State


California

Region

Redwood National
& State Parks

Park

*****
Jedediah Smith RSP


Nearby parks

**
Siskiyou NF (Oregon)

****
Del Norte Coast RSP

*****
Prairie Creek RSP

***
Redwood National Park

****
Humboldt RSP


Trails in this park

*****
Stout Grove

*****
Boy Scout Tree Trail

****
Mill Creek Trail

***
Nickerson Ranch Trail

***
Hatton Trail

**
Simpson-Reed Trail

***
Leiffer and Ellsworth Loops

**
Little Bald Hills Trail

**
Hiouchi Trail

*
Wellman Trail

 

The Hatton Trail

including Lohse Grove and the Hatton Loop

Length 4.3 mi · Climbing 360 ft
California > Redwood National and State Parks > Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Lush, jungle-like forest near the bottom of the Hatton Trail

Background

The Hatton Trail is a very attractive hillside trail that starts at Highway 199 and climbs to a plateau with a bright ridgetop grove. The entire route is lined with old-growth redwoods. The biggest redwoods are at the beginning of the trail; as the trail climbs, the woods gradually change from lush, impressive lowlands to more mundane but still scenic uplands. If you're persistent enough to push through the overgrown side trail to Lohse Grove, you're rewarded with redwood grove that has an open, airy look typical of ridgetop stands.

The main drawback of this trail is the constant traffic noise, which rises and falls in volume but is almost always present.

Typically for Jed Smith, on sunny days the woods are remarkably bright and filled with light, except for the dense, lush, jungle-like woodland at the beginning of the trail. There's also a lot of variety in the redwoods and other plants that keeps the hike interesting.

Included in this hike is the Hatton Loop. Although short and heavily affected by traffic noise, the loop has some spectacular lowland redwoods.

These trails, which used to get hardly any visitors, seem to be somewhat more popular now that the Simpson-Reed trailhead has been moved to a side road. A lot of people who are just driving by stop at the prominent trailhead pullout on Highway 199; while before everyone would hike the Simpson-Reed Trail, now some of them check out the Hatton Trail instead.

Click map to show all trails and roads
Part of the Trail Map of Redwood National and State Parks (Redwood Hikes Press, 2016)

Hike description

Click here to see the trailhead location in Google Maps or in Google Street View.

The trail begins in an overgrown, rainforest-like redwood grove. Thick layers of moss cover all non-redwood trees (living redwoods shed their bark and don't accumulate moss), lichens drip from branches, and a riot of different plant species occupies the understory. There's a small, open marsh to the left.

In a few hundred yards the trail begins to climb and the excessive lushness gives way to a rich redwood forest, with huge trees in contrasting colors, some light and some dark, and a deep-green carpeting of five-finger and sword ferns. The trail winds around ravines, offering superb views of giant trees.

The Hatton Trail

As the trail continues to climb, the forest becomes a bit more mundane; the redwoods are mostly small and have a very light greyish color, and the ferns seem to be lighter in color too. A dense understory of tanoak and huckleberry partially hides the redwoods. The trail runs closer to Highway 199 and the noise of trucks roaring by intrudes on the hike; you can actually see the highway below.

The Hatton Trail

Turn right onto the Lohse Grove Spur Trail. The spur trail is little-used and gets increasingly overgrown the further in you go; near the end it almost completely dispppears under dense huckleberry shrubs. If the foliage happens to be wet you'll get soaked. That's unfortunate, since Lohse Grove makes a great destination for the hike. Although the trees aren't especially big, the light-filled grove with its arrow-straight, light-barked trees is particularly attractive and much different from any of the woodland on the preceding miles of trail. There's also very little traffic noise here. A grove dedication sign marks the end of the trail; an unofficial path continues a few yards further.

Lohse Grove

Although it isn't part of the recommended hike, after the Lohse Grove spur the Hatton Trail continues for another 0.3 miles before it ends at a T intersection with the Hiouchi Trail. Just before this intersection, the redwoods diminish greatly in size and attractiveness. The Hiouchi Trail itself is much less interesting than the Hatton Trail, running through an unimpressive band of forest at the edge of the old growth for much of its length.

The Hatton Loop

The Hatton Loop branches off from the Hatton Trail near the trailhead. The short loop climbs a steep hillside, then descends and passes though a little cluster of impressive lowland redwoods amid lush vegetation. A short spur runs along the hillside to a view of a nice grove that's unfortunately right next to busy Highway 199.

The Hatton Loop


 

© 2007, 2012, 2017 David Baselt