The Dry Creek Horse Trail
Length 3.0 mi · Climbing 750 ft
Also called the Dry Creek Trail, this short trail has a moderately scenic old-growth upland grove at each end, but in between it's a little dull. Although much of the forest is old growth, it's mostly made up of small to mid-sized redwoods with a dense understory.
The south end of the trail is inconveniently located, leaving you on the Avenue of the Giants about 100 yards north of the Stephens Grove Loop. The Avenue is a two-lane road with little or no shoulder in places and about a car per minute passing by at high speed, so walking on it isn't really a good idea. Some hikers brave the traffic anyway, continuing on to Stephens Grove and into the town of Miranda, making a 5-mile round-trip hike.
It's not clear what makes this a horse trail since it's much too short to make a decent ride and there's no sign if it ever being used by horses.
Click here to see the trailhead location in Google Maps.
The trail starts in the Jensen and Pioneer grove which, though not as big as the other major groves, is stil one of the more impressive groves on the Avenue of the Giants. Within the dark, stately grove, huge trees rise up on both sides of the Avenue to create a canyon of redwoods.
Park in the large pullout on the east side of the Avenue. The trail begins as a dirt road blocked by a metal gate. Walk around the gate and follow the road as it climbs gently through a small ravine along a burbling creek. Because the Avenue passes through the best part of the grove, the really big redwoods are almost immediately replaced by much less dramatic medium-sized redwoods. It's still old-growth, though, and fairly scenic.
There's a trail to your left that leads to private property. Turn right onto the next trail, which has a footbridge across the creek. The trail begins to climb up the side of the ravine.
Leaving the ravine, the trees become even smaller. The next, relatively flat, section of trail proceeds through rather dull uplands densely clogged with huckleberry bushes. A hum of traffic drifts over from Highway 101, across the river.
The trail descends and the scenery improves again, with mid-sized upland redwoods and, in winter, a few trickling brooks. A loop trail to your left offers more moderately scenic old-growth uplands. The trail then descends to the Avenue of the Giants.
© 2011 David Baselt