Hermit Huts and Little Hendy
Loop hike including the Hermit Hut, Azalea, and Eagle Trails
Length 2.7 mi · Climbing 270 ft
If the Big Hendy loop isn't enough of a walk for you, try this loop from Big Hendy to Little Hendy grove. Most of the route passes through very ordinary mixed-species uplands dominated by tanoak and huckleberry, with occasional small redwoods. The highlight of the loop is Little Hendy, an old-growth grove that's not nearly as attractive as Big Hendy although it may actually have larger trees.
Starting at the Day Use Area, take the All Access Trail into Big Hendy. Cross two footbridges (currently dilapidated) and then immediately turn left at a sign pointing the way to the Hermit Huts.
The trail climbs up a slight rise and then plateaus. The rise is only a few vertical feet but it takes you high enough above the water table that the big redwoods disappear and the forest very quickly changes from almost pure redwood to mixed-species. Although there is some evidence of logging, by and large the grove boundary seems to be natural.
Continue past the two Hermit Huts (which are basically just piles of sticks) and the Water Tank road, and descend on the Azalea Trail. The trail is covered with a thick layer of leaf litter and gets harder and harder to follow.
The trail crosses a large footbridge. To your right, an obvious trail leads a short distance to the main park road. The Azalea Trail is the barely-visible track to your left immediately after the footbridge. The trail winds through the woods and emerges near the RV dump station. Cross the paved side road and the main park road to re-enter the woods on the Azalea Trail.
The trail descends to Little Hendy. Skip the first trail to your right and follow the wide, dusty depression (probably a former dirt road) through the grove.
Little Hendy has quite a few large trees. Seen from highway 128 near Gowan's, Little Hendy certainly looks a lot more impressive than Big Hendy. Unfortunately Little Hendy isn't as attractive as Big Hendy, mostly because there's no ground cover except for an occasional fern.
The trail climbs out of Little Hendy, returning to uplands thick with huckleberry. After passing the first spur to the campground, look for an unmarked trail to your left that descends a short distance to a small meadow. Turn left onto this trail. Larger and larger redwoods begin to appear along the trail a this point. After crossing the main park road you'll be back in Big Hendy on the All Access Trail.
© 2006 David Baselt