This tiny, little-known roadside park is the southernmost of the long string of redwood parks along the Eel River. It’s rather surprising to find both redwoods and the most iconic of North Coast rivers here, among the golden-brown valleys outside of Laytonville, in an area that feels nothing like the verdent, conifer-carpeted hills of the North Coast.
Although it’s on a broad floodplain, the park is at a relatively high elevation (about 1600 feet) so it has a rather mundane upland appearance more typical of redwood uplands, with small to medium-side redwoods among a dense tanoak and huckleberry understory. The lack of any really big trees may also be due to the nearby 2500-foot-tall ridge that cuts the grove off from summer fog.
The park doesn’t have any trails or other facilities, just an unmarked dirt road where you can take a very short walk or drive. The “State Recreation Area” name is rather misleading, as are the official website’s promises of fishing opportunities, since there doesn’t seem to be any way to reach the river to go fishing or otherwise recreate.
The park’s biggest redwoods (which aren’t that big) are found along Mud Creek Road. Take the unmarked cutoff road into the woods and turn right onto Mud Creek Road at the intersection. There’s a sign saying the road is private, but it appears to be within the park up to about the first driveway. Look for a grouping of mid-sized redwoods a few yards past the intersection.
© 2017, 2019 David Baselt