Thing to Do

Walk the Karl Knapp (Prairie Creek) - Foothill Trail Loop

Looking for tall trees, a beautiful creek, and a perfect loop hike? This is it.

An Easy and Rewarding Loop Trail For All

Note: In late 2021 the Prairie Creek Trail was renamed the Karl Knapp Trail. 
Future signs, publications, and maps will show that name change.

This flat 2.5 mile (4 km) long trail meanders along a babbling creek, under some of the tallest redwood trees in the world, past interpretive wayside panels, and leads you right back to where you started... and it is fully ADA accessible. How great is that?

We recommend that you grab a free Prairie Creek State Park brochure from any of our visitor centers before you begin this walk. There are many other trails, and days of hiking and exploration that lead off from this loop.

This loop goes north a mile, crosses a scenic parkway, and heads south a mile to finish the loop. Of course you can do this loop in either direction! On this recommendation we are doing the loop clockwise starting from the south.

The Karl Knapp Trail begins next to the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Head north on this trail and follow any signs for the "Big Tree" as you follow and cross Prairie Creek. On the hikers' bridges be sure to look down to see what might be swimming by. In autumn, large Coho salmon can be seen spawning in Prairie Creek. After a mile be sure to follow any signs to cross the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and turn right (heading south) to the "Big Tree". Once you pass the Big Tree wayside keep heading south on the Foothill Trail and in a mile you will be heading right back to where you started. One final road crossing across the scenic parkway is needed to finish up the loop.

Parking close to this trailhead can be tough to find in summer. There is plenty of parking for RVs and trailers along the Elk Meadow section of Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.
1-2 Hours
Pets Allowed
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
Year Round
Time of Day
Accessibility Information
The 1.2 miles (1.9 km) of the Karl Knapp (Prairie Creek) Trail is ADA accessible with a 99-foot elevation change. Typical grade is 3%, typical width is 5-feet wide and the trail surface is compact gravel.

The 1.2 miles (1.9 km) of the Foothill Trail is ADA accessible with a 77-foot elevation gain and a typical grade of 3%. The trail is made of soil/aggegate and typically is 5-feet wide.

Service pets are welcome.


Redwood National and State Parks

Last updated: November 2, 2021