Hiking Trails


California > Redwood National and State Parks

The best old-growth redwood trails are in Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek. Jedediah Smith is the most scenic, but it’s been getting increasingly busy.

Prairie Creek has a lot more old-growth redwood trails.

Summary of all trails

Old-growth redwood trails
Overall Rating Distance, miles Climbing, feet Trail name
★★★★★ 12.1 1350 Miners’ Ridge and James Irvine
★★★★★ 5.3 750 Boy Scout Tree Trail
★★★★★ 1.7 200 Grove of Titans
★★★★★ 0.6 40 Stout Grove
★★★★ 7.4 250 Mill Creek Trail
★★★★ 5.8 760 West Ridge and Prairie Creek
★★★★ 3.5 540 Brown Creek loop
★★★★ 0.8 130 Moorman–Pond Trail
★★★ 9.5 1520 Coastal Trail, Flint Ridge Section
★★★ 8.7 1050 Rhododendron and Foothill
★★★ 8.0 960 Friendship Ridge Trail
★★★ 7.7 1433 West Ridge and Rhododendron North
★★★ 7.2 1270 Berry Glen Trail
★★★ 5.5 700 Emerald Ridge and Tall Trees
★★★ 4.0 1170 Damnation Creek Trail
★★★ 4.3 360 Hatton Trail
★★★ 3.9 690 Tall Trees Grove
★★★ 3.6 720 Cal Barrel Road
★★★ 3.5 710 Ten Taypo Trail
★★★ 3.2 190 Big Tree loop
★★★ 2.8 440 Trillium Falls Trail
★★★ 2.6 110 Nickerson Ranch Trail
★★★ 2.1 330 Leiffer and Ellsworth Loops
★★★ 1.4 100 Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail
★★★ 0.9 20 Simpson-Reed Trail
★★ 6.4 1400 CREA Trail
★★ 13.0 2810 Coastal Trail, Last Chance Section
★★ 12.6 2370 Coastal Trail, DeMartin Section
★★ 0.6 40 Ah Pah Trail
★★ 1.0 110 Nature Trail
0.6 20 Adams Grove
Other trails
Overall Rating Distance, miles Climbing, feet Trail name
★★★ 10.4 2490 Dolason Prairie Trail
★★ 15.4 500 Redwood Creek Trail
★★ 14.1 2600 McArthur Creek Loop
★★ 7.8 1390 Coastal Trail, Klamath Section
★★ 7.6 1050 Coastal Trail, Skunk Cabbage Section
★★ 4.4 420 Hiouchi Trail
★★ 3.6 730 Ossagon Trail
★★ 2.2 580 Carruthers Cove
★★ 1.5 200 Enderts Beach
22.0 3100 Lost Man Creek Trail
15.8 2000 Crossover Road (Mill Creek Watershed)
10.4 1970 Mill Creek Horse Trail
9.8 1600 Little Bald Hills Trail
7.7 1470 Craigs Creek Trail
7.0 1260 Hobbs Wall and Saddler Skyline
6.0 590 Coastal Trail, Tey-wo-lew section
4.5 750 Lyons Ranch Trail
3.1 70 Picnic Road (Mill Creek Watershed)
2.8 210 Elk Prairie Trail
1.5 470 Wellman Loop Trail
1.2 100 Yurok Loop
0.4 90 Little Creek Trail

Old-growth redwood trails

★★★★★

Miners’ Ridge and James Irvine

Prairie Creek

Length 12.1 mi · Climbing 1350 ft

The best all-day redwood hike, with spectacular redwood forest, the wild and scenic Gold Bluffs Beach, and a fern-covered slot canyon.

★★★★★

Boy Scout Tree Trail

Jedediah Smith

Length 5.3 mi · Climbing 750 ft

An extraordinary out-and-back hike through a showcase of the world’s best redwood scenery.

★★★★★

Grove of Titans

Jedediah Smith

Length 1.7 mi · Climbing 200 ft

A famous grove with some of the world’s largest known redwoods by volume.

