Elk River Trail

MODERATE 9 reviews

Elk River Trail is a 11 mile out and back trail located near Eureka, CA that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

11.0 miles 1770 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash


mountain biking

trail running

horseback riding





2 months ago

Another awesome, well maintained and preserved trail. Saw some beautiful butterflies. Great trail to jog or walk the dog.

trail running
3 months ago

This was an incredible trail run. The first three miles get you warmed up with gentle rolling up/downs, and then the last 2.5 miles really push you since it's mostly uphill. But to end amongst old-growth redwoods is spectacular. I went on the Sunday before July 4th and it wasn't too crowded at all. Any fewer people and I would have been nervous about running by myself. I wish I lived closer so I could run this trail more often!

4 months ago

Very pretty hike. Quite a few people the first mile which is paved, but almost no one after that.

6 months ago

As all previous reviews suggest, the first 3 miles are relatively flat with an occasion gradual increase in elevation. We couldn't go further than mile 3 as the remainder of the trail was closed due to heavy mud. The elevation increases significantly after the third mile at the crossing of the bridge. I believe the total round trip mileage is about 11 miles making this my favorite local hike thus far. Also, no cellphone service on this hike so come prepared.

9 months ago

Great scenery! Enjoyed the little history facts along the first mile. It rained before we went so the ground was very muddy and slippery which made some of the inclines difficult. We weren't able to make it all the way to the top because of the mud. I would love to come back maybe during the summer and try it again!

1 year ago

Mile 1 is a flat, paved road with educational signs along the way. Great for kids and elderly. mile 2-3 is not paved, but still easy (relatively flat). After the mile 3 marker is where you get most of your elevation gain. It is up, up, up. After the mile 4 marker, the trail mellows out quite a bit. The grove is small and very peaceful. No one up there. No sounds of society at all. Take a lunch and chill out for a while. You'll be glad you brought it.

1 year ago

Super fun trail at Elk River/Headwater. Beautiful scenery the entire time. Knees started hurting coming down/back from trail so I just took my time. Wasn't a busy trail so I loved it even more! Stayed hydrated & ate 1 granola bar.

2 years ago

I hiked the first 3.5 miles of the trail before fading daylight forced me to turn around. The first couple of miles is an easy paved trail with very good interpretive signs that detail the history of the logging operation that once flourished here. Even more instructive than the signs are the massive old stumps that lurk in the woods to either side of the trail--sad reminders of the glory this place must have had before humans destroyed it with greed. The trail is pretty and the first couple of miles along the River is good for families with kids or those hikers confined to wheelchairs.

3 years ago

Absolutely beautiful!
This trail is full of surprises, along the first (paved and easy) mile you can take spurs to see remnants of a long past logging town called faulk. There are info plaques at the Faulk site.
The trail follows Elk river for about 3 miles and has a abundance of Alder and Big Leaf Maple. Once you pass this point the main trees are Redwood and Douglas Fir, some of which are Old-growth. (Amazing!) These trees keep the area deeply shaded. The lack of light make for a low underbrush that includes many types of Ferns and Giant Horsetails, totally gives that primeval feeling.
Bring layers and expect rain/mud Oct-may, as this area can get over 100 inches of rain annually! So worth a little moisture!
The BLM office in the neighboring town of Arcata has more info and the number there is 707-825-2300.