Hiking Trails


California > Humboldt Redwoods and Vicinity

By far the most impressive redwoods in the Humboldt Redwoods region are in the low-lying areas along rivers. The trails in these areas are almost all short but pretty spectacular roadside loops. There’s only one all-day big-tree redwood hike, the Bull Creek Flats Trail.

The backcountry areas offer plenty of longer hikes, but also have much less impressive redwoods; most of these are in the “Other trails” section below.

Old-growth trails

★★★★

Cheatham Grove

Grizzly Creek Redwoods

Length 2.8 mi · Climbing 530 ft

A quintessential and very attractive alluvial-flat grove in a bend of the Van Duzen River, where the famous steadicam shots for Return of the Jedi were filmed.

★★★★

Homestead and Big Trees Loop

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 2.4 mi · Climbing 110 ft

A superb hike around Upper Bull Creek Flat. Near Albee Creek Campground.

★★★★

Big Trees Area

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 0.6 mi · Climbing 10 ft

A large and spectacular alluvial-flat grove with huge trees, a remarkably expansive appearance, and relatively little traffic noise.

★★★★

Rockefeller Loop

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 0.7 mi · Climbing 20 ft

The quintessential dark, dense, cathedral-like redwood grove. One of the most scenic in Humboldt Redwoods.

★★★★

Grieg-French-Bell Grove

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 0.6 mi · Climbing 10 ft

An extraordinary grove with a remarkably plush carpet of redwood sorrel. One of the highlights of Humboldt Redwoods.

★★★★

Children’s Forest Trail

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 1.8 mi · Climbing 70 ft

A large, peaceful, and exceptionally scenic alluvial-flat redwood grove that gets very few visitors. Summer only.

★★★

Bull Creek Flats

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 10.0 mi · Climbing 300 ft

A grand tour of the Bull Creek lowlands, featuring the sublime groves of Upper and Lower Bull Creek Flats. Humboldt Redwoods’ best long-distance hike. Summer only.

★★★

High Rock River Trail

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 3.0 mi · Climbing 280 ft

A little-used trail with some very nice redwoods next to the Avenue of the Giants.

★★★

Drury-Chaney Loop

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 2.4 mi · Climbing 30 ft

Features some extraordinarily lush sorrel groundcover at the beginning and some large redwoods further in.

★★★

Founders Grove

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 1.3 mi · Climbing 20 ft

The largest and most impressive grove and the most popular attraction in Humboldt Redwoods. Unfortunately filled with the constant roar of traffic from a 4-lane freeway that skirts the grove.

★★★

Stephens Grove Loop Trail

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 0.7 mi · Climbing 30 ft

The southernmost of the really impressive alluvial-flat lowland groves on the Avenue of the Giants.

★★★

Bolling Grove

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 0 mi · Climbing 0 ft

A tiny, easy-to-explore patch of big-tree lowlands with some mammoth redwoods. One of the more popular stops on the Avenue of The Giants. No official trails.

★★

Peavine Ridge Spur

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 10.5 mi · Climbing 2870 ft

A remote, little-visited road with a surprisingly nice old-growth Douglas fir and redwood grove.

★★

River Trail

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 3.4 mi · Climbing 450 ft

A little-used trail through a series of forgotton but superb alluvial-flat groves. Summer only.

★★

Salmon Pass Trail

Headwaters Forest Reserve

Length 2.8 mi · Climbing 530 ft

Climbs to a remnant section of old growth on a hillside above the town of Fortuna. Can only be accessed by a guided tour.

★★

Lookout Point Trail

Richardson Grove State Park

Length 2.4 mi · Climbing 340 ft

Starts in a very impressive lowland grove and climbs to a much different old-growth upland grove.

★★

Allens Trail

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 2.3 mi · Climbing 790 ft

A climb to a little ravine with a surprisingly attractive redwood grove.

★★

Nelson Grove

Length 1.3 mi · Climbing 100 ft

Starting on an old alignment of the Avenue of the Giants, this loop leads through a small lowland redwood grove to a gravelly beach on the Eel River.

★★

California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 0.9 mi · Climbing 0 ft

A superb grove of large redwoods on the Avenue of the Giants that’s somewhat overshadowed by its even more spectacular neighbors.

