The Hiouchi Trail
Length 4.4 mi · Climbing 420 ft
The Hiouchi Trail runs along the Smith River from Lohse Grove to Stout Grove. There are a few pockets of old growth redwoods along the way, but the trail mostly passes through uninteresting mixed-species forest at the edge of the old growth.
In summer, the trail is easily reached from the Jed Smith campground by way of a seasonal footbridge across the Smith River, making it a convenient place for campers to take a walk.
Click here to see the trailhead location in Google Maps.
Start from the Stout Grove parking lot. Walk through Stout Grove and cross Mill Creek to reach the start of the Hiouchi Tail. A small footbridge crosses the creek during the summer. In the fall and spring, the creek can easily be forded. In winter, it's best to avoid the creek by starting the hike from the Highway 199 trailhead at the western end of the trail.
The eastern end of the trail is in a small but exceptionally attractive alluvial-flat redwood grove, which is actually the most scenic part of the trail. The flat and open grove has some very fine large redwoods, plus an understory of maples that turn yellow in the fall. If you're hiking the trail from the other end, the grove makes a nice endpoint for the hike and is a striking contrast with the rest of the trail.
Leaving the grove, the trail enters a much more mundane redwood forest, with small trees and a dense understory of huckleberry. The trail rises and falls as it makes its way along the low bluffs above the river, near the edge of the forest canopy. The river is mostly hidden by the woods, but there are a few good viewpoints. On the other side of the river, the gravel beaches adjacent to the campground are a popular spot for campers to hang out. A low hum of traffic noise emanates from Highway 199.
At about 1.5 miles, the trail briefly turns away from the river and enters the old growth. Soon after, a side trail leads to a small beach. The main trail then begins to climb. The hum of Highway 199 becomes more of a roar, since the trail is now above and alongside the highway.
The next trail intersection marks the end of the Hiouchi Trail; although the signs don't indicate it, the trail ahead as well as the trail to your right are both the Hatton Trail. To your right, the trail descends to a trailhead and a small dirt pullout at the edge of Highway 199, just west of the large bridge over the Smith River. Unless you're parked there, skip this branch and instead continue straight ahead. At this point the trail pulls away from the river and, after cresting a small ridge, enters some very nice old-growth redwood upland. After 0.3 miles, it reaches an intersection with an unmarked side trail to your left that climbs to Lohse Grove. This is the end of the hike; turn around and return the way you came to Stout Grove.
© 2009 David Baselt