★★★★★

Stout Grove

Jedediah Smith

Length 0.6 mi · Climbing 40 ft

This small grove by the side of the Smith River is has an otherworldly cathedral-like majesty, but it gets somewhat crowded on summer weekends.

★★★★

Mill Creek Trail

Jedediah Smith

Length 7.4 mi · Climbing 250 ft

An out-and-back hike mostly through mundane streamside vegetation, except it includes the famous Grove of Titans and a superb, relatively little-visited grove just across from Stout Grove.

★★★★

West Ridge and Prairie Creek

Prairie Creek

Length 5.8 mi · Climbing 760 ft

A superb loop with the best redwood scenery in Prairie Creek. Gets some traffic noise.

★★★★

Brown Creek loop

Prairie Creek

Length 3.5 mi · Climbing 540 ft

Features an exceptionally dense and lush redwood grove by a burbling brook.

★★★★

Moorman–Pond Trail

Prairie Creek

Length 0.8 mi · Climbing 130 ft

A really short, little-used trail through a spectacular redwood-filled canyon.

★★★

Rhododendron and Foothill

Prairie Creek

Length 8.7 mi · Climbing 1050 ft

The little-used Rhododendron Trail climbs through sunny old-growth redwood uplands, while the Foothill Trail passes through two impressive alluvial-flat groves.

★★★

Friendship Ridge Trail

Prairie Creek

Length 8.0 mi · Climbing 960 ft

A varied and scenic hike that combines an easy walk through coastal meadows with a climb into attractive old-growth redwood uplands.

★★★

West Ridge and Rhododendron

Prairie Creek

Length 7.7 mi · Climbing 1430 ft

A peaceful, little-used loop that winds dramatically through canyons and over ridges through lush redwood uplands.

★★★

Berry Glen Trail

Redwood National Park

Length 7.2 mi · Climbing 1270 ft

Climbs through a scenic and interesting upland grove with some good-sized redwoods.

★★★

Emerald Ridge and Tall Trees

Redwood National Park

Length 5.5 mi · Climbing 70 ft

A loop through the Tall Trees Grove and along the banks of sunny Redwood Creek. Involves wading through water up to waist deep and can only be hiked July–September.

★★★

Hatton Trail

Jedediah Smith

Length 4.3 mi · Climbing 360 ft

Climbs a hillside above Highway 199 into sun-dappled redwood uplands. The scenery is great, but there’s traffic noise throughout.

★★★

Damnation Creek Trail

Del Norte Coast

Length 4.0 mi · Climbing 1170 ft

Del Norte Coast’s most scenic trail descends through old-growth redwoods from Highway 101 to a small rocky beach.

★★★

Tall Trees Grove

Redwood National Park

Length 3.9 mi · Climbing 690 ft

A small grove with what was once the world’s tallest known tree. Requires a free permit and a 45-minute drive, partly on a gravel road.

★★★

Cal Barrel Road

Prairie Creek

Length 3.6 mi · Climbing 720 ft

A scenic gravel logging road that climbs through redwood uplands. Open to cars in summer.

★★★

Ten Taypo Trail

Prairie Creek

Length 3.5 mi · Climbing 710 ft

An interesting and enjoyable hike that starts in an impressive redwood-lined canyon and leads to a lushly-wooded ridgetop.

★★★

Big Tree Loop

Prairie Creek

Length 3.2 mi · Climbing 190 ft

A perfect introduction to Prairie Creek, this easy and popular loop passes through some of the park’s most scenic groves.

★★★

Trillium Falls Trail

Redwood National Park

Length 2.8 mi · Climbing 440 ft

A popular loop through a remnant strip of old growth with a small waterfall. Lots of traffic noise from nearby Highway 101.

★★★

Nickerson Ranch Trail

Jedediah Smith

Length 2.6 mi · Climbing 110 ft

Runs along the banks of Mill Creek to an impressive lowland redwood grove just across the road from the Boy Scout Tree Trail.

★★★

Leiffer and Ellsworth Loops

Jedediah Smith

Length 2.1 mi · Climbing 330 ft

These little-used loops start at scenic Walker Road and pass through remarkably lush old-growth lowlands before climbing a hillside into more mundane uplands.

