The Lady Bird Johnson Grove
Length 1.4 mi · Climbing 100 ft
This is one of the most popular trails in Redwood National Park. The staff at Kuchel Visitor Center often recommend it to visitors since it's short, level, and close to the visitor center.
Unusually for a major redwood attraction, this trail is in a redwood upland environment at 1200 feet above sea level. The trail was built for Redwood National Park's dedication ceremony, and I suppose the uplands provided a brighter, more cheerful environment for the ceremony than a lowland grove. Because of its elevation, the grove is often in the clouds and gets a lot more fog than the lowland groves.
Click here to see the trailhead location in Google Maps.
To reach the trail from Kuchel Visitor Center, drive north on Highway 101. Just past Orick, look for a large sign marking the Lady Bird Johnson Grove / Bald Hills Road turnoff. Turn right onto Bald Hills Road. The narrow road passes a timber mill and then begins a steep ascent that seems to last a really long time. After a sharp right-hand turn the road passes under a large footbridge. Immediately afterward you'll see a parking lot to your right. This is the Lady Bird Johnson trailhead.
From the parking lot, cross the footbridge over Bald Hills Road. The trail climbs gently and then begins a slight descent, following an old roadbed through a corridor of huckleberry shrubs. There are a few isolated large trees, but overall this first section of the trail is not very interesting.
The scenery improves as the trail passes the park dedication site, which is marked with a plaque and some benches. The trail descends slightly, reaching the low point of the hike, and begins its return trip on the east side of the ridge. Here the trail winds among a nice collection of old redwoods including some real monster trees. There's a lush groundcover of ferns, but the understory is open and the trail's position high on a hillside affords some nice views of the forest. Rhododendrons are common and bloom in early June.
The trail rejoins the ridgetop roadbed. Turn left to return to the parking lot.
© 2007 David Baselt