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.
great looking trail except that about .25 miles onto the hike there is a water crossing with official bridging. there is a series of logs going across the water with one running up at about 45 degree angle to the top of the steep inbankment. The log was wet and looked like a possible slip hazard, especially come down, and I wasn't willing to risk falling in the water with my camera equipment. The creek water level was high and flowing rapidly due to the recent high rainfall. I was told later in the day that during the summer months they put up cable crossings in areas like this, so I guess this gives me a reason to come back.
Not a whisper of modern sound, eh? As I got out of the car, there was a fog horn just there on the edge of hearing. I could almost be imagining it. As I continued along the trail, it got louder, never missing a beat. As I went, it was joined by traffic noise. There is no mystery as to why this might be if one looks at the map. The falls do drown out all these noises. The trees are impressive and each one unique and rewarding if one takes the time to look. However, when one takes the time to listen, the nearby traffic has plenty of contributions.
Started the hike at 10:30 am and the temp was 36 degrees. It probably was colder at the top around 01:00 pm. Any time the trail was exposed it was frozen. Pretty crunchy... The trail climbs about 1600' and out and back to the park boundary is 10 miles. The climb is steady but never really that steep. It's a very steady ascent for about 4 miles. I really enjoyed the trail's variety. The 1st mile or so are nice but small redwoods compared to the rest of the park. After that you go through a lot of different types of forest. The only real negative to me was some parts of the trail had gravel and I much prefer natural surfaces. I never saw another hiker and was very surprised I didn't see Elk or Deer even though I saw signs that they're there. It will be one of my go to hikes in the future and one I highly recommend.
This was a great hike! We had 3 little ones with us - ages 6,4,2 and they did great! Lots of trees to explore and logs to climb on. We didn't trust the directions at first and parked out on the road - follow the directions all the way to the trailhead!