★★★

Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Trail

Redwood National Park

Length 1.4 mi · Climbing 100 ft

A short, level loop through an upland grove with relatively small redwoods. One of the most popular trails in Redwood Natonal Park.

★★★

Simpson-Reed Trail

Jedediah Smith

Length 0.9 mi · Climbing 20 ft

A short roadside loop with an unusually dense, jungle-like look.

★★

Coastal Trail, Last Chance section

Del Norte Coast

Length 13.0 mi · Climbing 2810 ft

Follows an old alignment of Highway 101 through mixed-species woodland on high coastal bluffs, then turns inland and runs through old-growth redwoods. No views after the first half-mile.

★★

Coastal Trail, DeMartin section

Del Norte Coast

Length 12.6 mi · Climbing 2370 ft

This enjoyable hike starts in attractive mixed-species woodland and climbs into old-growth redwoods. One of the most enjoyable sections of the Coastal Trail.

★★

CREA Trail

Prairie Creek

Length 6.4 mi · Climbing 1400 ft

A little-used dead-end trail that climbs a hill through mostly small upland redwoods.

★★

Nature Trail

Prairie Creek

Length 1.0 mi · Climbing 110 ft

A short, steep loop with some first-rate old growth. Conveniently located next to the visitor center and Elk Prairie Campground.

★★

Ah Pah Road

Prairie Creek

Length 0.6 mi · Climbing 40 ft

A short trail that follows an old roadbed through exceptionally nice redwood uplands.

Adams Grove

Jedediah Smith

Length 0.6 mi · Climbing 20 ft

Branching directly off of busy Highway 199 is a forgotten, little-used trail that doesn’t have an official name. There isn’t even any way to safely pull off the road at the trailhead.

Other trails

★★★

Dolason Prairie Trail

Redwood National Park

Length 10.4 mi · Climbing 2490 ft

A long, scenic descent through a prairie with dramatic views of the Redwood Creek basin, then through some old-growth redwoods, ending at Redwood Creek.

★★

Redwood Creek Trail

Redwood National Park

Length 15.4 mi · Climbing 500 ft

Leads to the Tall Trees Grove; along the way, the creekside woodland hasn’t been logged but mostly lacks redwoods. Popular with backpackers.

★★

Coastal Trail, Klamath section

Redwood National Park

Length 7.8 mi · Climbing 1390 ft

Runs along steep, spruce-covered bluffs high above the ocean, with no roads or other development in sight. There are no rewoods, but the last half-mile has some great ocean views.

★★

Coastal Trail, Skunk Cabbage Section

Redwood National Park

Length 7.6 mi · Climbing 1050 ft

Climbs through a strikingly lush and richly green ravine before descending to a scenic beach. No redwoods.

★★

Hiouchi Trail

Jedediah Smith

Length 4.4 mi · Climbing 420 ft

Follows the Smith River, mostly through uninteresting mixed-species forest at the edge of the old growth redwoods.

★★

Ossagon Trail

Prairie Creek

Length 3.6 mi · Climbing 730 ft

An enjoyable trail that starts with an impressive stretch of old-growth redwoods, then descends to a secluded beach.

★★

Carruthers Cove

Prairie Creek

Length 2.2 mi · Climbing 580 ft

A short descent to a quiet, secluded beach.

Jedediah Smith and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Parks

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Redwood National Park

Other trails (continued)

★★

Enderts Beach

Redwood National Park

Length 1.5 mi · Climbing 200 ft

A short, popular walk along the bluffs to an isolated beach with tidepools. Sometimes closed due to landslides.

Lost Man Creek Trail

Redwood National Park

Length 22.0 mi · Climbing 3100 ft

An old mainline logging road that starts in a dark and exceptionally lush grove of big old-growth redwoods, then climbs through heavily-logged redwood forest.

Mill Creek Horse Trail

Redwood National Park

Length 10.4 mi · Climbing 1970 ft

Mostly unattractive second-growth, but with two short sections of old growth, one of which is actually pretty magnificent.

