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#9 of 90 state parks in California

Best trails in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

2,284 Reviews
Looking for a great trail in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California? AllTrails has 41 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 23 moderate trails in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park ranging from 1.4 to 17.1 miles and from 32 to 1,417 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
Description

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.

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Map of trails in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Park information
Acreage:
14,000 acres
Contact
707-488-2039
Helpful links
Top trails (41)
#1 - Fern Canyon Loop Trail
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(692)
Length: 1.1 mi • Est. 31 m
Fern Canyon is a surrealistic and amazing display of primal ferns growing in a narrow 50-foot-deep vertical walled canyon. The floor is nearly all creek bed which helps provide a contrast of water, gravel, stumps and downed trunks. Fern Canyon was used for several scenes in the movie Jurassic Park 2: Lost Worlds (1997) and the BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs (2000) for very good reason. Expect slow going in the canyon. At least 5 species of fern and dozens of other plant species create an overload of color, shape, and texture. Add to the sensory mix a combination of light climbing over logs, ankle deep creek crossings, little animal surprises (amphibians and in one spot, millions of centipedes), a total lack of modern sounds (if it's not a busy day), birds, insect noises, the breeze through the trees...overall, it is an amazing experience. Drive or hike in. Hiking will make a day trip of it or if you prefer to spend the weekend, there are a number of camping options, Driving in to the park is a small adventure in itself. The road in is largely unpaved but is suitable for 2 w/d cars. These old dirt roads provide a far better visceral experience than paved streets in these forests. But be careful - the road can be narrow and has plenty of blind curves. The final leg of the road traces the coast between the narrow coastal plains and bluffs. It provides access to beach camping and several additional trail heads. Expect 2 or 3 shallow creek crossings on the way in to the canyon. The park is designated as a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve. The park's tree cover primarily consists of old-growth coast redwood, hemlock and Douglas fir. Sitka spruce and Red Alder provide additional forest cover. Because of frequent coastal fogs, the forest understory vegetation can get very lush and dense. Tan oaks, cascara, maples and California bay can be found on edges and grassland spaces. Western azalea and rhododendron bloom in May and June and offer bright accents and pops of color to the dense green of the forest.Show more
#2 - Miner's Ridge and James Irvine Trail Loop
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(390)
Length: 13 mi • Est. 6 h 15 m
Beautiful loop from Prairie Creek Visitor Center down to the beach along a ridge, then about a mile along the beach before heading back through Fern Canyon and up a couple of small river valleys and a saddle. From the visitor center follow the James Irvine trail for about 3/4 mile until the Miner's Ridge trail. It begins quite straight and level, alongside a small stream and through a relatively sunny valley with no large redwoods at first, not until a mile or so when it turns up a side canyon and starts to climb the hillside. Then the trees grow large, the sunlight decreases and the surroundings take on a more mysterious aspect - this is a particularly dense, Tolkienesque part of the forest. The path winds around side canyons and up some steep slopes then after about 2 miles leaves the valley and crosses a more open area, later descending into another valley and finally meeting the scenic parkway. The scenery is monotonous in some ways but always impressive. You can walk along the beach or take the inland dirt road for about a mile north until you hit the trailhead for Fern Canyon/James Irvine trail. Show more
#3 - Clintonia Trail Loop
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(141)
Length: 6.9 mi • Est. 3 h 31 m
Great intermediate hike among the old growth redwoods for a few hours with great picture opportunities. Show more
#4 - Cathedral Trees Trail
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(91)
Length: 3 mi • Est. 1 h 24 m
#5 - James Irvine Trail
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(98)
Length: 10.7 mi • Est. 5 h 23 m
#6 - Big Tree Circle Trail
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(124)
Length: 0.3 mi • Est. 8 m
The "Big Tree Loop" is one of the largest and most accessible of the giant coastal redwoods in the area. If you want a quick walk out to one of the closest big trees, then check out this hike! It's just over a half mile to go around the loop, but you can get to the tree in old a couple minutes from the parking lot if you're toting kids or short for time.Show more
#7 - James Irvine to Fern Canyon to Clintonia to Miner's Ridge
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(58)
Length: 11.4 mi • Est. 5 h 47 m
#8 - South Fork to Rhododendron to Cathedral to Foothill Loop
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(33)
Length: 7.4 mi • Est. 3 h 58 m
Incredible groves of huge redwoods and sequoias, very secluded. Show more
#9 - Miner's Ridge to Clintonia to James Irvine Trail to Davidson Road Loop
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(31)
Length: 7.1 mi • Est. 3 h 27 m
#10 - Cathedral Trees Trail to Prairie Creek Trail
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(59)
Length: 2.9 mi • Est. 1 h 19 m
Showing results 1 - 10 of 41