Austin Creek State Recreation Area is adjacent to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve and is accessed through the same entrance. With open woodlands, rolling hills, and meadows, its topography offers a strong contrast to the dense, primeval redwood forest below. Here you will discover deep tree-lined ravines cooled by year round streams; grassy hillsides burnished golden by the heat of summer sun and turned emerald by plentiful winter rains; oak capped knolls that seem to float like islands on lakes of lowland fog; and rocky mountaintops that showcase an almost panoramic view. A paradise for the hiker and equestrian, Austin Creek rewards the explorer with twenty miles of trails and panoramic wilderness views, back-country camping, and Bullfrog Pond Campground- accessible by vehicle. The park's rugged topography, with elevations ranging from 150-1500 feet in elevation, offers a sense of isolation from the accustomed sights and sounds of civilization. This wilderness area is home to a rich diversity of native animals and plants. The springtime wildflower displays include Douglas iris, Indian paint brush, buttercups, lupines, brodiaes, California poppies, and shooting stars. The grasslands, chaparral, conifer, oak woodland, and riparian habitats of Austin Creek SRA are home to a wild range of native animals including squirrel, deer, raccoon, fox, coyote, skunk, bobcat, and an occasional black bear or mountain lion. Introduced species that are commonly seen include feral pigs and wild turkeys. Bird life in the park includes the colorful wood duck and the rare spotted owl. Other more frequently seen birds include great blue herons, ravens, black-shouldered kites, California quail, various woodpeckers, hawks, and flycatchers. Several aquatic species live in Bullfrog pond including sunfish, black bass, and bull frogs. Trout, salmon, newts and salamanders are found in the many streams. Licensed anglers may fish Bullfrog Pond, but all streams are closed to fishing to protect important spawning habitat. A historic feature of Austin Creek SRA is the remaining buildings of Pond Farm Pottery. This was the home, workshop, and school of the internationally renowned ceramic artist, Marguerite Wildenhain, who settled here after World War II. Formerly a student at Germany's famous Bauhaus school of design, Wildenhain enjoyed and was inspired by the peace and natural beauty of this area. Park is open 8 AM to 1 hour past official sunset. Be advised that vehicle access to the park and campground is by way of a steep, narrow, winding, 2.5-mile-long, mountain road. For safety reasons, no vehicle over 20 feet in length is allowed on this road. Vehicles with trailers or other towed vehicles are also prohibited.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Strava has this hike at 9.3 miles and 2100 feet so don't believe AllTrails. And the extra mile is tough! Did this in "reverse" from Gilliam Creek trail looping back on the fire road. Very little water flowing in mid August. 3h 45min. Only 2 other hikers on a Sunday. Entrance to the park is through Armstrong SP so watch out if Google maps says otherwise!

hiking
2 months ago

Took the Gilliam creek trail 12:30 pm was perfect start for mid day start. The 10 mile loop was challenging with river crossings, obstacles from our wet winter, steep elevation changes. We had 5 liters water we could have brought more. We saw 4 other people on trail. The meandering creeks were beautiful. The oak trees were stunning to view. We saw deer, snakes, turkey,crawfish,wild boar and a lot of birds. We will return to see the other seasons. Highly recommend

Did this backwards. Started at Gilliam creek. Finished on the fire road. All ip hill for almost 3 miles. Amazing variety of scenery but lots of creek crossings. A good solid workout.

Great trail that leads down a fire road to some beautiful creeks. The Second half of the hike you have alot of creek crossings, then a solid 1.5 mile climb back to the trailhead.

Very hard, wading through rivers