Little Bald Hills Trail

Jedediah Smith

Length 9.8 mi · Climbing 1600 ft

Climbs out of Jed Smith’s old-growth redwoods and through lush fir groves before entering a sparse hilltop pine forest.

Craigs Creek Trail

Six Rivers National Forest

Length 7.7 mi · Climbing 1470 ft

A little-used trail that rises and falls through an interesting variety of woodland before descending to the confluence of two rivers.

Hobbs Wall and Saddler Skyline

Del Norte Coast

Length 7.0 mi · Climbing 1260 ft

A loop through second-growth redwoods on a steep hillside above the Mill Creek Campground.

Lyons Ranch Trail

Redwood National Park

Length 4.5 mi · Climbing 750 ft

Strikingly different from the rest of Redwood National Park, this remote trail features wide-open prairies, dramatic views over the Redwood Creek watershed, and some old ranch buildings.

Elk Prairie Trail

Prairie Creek

Length 2.8 mi · Climbing 210 ft

Circles Elk Prairie. Mostly passes through smaller trees and brush, with short stretches of impressive redwoods at the beginning and end.

Wellman Loop Trail

Jedediah Smith

Length 1.5 mi · Climbing 470 ft

Climbs through unspectacular redwood uplands, then descends through dense non-redwood forest. Located across Highway 199 from the campground.

Yurok Loop

Del Norte Coast

Length 1.2 mi · Climbing 100 ft

A short loop with some nice ocean views that starts from a rest stop alongside Highway 101.

Little Creek Trail

Prairie Creek

Length 0.4 mi · Climbing 90 ft

A short trail that climbs through a canyon off Drury Parkway. The mixed-species forest doesn’t have a lot of redwoods.

Gear list

This is what I bring for hiking the redwoods.

  • Day pack with 3 liter hydration reservoir
  • Rain jacket: In summer, any lightweight waterproof/windproof jacket is OK. In winter, a good-quality jacket specifically designed for hiking is a must.
  • Fleece jacket: A heavyweight (about 16 oz) insulating layer.
  • Hiking shoes: I use sandals with a deep-tread sole, which work well in the damp environment.
  • Regular clothes: shorts, t-shirt, and a warm long-sleeve shirt work pretty well.
  • Insect repellent: Single-use Picaridin packets. The North Coast isn’t usually that buggy, but once in a while it is.
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit: Nuskin (better than bandages), Advil (Dual Action packets), Tecnu, isopropyl alcohol wipes, clean paper towels, tweezers, magnifying glass.
  • Mini LED flashlight
  • Pocket knife: attached to the outside of the pack with a coiled lanyard.
  • Trail map
  • GPS unit, or a cell phone with preloaded maps.
  • Trash bag: to keep everything in the pack dry if it rains.
  • Personal locator beacon

These items are only needed in winter during unusually heavy rainfall or unusually cold conditions:

  • Fleece base layer top and bottom: for long periods of rain, replace any cotton clothing with synthetic base layers.
  • Rain pants
  • Waterproof socks

Printed trail maps of Redwood National and State Parks

  • I publish the Trail Map of Redwood National and State Parks, a two-map set and the most detailed map of the parks. Each map is printed on both sides on waterproof plastic. To see samples, check out the individual hike pages on this website. Scale 1:25,000, two 27 x 39 inch sheets, 2021. $18.95 + shipping and tax if ordered from Redwood Hikes Press; also available from the park visitor centers.
  • The Trails Illustrated / National Geographic Redwood National and State Parks map is also widely available. You can view the entire map by clicking the little map preview images on the National Geographic Maps site. Scale 1:70,000, 25.25 x 37.5 inches, waterproof; 2019. $14.95.
  • Free brochures or newsletters with basic maps are available for each park. They can be downloaded online: Jedediah Smith · Del Norte Coast · Prairie Creek · Redwood National Park

Trail conditions

Weather

Current satellite images:

National Weather Service pages for Orick:

Other weather pages for Orick:

View from Ted’s Ridge, Trees of Mystery


 

© 2021 David Baselt