★★

Kent-Mather Loop Trail

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 0.9 mi · Climbing 40 ft

A scenic redwood grove with some pretty big trees on the Avenue of the Giants.

★★

Gould Grove Nature Loop Trail

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 0.7 mi · Climbing 10 ft

A small patch of old growth just across from the visitors’ center.

★★

F.K. Lane Trail

Length 0.4 mi · Climbing 20 ft

Humboldt Redwoods’ southernmost redwood grove. Has a few big redwoods near the beginning of the loop, but most of the other trees are small and embedded in a dense understory.

★★

Whittemore Grove

Dewitt Reserve

Length 0.3 mi · Climbing 20 ft

A small but attractive patch of old-growth redwoods across the Eel River from Redway. No official trails.

Look Prairie and Peavine Ridge

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 13.4 mi · Climbing 2610 ft

A long backcountry loop with about four miles of old-growth redwoods, including a remote and very attractive ridgetop grove.

Garden Club of America Grove

Length 3.8 mi · Climbing 420 ft

Runs through mundane old-growth uplands on the west side of the Eel River. Summer only.

More old-growth trails

Dry Creek Horse Trail

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 3.0 mi · Climbing 750 ft

Starts in the impressive Jensen Grove, but quickly climbs into rather mundane upland redwoods before descending back to the Avenue of the Giants.

Taber Nature Trail

Standish-Hickey

Length 1.7 mi · Climbing 130 ft

Climbs to a small upland grove with a few dozen widely-scattered, small to medium old-growth redwoods among a lot of small conifers.

Holbrook Grove

Dewitt Reserve

Length 0.6 mi · Climbing 20 ft

A short trail that runs through a redwood flat a few yards from Redwood Road.

Chandler Grove

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 0.4 mi · Climbing 70 ft

An unusually big parking area makes this grove look really important, but it’s actually pretty dull, with no big trees or noteworthy sights.

Smithe Redwoods

Smithe Redwoods

Length 0 mi

A small but attractive old-growth redwood grove next to Highway 101. No trails.

Other trails

All of these trails have some old growth, but they’re not mainly old-growth trails.

★★★

Lost Coast Trail

Sinkyone Wilderness

Length 18.4 mi · Climbing 5290 ft

A very challenging, remote, and difficult to reach trail over high coastal bluffs and through deep canyons, with a few old-growth redwoods and black-sand beaches.

Grieg Road and Grasshopper Summit

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 16.9 mi · Climbing 3650 ft

The longest and most challenging route to the top of Grasshopper Mountain. Four trail camps make it a good backpacking route, but there’s only one brief stretch of big redwoods.

Grasshopper Summit and Johnson Camp

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 16.2 mi · Climbing 3200 ft

Climbs the somewhat dull Grasshopper Multi Use Trail to the top of Grasshopper Mountain, then returns by way of the Johnson Camp Trail and an exceptionally scenic grove of old-growth upland redwoods.

Grasshopper Trail

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 15.5 mi · Climbing 3170 ft

An epic out-and-back up the east side of Grasshopper Mountain starting from the Visitors’ Center. Summer only.

Wheeler Trail

Sinkyone Wilderness

Length 8.9 mi · Climbing 1850 ft

A little-used old logging road that descends to a remote beach with a campground.

Thrap Mill and Pioneer Trails

Benbow State Recreation Area

Length 5.5 mi · Climbing 640 ft

Climbs through dry-looking second-growth uplands, then descends through fairly scenic old growth to a partially-logged flat with a few big redwoods.

Elk River Trail

Headwaters Forest Reserve

Length 2.8 mi · Climbing 530 ft

This pleasant if unexciting trail starts as an old logging road alongside the Elk River, then becomes a singletrack trail that ascends through second-growth redwoods to reach a small but scenic old-growth grove.

Addie Johnson Trail

Humboldt Redwoods

Length 2.5 mi · Climbing 580 ft

Starts in Bull Creek Flats but almost immediately leaves the huge redwoods behind, climbing through a bright upland canyon with small redwoods. Ends at a 19th-century gravesite.

Shady Dell

Sinkyone Wilderness

Length 0.5 mi · Climbing 250 ft

Features a small but rather bizarre-looking hillside grove with impressively reiterated old-growth redwoods. Next to Usal Campground.

 


 

© 2022 David Baselt