• Image of coast redwood forest along Cal-Barrel Road

    Redwood

    National and State Parks California

Hiking Trails - South

This web page features Redwood National and State Parks' southern trails, starting at the Klamath River and ending at Lyons Ranch, 17 miles up Bald Hills Road. The Coastal Trail sections are listed separately. Be sure to pick up a map. Experience magnificent old-growth redwoods, vast prairies, and sweeping beaches.

Carruthers Cove Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Coastal Drive, approximately 1 mile from the junction with Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. Trail can also be accessed via the Coastal Trail at low tide.
  • Mileage: 0.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: Follow an old skid road through alders and berries down to the beach, and watch for herds of elk and flocks of birds along the way. This trail is named for a previous landowner who was at one time the publisher of the Eureka newspaper.
 

Ah-Pah Interpretive Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is on east side of Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, at mile marker 133.50.
  • Mileage: 0.3
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: Witness the astounding results of post-logging road removal and hillslope rehabilitation along this converted trail. Deconstruction of the road is documented in trailside exhibits, which portray what the land looked like prior to revegetation and slope recontouring. Great for young children.
 

Ossagon Trail (bikes allowed)

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off west side of the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, at mile marker 132.74. Trail can also be accessed via the Coastal Trail.
  • Mileage: 1.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: Hike or bike an old road through dense second-growth forest to a secluded stretch of beach.
 

Ten Taypo-Hope Creek Loop Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off east side of Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, opposite Ossagon Creek trailhead (mile marker 132.74).
  • Mileage: 4-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: This moderate loop follows a creek through streamside habitat and stately old-growth redwood forest up to a broad ridge. Fern laden trail has some colossal redwoods that are burned half-way through, yet still stand tall—a testament to their strength.
 

Friendship Ridge Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off West Ridge Trail. Trail can also be accessed via James Irvine Trail and Fern Canyon Loop Trail.
  • Mileage: 3
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: Elk are regularly seen along this trail, which drops out of high slope redwood forest down to nearly sea level. When connected with the James Irvine and West Ridge Trails, this route offers 12.5 miles of old-growth redwoods and far-reaching coastal views.
 

Rhododendron Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off east side of Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, at mile marker 130.54. Trail can also be accessed via the Brown Creek Trail, South Fork Trail, Cal Barrel Road, CREA Trail, or Cathedral Trees Trail.
  • Mileage: 6.3
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: During mid-spring and early summer, bright pink and red blooms give this trail its name and offer a delightful contrast to the varying shades of green found in the accompanying trees, shrubs, grasses, and herbs. Favorable lighting lends itself to beautiful prints and paintings of the landscape, making this trail a top pick among photographers and artists.
 
fern canyon

Fern Canyon

NPS

Fern Canyon Loop Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at Fern Canyon parking area off Davison Road. Trail can also be accessed via James Irvine Trail, Coastal Trail, and Friendship Ridge Trail.
  • Mileage: 0.7-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Non-level grades, not steep. Some trees to climb over or go under
  • Description: Some of the exquisite ferns now clinging to Fern Canyon's shadowy 30-foot cliffs are ancient species whose ancestry can be traced back 325 million years. Look for velvety five-fingered ferns, dark green sword ferns, and delicate lady ferns. Scouring winter floods periodically rush through the canyon. Seasonal bridges only exist is the summer season.
 

Brown Creek Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Rhododendron Trail, 3.1 miles from north trailhead. Trail can also be accessed via South Fork Trail and Foothill Trail.
  • Mileage: 1.2
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: Compare firsthand the differences between riparian (streamside) vegetation and old-growth redwood/Douglas-fir forest. Brown Creek is a tributary of Prairie Creek, which provides important habitat for salmon and trout populations native to the parks.
 

South Fork Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway at mile marker 129.00, opposite Prairie Creek trailhead. Trail can also be accessed via Brown Creek Trail, Foothill Trail, and Rhododendron Trail.
  • Mileage: 0.9
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: Like many of the trails in the Prairie Creek area, this short route travels up a steep ridge though pristine old-growth redwood forest. Various length loops are possible when this trail is combined with the Brown Creek, Rhododendron, and Cathedral Trees Trails.
 

Prairie Creek Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked south trailhead is off west side of the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, opposite the Cathedral Trees trailhead. Trail can also be accessed via Zig Zag #2 Trail, Zig Zag #1 Trail, Foothill Trail, Cathedral Trees Trail, and the Elk Prairie Trail.
  • Mileage: 4
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: Hike along crystal-clear Prairie Creek and watch for spawning salmon and steelhead during the winter and early spring months. There are many breathtaking views of slope redwood forest. A short spur trail leads past the Corkscrew Tree, an excellent example of a “fairy ring”—a single tree with numerous trunk reiterations.
 

