Redwood National and State Parks: Prairie Creek Trail
Note: In late 2021 the Prairie Creek Trail was renamed the Karl Knapp Trail. Future publications, maps, and signs will show the new name.
Trailhead for Prairie Creek Trail.
Not to be missed! These wheelchair accessible trails make a breath-taking 2.5 mile (4km) loop under redwoods. Many other trails fork off from the route in this description - but signs along the trails allow for easy way finding.
During this walk you will experience groves of some of the world's tallest redwoods, and you be able to rest on benches next to a babbling creek. Some of these trees are more than 310 feet (100m) high.
This loop is a combination of the Karl Knapp Trail, the Foothills Trail and a few hundred feet of the Cathedral Trees Trail. The loop begins and ends in front of the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. From this starting point, the Karl Knapp trail heads north and follows creeks and the bottom of hillsides. There are two pedestrian bridge crossings and late autumn keep an eye out for salmon swimming or spawning below you. There are redwood benches located in a couple of places along the scenic trail. After a mile, the Karl Knapp Trail then forks east - towards the sounds the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and to the "Big Tree Wayside".
After crossing the parkway you will be on the Foothills Trail. Follow the signs south to the Big Tree Wayside. Once at the "Big Tree" keep following the Foothills Trail south for less than a mile. This part of the Foothills Trail parallels the Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway.
At the southern end of the Foothills Trail you will take a fork onto the Cathedral Trees Trail. Then head west on the Cathedral Trees Trail for a few hundred yards - crossing the parkway - back to the Prairie Creek Visitor Center.
Roosevelt elk can be blocking the trail and it's important not to approach these large and wild animals. If you need to turn back - then that is the smartest decision to make.
Parking close to this trailhead can be hard to find in summer. There is plenty of parking for RVs and trailers along the Elk Meadow section of Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
- Use the zoom feature to explore trails and other digital map features in greater detail.
- Don’t solely rely on online maps when you are here.
- We recommend you use a physical map or trail guide for your adventures in Redwood National and State Parks.
- Staff are available at visitor centers to help with additional trip planning needs.
- To protect the habitats, leave no trace also means staying on the developed trail. Please don’t go off-trail and make any new trails. These forests grow by the inch, and will die by your foot.
- To protect the wildlife (and you and other visitors), pets are not allowed on park trails.
- Cell coverage is very limited and cannot be relied on in an emergency. Have a plan for checking in and checking out with a friend when you are here.