Boy Scout Trail

MODERATE 240 reviews

Boy Scout Trail is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Crescent City, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

DISTANCE
4.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
875 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

old growth

no dogs

The Boy Scout Trail ranks as one of the top showcases of old-growth redwood forests in existence with truly huge trees and several distinct redwood forest types. Part of the beauty of Jedediah Smith Redwoods is that it is the single least developed and most pristine old-growth forest around. The Boy Scout Trail has an honest feel of remoteness to it, with not a whisper of modern sounds to be heard. Catch this trail on a sunny morning and the filtered slanting rays reveal a stunning variety of textures and color variations on the redwood's bark. In the fogs of this region, the sense of mystery becomes astounding. This is an out-and-back hike and unlike other hikes, both directions are amazing, revealing a constant supply of sights you may have missed on the way in. It's really a toss-up over which direction is better. The trip to the trail head is an adventure as you walk through a magnificent old-growth grove on Howland Hill Road. Much of the route is on an old dirt logging road that's kept well graded. If you've never toured on logging roads, you should absolutely do it! There's a visceral something totally lacking on paved roads. This one's easily passable in 2WD. At the trailhead, located in a spectacular redwood grove, there's a little pullout that can accommodate about six cars.

hiking
7 days ago

I need to find out why this trail is called the Boy Scout Trail.

This is a fantastic easy trail in the Jedediah Smith Redwood Forest.
The trailhead is located on the Howland Hill road. The easiest way to locate this road is to locate the Elk Valley Casino on your navigation system. It is on Howland Hill about 1/2 mile from the entrance to the park. Howland Hill starts out as a 2 lane asphalt road and narrows to a one lane asphalt road. At the entrance to the forest, the road turns to gravel. As many have mentioned, it is gravel and weaves between massive trees. There are many pull outs to pass oncoming cars but DO NOT get in a hurry. From the Jediadiah Smith Forest sign to the trailhead is exactly 2.5 miles. It is well marked and the first trail head with many parking areas
.

The trail rises 480 feet as you wind thru a grove of massive trees. Several trees are pushing 12 feet or better in diameter. Take time and note the small trees growing on top of old ancients that have fallen. Note several trees with lightning damage. The area is lush with fern, some standing 6 feet tall. Notethe moss handing from many trees. Note the different colors and textures in the bark. The grey ones are oldest. You absolutely cannot understand the majesty of redwoods without getting back in the woods with them. They will humble you. Many of this grove stood when Christ walked the earth. Just imagine.

The trail drops over the rise down to a small waterfall. It is running but not much but has a wonderful little sound echoing thru the woods. Stop, sit down, listen and reflect what is about you. You then will climb back up 480 feet to cross the rise. So the actual elevation change for the trail is 960 feet. But it is very easy. It all dirt with some root exposures.


The trail is 5.7 miles long and took us hours just because we took time to absorb the experience.
Enjoy

17 days ago

Beautiful hike and one of our favorites! The drive to it was a bit dicey in a big truck. Great trees!

18 days ago

This was definitely our favorite hike in the Redwoods. It’s rated moderate but was actually pretty easy. There are lots of roots on the trail though, so wear good shoes. The trees are MASSIVE and Boy Scout Tree is just remarkable. The drive in is gorgeous too as you get huge redwoods right next to the road.

21 days ago

Absolutely stunning. This trail is rated as moderate, but felt easier than other moderately rated trails because it does not have a lot of elevation gain. However, it does have a lot of roots so you do need to watch your step. The first two miles were my favorite. You're walking through lush ferns and redwood groves. It's just unreal. The trail veers off to the right with a sign pointing toward a steep incline to the Boy Scout tree. The falls beyond the Boy Scout tree was just there. Nothing special.

29 days ago

great trail. The views are amazing. Trail is good terrain but lots of tree roots so wear good shoes. All ages can do. some parts people may need a little help. lots of good resting trees along the way. 3 1/2 hours start to finish with a couple short rests the way
Would do it again for sure so much to see. the waterfall was a small one but beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

An absolute slice of Heaven. Yes you must use hiking poles. Yes you must stop every so often and look up. Even the dirt road driving to the trailhead weaves in and out of all the massive-sized trees. HOWEVER, there were wads of used TOILET PAPER everywhere along the trail!!!! Come on people, if you take it in, PACK IT OUT!!!!!! As I said, this is an absolute slice of Heaven; let's keep it that way.