Clintonia Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Miners Ridge Trail. Trail can also be accessed via James Irvine Trail.
  • Mileage: 1
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: So named for its bright seasonal display of fuchsia blooms, this popular trail is moderate in length and difficulty, and provides access into a narrow and secluded valley filled with dense fern and shrub undergrowth. The route connects the James Irvine and Miners Ridge Trails, giving the day hiker a memorable experience and many excellent photographic opportunities.
 

Circle Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is in Big Tree Wayside parking area, at mile marker 127.96 on the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. Trail can also be accessed via Foothill Trail and Cathedral Trees Trail.
  • Mileage: 0.3
  • Difficulty Level: Easy, level
  • Description: For the time-pressed visitor, this trail offers a great opportunity to enter the redwood forest and experience the lush environment without taking up a large part of the day. It provides easy access to the Big Tree, one of the largest trees in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

Foothill Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Cal Barrel Road, approximately 0.25 mile from junction with Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. Trail can also be accessed via the Cathedral Trees Trail, South Fork Trail, and Brown Creek Trail.
  • Mileage: 2.2
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: The level grade and moderate length of this premiere trail through magnificent old growth makes it perfect for families looking for a way to spend a few hours in the redwoods. Its proximity to the Elk Prairie Campground and link with the Elk Prairie Trail makes walking to the trailhead easy for all ages.
 

West Ridge Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Trail can also be accessed via Zig Zag Trail #1 and #2, Cathedral Trees Trail, and the Butler Creek Trail.
  • Mileage: 7
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks.
  • Description: Travel nearly the entire length of the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway along this moderately strenuous trail through breathtaking old-growth redwoods. Two backpacking routes are possible by taking the Ossagon or Miners Ridge Trails to designated camps. Link with the James Irvine and Friendship Ridge Trails for a 12.5 mile loop.
 

James Irvine Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Trail can also be accessed via Fern Canyon Loop Trail, Gold Bluffs Beach, and Clintonia Trail.
  • Mileage: 4.2
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: The quintessential redwood trail, this moderate hike travels along Godwood Creek through majestic forests to end at the world-famous Fern Canyon and Home Creek. You will easily spend 4-5 hours traveling through the enormous old-growth trees that line this historic access route to Gold Bluffs Beach mines and camps. After arriving at Fern Canyon, continue on the Coastal Trail, Gold Bluffs Beach section and link up with Miners Ridge for a strenuous return trip.
 

Miners Ridge Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Trail can also be accessed via Davison Road, across from the Gold Bluffs Beach Campground.
  • Mileage: 4.1
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: This trail follows the route used by gold miners in the mid-1800s. It follows a ridgeline that allows the heart to pump, and offers breathtaking views of coastal forest and steep ocean bluffs.
 

Revelation Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is outside Prairie Creek Visitor Center.
  • Mileage: 0.3
  • Difficulty Level: Easy, level
  • Description: Developed specifically for the visually impaired, this trail encourages you to engage all of your senses to more fully experience the redwood forest. You can touch the rough bark of a redwood and then compare it to the soft feel of a moss-covered fir or spruce, while sounds of the creek murmur in the background. The sharp aroma of California bay and tart taste of redwood sorrel allow for a more complete understanding of the ecosystem.
 

Cathedral Trees Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is in the Big Tree Wayside parking area. Trail can also be accessed via Elk Prairie Trail and Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, across from Prairie Creek Visitor Center.
  • Mileage: 1.4
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Description: This short walk gives access to some of the largest trees in the Prairie Creek area. Many cathedral trees, or a family group of trees, tower on the slopes. Walk past fallen mother trees that have become nursery logs for a vast array of trees and ferns. A great trail for children because of its gentle grade and many trailside herbs and berries.

Elk Prairie Trail

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is in Elk Prairie Campground. Trail can also be accessed via the Cathedral Trees Trail.
  • Mileage: 2.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: Meander through one of the most heavily populated Roosevelt elk areas in the parks, and get an up-close look of these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Evidence of antler rubbing and browsing is obvious on numerous trees along the trail.
 

