The Kent–Mather Loop Trail
Length 0.9 mi · Climbing 40 ft
The Kent-Mather Loop Trail is one of the more scenic alluvial-flat groves on the Avenue of the Giants. The entire grove is pure redwood and contains some pretty big trees, but sometimes in summer it can have a trampled, scraggly look and sparse groundcover. A distant, deep thrum of trucks passing on Highway 101 echoes through the grove.
The trail starts about a mile south of the Humboldt Redwoods visitor center, at the end of the parking lot for the Garden Club of America grove. The superb Garden Club of America Grove, across the Eel River, has been mostly inaccessible since the 2003 Canoe Creek fire, but see the Canoe Creek page for a way to see part of the grove.
The short road that leads from the Avenue of the Giants to the Garden Club parking lot passes through a less-than-promising, heavily-logged redwood grove. The trail, however, quickly leaves the dismal logged area and enters a very nice old growth grove sandwiched into a narrow strip between the Avenue of the Giants and the Eel River.
The trail can also be accessed from a small pullout on the Avenue of the Giants, just a few yards north of the Garden Club of America lot. The pullout makes a nice starting point because it bypasses the dark, depressing logged area and also because the main lot is locked in winter; however, the directions for this hike start from the main lot because it's easier to find.
Click here to see the trailhead location in Google Maps.
The trail starts off in a somewhat dreary-looking logged grove where some huge trees have unfortunately been cut, but after about 100 yards it enters old growth. The biggest trees of the walk are right here at the edge of the old growth. There's almost no groundcover in this area, and the grove is fairly open. As the trail continues into an area of somewhat smaller (but still pretty impressive) redwoods, a sparse sprinkling of redwood sorrel dotted with the occasional fern appears and the woods become lusher, denser, and more scenic. The trail circles around an exceptionally large fallen tree (if you park at the Avenue of the Giants pullout, this is where your hike begins) and then splits into a loop. Going left, the trail skirts the edge of the forest for a short stretch, where it is overgrown with poison oak. The trail then descends slightly into the dark redwood grove, winding among good-sized redwoods, before returning to the beginning of the loop.
© 2007-2012 David Baselt