that they used for food, baskets, netting, and string. When settlers moved into the area, they established sheep ranches, where prize-winning flocks thrived on grasses created by the Indians’ prescribed burns. Jonathan Lyons, who married Hupa Indian Amelia Misket, adopted many of her family’s practices and used them to improve his large ranching operation.

 

Coastal Trail sections

Crescent Beach Section

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Crescent Beach picnic area on Enderts Beach Road off Hwy 101.
  • Mileage: 3.5
  • Difficulty Level: Easy, flat
  • Description: This is a flat, meandering, kid-friendly trail that leads to a pleasant stretch of beach, perfect for beachcombing or an extended walk. Colossal Sitka spruce highlight the walk, and Roosevelt elk regularly graze in the open prairie areas adjacent to the beach. Please remember that elk are wild and can get defensive if threatened.

Last Chance Section (bikes allowed – on trail only, not at the beach)

Location: Redwood National Park and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. All trees blocking the trail have been cleared.

  • Trailhead: Marked north trailhead is at the end of Enderts Beach Road, 3 miles south of Crescent City. Marked south trailhead is at Hwy 101 mile marker 15.6. Look for signs marked CT.
  • Mileage: 6
  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous, numerous steep grades with switchbacks
  • Description: Starts out strenuous and then levels off on the old coast highway road. Ocean vistas greet you in the first mile; side route to Enderts Beach allows tidepool exploration (no bikes on beach). Check at the visitor center or at the trailhead bulletin board for low tide schedule. Trails ascends through red alder and Sitka spruce and meets old-growth redwood forest. Junction with Damnation Creek Trail exists at milepost 16.0. Backcountry camping is possible at Nickel Creek primitive campground, approximately 0.5-mile beyond trailhead.

 

DeMartin Section

  • Location: Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and Redwood National Park. All trees blocking the trail have been cleared.
  • Trailhead: Marked north trailhead is off Hwy 101 at mile marker 15.6. Look for signs marked CT. Marked south trailhead is at Hwy 101 mile marker 12.8. If you plan to access the trail from the south, park at the Wilson Creek picnic area and proceed cautiously across Hwy 101.
  • Mileage: 6
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: This hike travels through grand old-growth Sitka spruce, western hemlock, Douglas-fir, and redwoods. Climb through the forest to 10 backcountry sites with toilets. Descend to prairie bald spots and sweeping ocean panoramas. With all the berries, look out for bears!

 

Klamath Section

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked north trailhead begins at Wilson Creek Picnic Area off Hwy 101. Marked south trailhead begins at the Klamath River Overlook on Requa Road.
  • Mileage: 5.5
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: From Wilson Creek and False Klamath Cove, hike south approximately 2 miles and take a short spur to Hidden Beach and tidepools. (Check for low tide times at the visitor center). Go back to the main trail and ramble up to Klamath River Overlook where whale-watching is famous. Along the way, experience far-reaching ocean views along a mixed Sitka spruce and red alder forest path. Check out the off-shore seastacks covered with thousands of seabirds: murres, cormorants, pigeon guillemots, and more!

 

Flint Ridge Section

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked west trailhead is on the Coastal Drive, off Klamath Beach Road. Marked east trailhead is off Alder Camp Road, near the Old Douglas Memorial Bridge.
  • Mileage: 4.5
  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous, steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: This hike starts at a pond and climbs through redwoods to ocean vistas. For those interested in backpacking, the Flint Ridge camp is available ¼ mile in from Coastal Drive on the western side. Expect solitude and a steep climb through one of the finest old-growth redwood forests in the parks. Marshall Pond was actually a mill pond during the logging days, but the birds don’t mind!

 

Gold Bluffs Beach Section

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked north trailhead is on Coastal Drive 1.5 miles from Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway junction. Marked south trailhead is on Davison Road just past the Gold Bluffs Beach entrance station.
  • Mileage: 4.8
  • Difficulty Level: Steep down to beach, then easy, level hike
  • Description: This route traverses downhill to Carruthers Cove, a secluded stretch of beach. (Check for low tide times). Backpacking is possible at Ossagon Camp. Discover 30-foot walls of ferns at Fern Canyon, a ¼-mile walk (seasonal bridges available only in the summer). Experience vast coastal prairies, elk watching, spring lupine, and seastacks jammed with seabirds. Walk the road to Gold Bluffs Beach campground.

 

Skunk Cabbage Section

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked north trailhead is on Davison Road just past Gold Bluffs Beach entrance station. Marked south trailhead is on Hwy 101 at mile marker 122.69.
  • Mileage: 5.25
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades with switchbacks
  • Description: From the beach, this trail rises through wind-sheared shrubs to the steep banks of Skunk Cabbage Creek, blanketed with ferns and lined with the heavy limbs of big-leaf maple. The trail crosses grassy hillsides bedecked with seasonal wildflowers and emerges at an overlook. It then descends into the creek drainage where you will experience the pungent smell of the creek’s namesake, skunk cabbage. The trail passes massive redwoods, spruce, and western hemlocks. As you go by high canyon walls, notice the huge remnant spruce stumps. Sitka spruce was used to make WW II airplanes. The trail ends after passing through second-growth forest whose young trees grow so close together they are called „dog hair.“

 

 

Information sources:

Redwood National Park Visitor Guide

Guide to National Parks of the United States

http://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm

 

Official website:

http://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm

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