Davison Trail (bikes allowed)

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is in Elk Meadow Day Use Area. Trail can also be accessed via Streelow Creek and at the south end of Elk Prairie on Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
  • Mileage: 3
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, non-level grades, not steep
  • Description: Davison Hike/Bike Trail follows a former logging road that once led to a lumber mill and log deck. The National Park Service purchased this land in 1996 and launched a massive project to restore the landscape. Trails now pass wetlands, hills, and streams that are slowly returning to healthy conditions. Hikers and bikers can observe spawning salmon, stalking herons, and migrating songbirds in the recovering wetlands and forests. The route winds through stately stands of redwoods and thick groves of streamside alder trees. Trails also lead to Lost Man Creek, Trillium Falls (no bicycles), and past Elk Prairie to the Prairie Creek Visitor Center.

Streelow Creek Trail (bikes allowed)

  • Location: Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Davison Road, approximately 1.5 miles from turnoff on Hwy 101. Trail can also be accessed via Davison Trail.
  • Mileage: 2.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: An easy trip through second-growth redwood and red alder forest, this bike route connects with Davison Road and the Davison Trail for a more challenging ride up Prairie Creek and past prime elk grazing habitat.
 

Lost Man Creek Trail (bikes allowed)

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is at Lost Man Creek Picnic Area on Lost Man Creek Road. Trail can also be accessed via Bald Hills Road.
  • Mileage: 10
  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous, numerous steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: Ancient redwoods reach dizzying heights along this former logging road. Winding through a stream valley, the trail crosses a wide bridge that spans Lost Man Creek, offering glimpses of rock pools and lush streambanks below. Here five-finger ferns, wild ginger, and deer ferns thrive beneath the redwoods and tanoaks. At a second bridge, a cliffside collection of thimbleberry and California hazel receives filtered light through the tall trees. In spring, velvet white trilliums and salmonberry clusters dot the edges of the path. As the trail rises up a steep incline to the Bald Hills Road junction, it crosses a tributary and passes through a second-growth redwood forest.
  • Special Note: Approximately 2 miles from the trailhead off Hwy 101, there is a moderate stream crossing. Please use caution when fording the stream.
 

Trillium Falls Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: 3 miles north of Orick, CA on U.S.101, turn onto Davison Road and continue 1/2 mile to Elk Meadow Day Use Area (on your left). Look for marked trailhead
  • Mileage: 2.5 mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: The trail leads you through the misty hallways of an ancient redwood home. Along the path, families of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and Sitka spruce reside under the shade of the world’s tallest trees. The forest floor creates a moist sanctuary for red tree voles, Pacific giant salamanders, and banana slugs. Along the creek, scattered patches of silky white trillium bloom in the spring. Near the waterfall (a 10-foot cascade over deep green, moss-covered rocks), the heavy, sloping limbs of big-leaf maple reach out in every direction.

Berry Glen Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: 3 miles north of Orick, CA on U.S. 101, turn onto Davison Road and continue 1/2 mile to Elk Meadow Day Use Area (on your left). Look for marked trailhead
  • Mileage: 3.5 miles one way, to Ladybird Johnson Grove Trail
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous (1200 foot climb to Ladybird)
  • Description: This trail is the latest addition to Redwood National and State Parks' extensive trail system. Following portions of the original Bald Hills Road, hikers follow in the footsteps of native Yuroks, gold seekers, and United States presidents through magnificent old-growth redwoods. The trail starts near Berry Glen, where the Batrel family established a small Depression-era store and fruit stand known well to early travelers for their delicious homemade berry pies.
 

Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Bald Hills Road, approximately 2 miles from Hwy 101 turnoff.
  • Mileage: 1-mile loop
  • Difficulty Level: Easy, level
  • Description: Situated around the dedication site of Redwood National Park, this moderate walk winds through stands of old-growth redwood, Douglas-fir, and tanoak. A brochure at the trailhead corresponds to marked posts along the trail and guides you along this historically significant route. In spring, rhododendrons and azaleas abound, and during the autumn months, vine and big-leaf maple reveal their bold colors.
 

