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Set aside in the early 1920s by the forethought of the people of California and the generosity of the Save-the-Redwoods League, Prairie Creek is a sanctuary of old growth coast redwood. Prairie Creek, situated 50 miles north of Eureka off of Highway 101, offers hiking, nature study, wildlife viewing, beach combing, picnicking, a visitor center with exhibits and a nature store. This park, along with Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, 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. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park.

Awesome trail.... The best trail of it's length in the park for me so far. The other 2 I like only slightly better are much longer and harder. Gorgeous hike that is almost all old growth redwoods, Mostly a ridge hike that is up and down with a lot of variety which I enjoy more than just an up and down the mountain hike such as Ossagon which I also did today. A small part of Clintonia isn't redwoods but still very pretty. I saw the most people on the trails today than I've seen all winter... This is a hike that I will take a lot of people on in the future and highly recommend to all.

hiking
4 days ago

Nice little trail with some variety. Not just redwoods but a couple of different types of forests on the way down. Mostly just down close to the beach and back up. I went beyond the trail a little and played in the surf with my lab. It's not really steep but a fair climb back out. Water everywhere on the bottom to go through due to a very rainy winter. Made me appreciate my Altra shoes and Darn Tough socks. The shoes drain great and my feet stayed warm. I don't worry about keeping my feet dry anymore. Probably not a hike I'll repeat but because of the variety and the ocean tossed in worth doing...

hiking
7 days ago

One of the best, if not the best, in the park. The only negative is the coastal road you have to walk on but even that is beautiful especially with the road being closed. I only came across 2 other hikers all day and they were contemplating whether to cross a pretty large stream across the road that I had just waded through. It was cold and wading through Fern Canyon with my lab was a blast. There are some great trees in this portion of the park and Fern Canyon is the gem of the park. The only reason the trail is and should be rated difficult is the sheer distance of the hike and I added another 2.8m to it. There really aren't any real steep or difficult climbs. When I left my car it was in the high 30's but got a little warmer but my feet were still numb for 10 minutes or so coming out of Fern Canyon but Altra running shoes and Darn Tough socks did their job well. The Altra Lone Peak 3.0 is the absolute best trail shoe I've ever worn and grip and drain extremely well. Highly recommend them and this trail. So far only Rhododendron can rival it...

Started at the Miner's Ridge trail and hiked back up to the ranger station on the James Irvine trail which was a total of 11.7 miles. This trail is not nearly as strenuous as it may seem, it's length just takes up a lot of time if taking frequent breaks for pictures, food, rest, etc. Worth every minute though as it was a true adventure. From a recent storm passing through, multiple trees had fallen on different parts of the trail. Not just small easily walked around trees but massive redwoods which at one point completely blocked the trail. This required walking up hill over large splintered pieces of wood to find where the trail resumed again. The streams cutting across the unpaved road to Fern canyon were flooded and a massive mud slide cut across this road as well so being able to maneuver around these obstacles was necessary. All in all, this trail was incredibly satisfying and exploring it is a must for anyone looking for a true adventure.

walking
16 days ago

Drove an hour to do a few different trails but the recent snow wouldn't allow it so since I was already there this would have to do... 34 degrees at the start and supposedly 39 at the finish but everything was still frozen out in the sun at 2 pm. This is a walk down a gravel roadbed that has some young redwoods, a stream and a few stumps from logging. Nothing to write home about... This and the intersecting Streetlow I did a couple of weeks ago are maybe ok anywhere else but so far, for me, the worst 2 trails in the park. It would be a decent walk for someone less mobile. 3 stars are a stretch and only because of a few redwoods. One and done for me...

I worked as a park ranger at Redwood National Park and this easily became one of my favorite trails. A wonderful opportunity to see the redwoods, potentially wildlife, and Fern Canyon, one of the most beautiful areas of the park. Trails will be relatively empty except for Fern Canyon. I can't wait to get the chance to take some of my friends on this trail to explore the beauty of the Redwoods!

The hike on the Zigzag trails and West Ridge Trail is really beautiful and if you could do just these the hike would be 5 stars but to do the figure eight you have to do Prairie Creek. Also you get to do Zigzag #1 twice which was a pleasure. Neither Zigzags are close to the difficulty of South Fork even though they are similar type trails. West Ridge has too many awesome trees to count and at times is tougher than either Zigzag. It's different than any deep redwood forest hike I've done in the Park because you get to see a lot of sun filtering through from the west on top of the ridge. So far in my hikes in the park only.Rhododendron Trail is better because of it's variety. After I finish doing everything in the area my intent is to loop West Ridge and Rhododendron together but I have to wait until summer so there will be enough light in a day to accomplish. I highly recommend this trail. At least Prairie Creek Trail gives you a break because it's almost flat. I only saw 2 hikers away from Prairie Creek and a 1/2 dozen on the creek.

Absolutely amazing! I could have kept on going if I did don't have to pick up my husband from fishing. I will do this hike again. I had my six year old with me and she also loved it. There are a few steep areas. She's a trooper so I wasn't worried. If you want to get lost in one if the most beautiful places, visit this trail. We were basically alone but we also went hiking in late December.

Beautiful trail. I had a 6 & 4 year old with me and they loved it. I needed something safe and not too strenuous for the 4 year old. This one was perfect. By the way did I mention how beautiful it was?

West Ridge and Zigzag are awesome trails. West Ridge is definitely one of the best in the park...the trees and sunlight filtering in are awesome. Prairie Creek however is not... my least favorite so far in the park along with Streetlow. The creek itself is pretty but the trail isn't. West Ridge is one I'll do again for certain and highly recommend. It's gorgeous because you get more sun because of the western exposure...

Awesome trail with the exception of Prairie Creek trail. West Ridge Trail for me is 2nd only to Rhododendron. The trail itself and the trees on West Ridge are awesome. Do to the partial western exposure a lot more sun than many of the trails in the park. I definitely like the ridge trails better for the up and down and around aspect of the hike. It gets the heart rate up and keeps it going milder for better exercise than the up and down trails like Zigzag or South Fork. Highly recommend this one and it would be 5 stars if Prairie Creek Trail wasn't part of it...

I like Big Trees, especially Rhody and Foothill is ok but Prairie Creek Trail for me is the parks worst. I will only be on it when I need to use it as a connector to other trails close by.

So far, and by far, my least favorite trail in the park. There were no Elk in the meadow either. That would have made it much better. The only saving grace is the creek itself. This is definitely a one and done. Unfortunately I have to use pieces of it as connectors to other trails that are excellent.

Was closed due to flood 12/18

hiking
1 month ago

So far, the toughest little trail I've done in Prairie Creek. The climb is all in a half mile... I ended up going up and down and back up it again 2 days ago. Beautiful little tough trail I highly recommend.

This trail is awesome. It's one that i will do many times in the future and highly recommend. There are a couple of old growth redwoods down that you have to climb over. I did South Fork a few days ago and I think it's the toughest little trail in the park. Rhody is the most beautiful and interesting trail in the park....period. One that I'll do again and again. Went through my 3rd camera lately or I'd have awesome pics to post.