1 month ago

This hike is beautiful!! Highly recommended checking it out(:

1 month ago

Absolutely amazing part of the Jed Smith Redwoods. This is by no means a strenuous “hike”. It is a majestic 5 mile walk among some of the largest trees in the world. I highly recommend to ignore the clock and gps (neither of which you need in the first place) and fully experience this sacred trail for what it is. Take your time and go early.

hiking
1 month ago

2hr 45mins with 11 and 15 yr old. Measured 6.2 miles incl the falls. Great hike, great redwoods. Roots slow you down a bit but good payoffs at the end of the out and back at boy scout tree and waterfall. Cruddy gravel road to get there. Supposedly the most popular trail in Jedediah but we got there at 2pm on a Wednesday (Aug 1) and parked right at the trail head.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail was pretty dry this time of year, no mud. There is a small sign for the Boy Scout tree that veers off the trail to the right and up a ways. We missed it on the way to the little falls, but caught it on the way back. Nice trail. I’m willing to bet it’s not nearly as crowded as in the Redwoods National Park, and probably just about as good. Keep an eye on the trail, the roots can really trip you up. This took me and my sister about 2 hours total walking about 3-4 mph.

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely incredible Redwoods & forest. Like hiking through the primordial period.

hiking
1 month ago

wonderful hike in the redwoods! We started about 8am, had the trail & waterfalls to ourselves. Met lots of people going back.. go early! Poles can keep you from tripping on the roots!

2 months ago

Stunning walk with the Redwoods!

hiking
2 months ago

Awe-inspiring hike. Walking among these giants is so incredible. Once you get to the Boy Scout tree, you could easily turn around and have seen all the best stuff. The tiny waterfall at the end isn’t much to see. But the trees on the way are amazing. Hardest part is trying not to trip as you look up!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike , pretty easy but worth the drive . More used trail than I thought it would be. I was not disappointed

2 months ago

It was beautiful. at 75 and 66 we took our time. It took us just short of 4 hours. We did manage to out pace the couple with small children.
I would recommend.

2 months ago

Beautiful. Longer than 4.8 by a bit if you go to the falls. Even in late June not too crowded along the way and lush with ferns and other greenery. Trail does have a lot of exposed root along the way - just remember to stop and look up and around often and take it all in. Will be back frequently!

2 months ago

nice forests , a waterfall .. good fun .. trails a bit rough in patches , but adds to the adventure

hiking
3 months ago

Overwhelming beautiful. We did the hike in June and did not have any mud on the trail. There are large roots which require you to watch your footing often. Just remember to look up frequently as there is never a dull moment on this trail. We crossed 5 small bridges. The waterfall is at the turnaround. It took us about 3 hours as we stopped often to appreciate the scenery. We had hiked the Lady Bird Johnson Trail the previous day, this was much better! Saw about 15 people over the course of the whole trail, on a Saturday afternoon.

3 months ago

Wonderful trail love it all scouts a must do

3 months ago

This is by far one of my favorite hikes. This trail runs beneath the canopy of old growth trees. It is well marked and carefully maintained. We'll definitely be back.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike, shaded of course. A few small bridges over streams. We went in the middle of April and the trail was quite muddy so we were all happy we wore our hiking boots. It’s an in an out trail so we went about an hour and a half in and took us 40 minutes to get back out. Easy hike I would take all ages on!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike. It was a pretty decent hike but nothing crazy & easily doable for multiple types of hikers.

5 months ago

Redwoods and ferns galore. Fresh air surrounded by nature’s wonders. Great trail...

5 months ago

Great trail. Was a bit muddy but the shear volume of trees and their size made it a minor inconvenience. Beautiful ferns.

hiking
5 months ago

This trail is amazing. It took a while to complete because I kept stopping along the way to admire the beauty of it all. It was an easy, long, and beautiful hike. Definitely one of the best in the area. Here's a video I made to highlight the scenery along this trail: https://youtu.be/8E8vg1rr170

6 months ago

Incredibly beautiful trail with a new amazing view around every corner! There are some old growth and new growth parts. We found ourselves stopping frequently to marvel at these incredible trees.

Dogs are NOT allowed - there was a sign at the trailhead. It also was a bit muddy when we went but nothing too bad.

6 months ago

Really great trail. Plan more time then you typically would on a 5 mile trail because you will be in awe of the Redwoods (lots of pics) also the trail was not busy at all which was a very pleasant surprise. Would highly recommend

hiking
6 months ago

This was an amazing hike.
We passed boy scout tree on the way, so we found it on the way back. Around every corner opened up to new amazing views of the redwoods. Total milage for one way came into 2.9, because of going off trail to see boy scout tree.
Total miles round trip was about 6.
No huge inclines, overall pretty easy/medium hiking level.
It was so muddy because it rained a day prior. I don't recommend doing this hike in the rain. We went on a lucky sunny day.

hiking
7 months ago

Every time you round the corner on this trail there is a new breathtaking view. It truly is beautiful out here. I went early in the morning and was all alone on the trail - there was silence in the woods and it just added to the ambiance. The creek and waterfall were nice viewpoints, and there were plenty of downed trees along the way that could provide a nice resting spot if you need one or just want to sit and enjoy the view.

Be warned that the trail itself gets really muddy if it has rained within the last week, but you can still navigate it if you proceed with caution. The road leading up to the trail isn’t the most fun for smaller cars - lots of bumps and it’s very narrow - but it’s also manageable with caution.

I loved this trail and will definitely come back again. I encourage everyone reading this to check it out.

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