Redwood Creek Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Bald Hills Road. Trail can also be accessed via Tall Trees Grove Trail and Dolason Prairie Trail.
  • Mileage: 8 to Tall Trees Grove Trail, and an additional 6 to Dolason Prairie Trail
  • Difficulty Level: Redwood Creek Trail is moderate; the hike to Dolason Prairie is all up hill, strenuous.
  • Description: For thousands of years, giant redwoods, big-leaf maples, and other moisture-loving plants have flourished in this cool, wind-protected stream valley leading to the Tall Trees Grove. The trees have been sustained by nutrients in the rich soils along the creek. Beginning in the early 1950s, large-scale timber harvesting and road building on the surrounding hillslopes caused extensive erosion and landsliding in the Redwood Creek watershed during floods. One storm in 1964 sent 20 feet of sediment into the creek channel near the headwaters, threatening tall trees, plants, and animals. As the slug of sediment slowly moves from the headwaters to the river mouth, Redwood Creek is beginning to recover, though it may take decades for park staff and nature to complete the restoration process.
  • Winter Hiking:(December - May) Redwood Creek runs high and fast during the winter. Foot bridges across the creek have been removed until the summer season. There are no gravel bars available for camping. Check at the visitor centers before planning your trip for current conditions.
 

McArthur Creek Loop (Horses allowed)

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Orick Rodeo Grounds
  • Mileage: 14
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades with switchbacks
  • Description: Equestrians will find several days worth of riding within the parks with this series of trails (McArthur-Elam Camp-44 Camp) that include backcountry sites at Elam and 44-camps. Capture views of the ocean and Orick Valley as the McArthur Trail climbs up the ridge and enters the forest.

Elam Loop and Horse Camp

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Orick Rodeo Grounds
  • Mileage: 20
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades with switchbacks
  • Description: Orick Horse Trail is a system of trails that runs along the ridges southeast of Orick. The trail lands midway at Elam Creek. Hikers and horse riders can camp in the backcountry at this site near a lush creek, surrounded by redwoods and injected with solitude.

44 Loop and Horse Camp
(Closed to horses, open to hikers)

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Orick Rodeo Grounds
  • Mileage: 32
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades with switchbacks
  • Description: Experience all the forest has to offer: old-and second-growth trees with banana slugs, evergreen huckleberry, salal, and wild ginger on the side.
 

Emerald Ridge Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Take Tall Trees Trail for 1/4 mile to the Emerald Ridge Trail junction; can also be accessed via Dolason Prairie Trail or Redwood Creek.
  • Mileage: 2.8
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: As you descend 580 feet through dense old-growth forest to Redwood Creek, you will pass through an area narrowly saved from logging in the late 1960s. Follow the streambed (only in summer during low water) for 1.5 miles and hook up with the Tall Trees Trail. Climb out of the redwoods for a 4.3 mile loop.
 

Tall Trees Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: U.S. Highway 101 to Bald Hills Road (about 1/2 mile north of Orick, Calif.). Turn right and follow signs to the Redwood Creek Trailhead parking area.
  • Mileage: About 16 miles, round-trip via Redwood Creek Trail.
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, 50-100 feet of elevation.
  • Description: Visitors should plan to spend 8 hours or more hiking round trip to the Tall Trees Grove. See description for Redwood Creek Trail.
 

Dolason Prairie Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Bald Hills Road, approximately 11 miles from turnoff on Hwy 101. Trail can also be accessed via Tall Trees Grove Trail and Redwood Creek Trail.
  • Mileage: 5.9
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades and switchbacks
  • Description: The wide-open spaces of Dolason Prairie offer a hike unlike any in the redwood forest. Meandering across meadows and through oak woodlands, this trail passes a picturesque structure left from a large sheep-herding ranch that operated in this area for almost a century. Red-tailed hawks circle overhead. Black-tailed deer browse the fine prairie grasses, serving as prey for mountain lion. Along the way, hikers have panoramic views of Rodgers Peak, which was clear-cut by timber harvesters during the 1960s and 1970s. The path descends into an old-growth redwood forest flourishing in a deep gorge along Emerald Creek.
 

Lyons Ranch Trail

  • Location: Redwood National Park
  • Trailhead: Marked trailhead is off Bald Hills Road, approximately 17 miles from turnoff on Hwy 101.
  • Mileage: 2
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, some steep grades
  • Description: Chilula, Hupa, and Yurok Indians sustained themselves on these grassy hillsides for thousands of years. They deliberately burned the oak woodlands to enhance the growth of acorns, berries, and grasses that they used for food, baskets, netting, and string. When settlers moved into the area, they established sheep ranches, where prize-winning flocks thrived on grasses created by the Indians’ prescribed burns. Jonathan Lyons, who married Hupa Indian Amelia Misket, adopted many of her family’s practices and used them to improve his large ranching operation.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Did you see that bullet cross the treetops? That's the marbled murrelet! The robin-sized seabird nests on the branches of old-growth conifer trees and flies to and from the ocean at 60 miles per hour. In the ocean, it feeds on fish. This bird is listed as state-endangered and federally-threatened.