The Oregon Redwoods Trail
Siskiyou National Forest
Length 1.7 mi · Climbing 280 ft
The Oregon Redwood Trail is a short loop through a mixed-species upland forest that includes some old-growth redwoods. The trail consists of a wheelchair-accessible rigetop portion and a second portion that descends a hillside. The two portions can be combined to make a single loop.
The scenery along this trail is rather underwhelming. By and large the redwoods are strikingly small, and most of the trees are not redwoods. Especially as you descend off the ridge, the forest looks for all the world like recently-logged second growth, with the dark and disheveled appearance often seen in recently-logged forests, and with most of the trees being only a few inches in diameter. Unlike a second growth forest, however, the trees aren't sprouting in clumps from stumps but are evenly distributed around the forest floor. The largest redwoods are in a little loop at the end of the ridgetop trail, where a few fairly impressive trees grow in a wood that's mostly made up of much smaller trees. This kind of size distribution seems to be characteristic of far northern redwood forests.
Click here to see the trailhead location in Google Maps.
The trail is reached by a narrow, potholed, single-lane dirt road that winds 4 miles up Peavine Ridge. Prominent "Oregon Redwood Trail" signs direct you to the grove from Highway One and have, I'm sure, swindled many tourists hoping to see monster trees into taking the arduous drive up to the less-than-spectacular grove. The drive from Highway One takes about 25 minutes. There don't seem to be any turnouts, but fortunately few people use the road so you're not likely to meet anyone coming the other way. There's a nice big parking lot and an outhouse at the end of the road.
Going clockwise, the loop descends a hillside, switchbacking past a few good-sized trees amid a groundcover of sorrel and ferns. The trail then enters an area without any groundcover and with much smaller, dark brown redwoods. It's tempting to think that logging is responsible for this appearance, but there are no obvious signs of logging. The trees remain unimpressive as the trail climbs back up to the ridge.
At the ridge are a few more decent-sized redwoods. Although these trees don't compare with Jed Smith or Prairie Creek, there's a certain color palette of light greens and light-gray redwood bark that brings Prairie Creek to mind.
Return along the ridge to the parking lot.
© 2008 David Baselt