Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, named for an American explorer of extraordinary courage, is a feast for the eye. The park protects 10,000 acres of primeval redwood groves, a lush undergrowth of rhododendrons and azaleas, and banks of ferns against giant fallen trees. Established in 1929, this predominately old growth coast redwoods park is bisected by the last major free flowing river in California, the Smith River. Almost all of the park land is water shed for the Smith River and Mill Creek, a major tributary. The park has about 20 miles of hiking and nature trails, river access, a visitor center with exhibits and a nature store. Drive Howland Hill Road (gravel-not recommended for trailers) and stroll in the Stout Grove. This park, along with Prairie Creek, Del Norte Coast, and the National Park Service's Redwood National Park, are managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. These parks make up 45 percent of all the old-growth redwood forest remaining in California.
A nice little stroll with some beautiful trees and a few photo ops. My wife and I did it in the summer. We also walked Walker road back to the river. It's a nice area with some easy walks that most people can do and will enjoy. We probably came across a dozen people that day. We also did the small hikes on the other side of walker road that day.
This is a great relatively short hike through redwoods and ferns that is sure to get your heart pumping! There are several switchbacks that have a steep incline going up to the top of the trail, while the downhill is less severe. The biggest drawback is limited parking right on highway 199, be careful if you have to cross the road.
This is a local favorite. My wife and I take almost every visitor of ours to this trail for its range of benefits. Great trail, can be as long as you want (continues to other great trails...), Mill Creek itself is amazing in its natural beauty and asset as a spawning habitat... Can't go wrong.
We also run it a lot as a training run. Mild grades and very little technical footing.
3 stars for a spring or winter drive, 2 for summer tourist season. Probably the ugliest, dirtiest drive anywhere in the redwoods in the summer. In the winter after some rain it's even a good place to stretch your legs with the dog once the trees gets washed off a bit. There are some good trails of this road as well.
Nice drive, frustrating that NPS lists this as a good option for hiking with your dog. Lovely, if you want to be continually choked by dust and exhaust. I respect sensitive environments and the wildlife concerns of having dogs on trails, but when I see dogless idiots mucking off trails trampling everything in their paths in the name of vacation photography, and then think about being relegated to walking a dusty roadside with my dogs...meh. Like I said, nice drive. Not so nice for a walk.
Excellent trail and views of fantastic old growth redwoods. A very good up and back that starts out uphill to get your breathing regulated and of course ends downhill to get in a cool down. I saw 20-25 cars and 40-50 people and it was offseason after the kids went back to school. Some areas were spaced out enough to be able to see the tops of the trees with the sunrays filtering through. The only downfall to this trail is because of the traffic you have to watch your footing with all the exposed roots on the trail. It was a pleasure to see about an 80 year old couple with their mini packs and hiking sticks doing the trail together If you like this hike you will also like the Howland Hills hike that is only about a mile away. Much less crowded and almost as good.
I hike this trail regularly as I live in nearby Hiouchi. This trail connects with others that can make this hike a very long one through remote areas. I've hiked a 15 mile route (30 miles round trip from the Hwy 199 trailhead) and it goes further. If you do the 40 mile loop, there are camping areas. However, you can reach the same camping area by other, shorter routes. The first part of the Hiouchi trail which parallels the Smith River is the prettiest part of the hike in my opinion.
While this is just a short loop, my daughter and I were there for a couple hours just taking in the beauty. We saw just a couple other people there, probably because it is just a little off the beaten path. You have to watch for it--when we turned on to Walker Rd. we went way past the trailhead because the marker didn't stand out. It's just in a little way and when you see the restrooms, that's where you start. I felt wonderful being there. It's a very easy stroll for all levels.
We loved it and it was a great hike. Easy terrain and pretty views of river and big trees with water access at several points along the way to cool off or picnic. Took 3 kids along and 2 dogs on leash and we went 7.5 miles round trip but could have gone further if we had started earlier. Various other trails go on from there. Trail head was easy to miss and parking not great. Pedometer said 13640 steps! :)