Damnation Creek Trail

MODERATE 47 reviews

Damnation Creek Trail is a 3.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Klamath, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

3.5 miles
1177 feet
Out & Back



nature trips

trail running





wild flowers


old growth

no dogs

1 month ago

Awesome trail. Time yourself and know your limits, coming out can be tough. Amazing seeing old growth to the beach. Can’t beat.

5 months ago

Awesome hike! I loved hiking through the beautiful redwoods and coming out at the beach. The hike back up is a bit tiring but soo worth the it!

6 months ago

May discover a fantastic view with the combination of the sun & fog. Therefore you'd like to do it before 1pm. A bit pity that they closed the bridge to the beach this summer (2017 August). Yet, so much fun hike up and down so better for you to prepare a pair of good hiking shoes. (Some places a bit slippy, pay attention)

6 months ago

Damnation Creek Trail is a great hike through the coastal redwoods, winding through literally thousands of old growth trees. The trail is lined with huge ferns and lush redwood sorrel. If you don't want the big elevation change, just stroll up the first half mile or so of this trail. The footbed is ideal: wide, softly cushioned, and few roots or rocks. It's one place that you can gaze up at the giant trees without tripping -- don't try that on the Boy Scout Tree Trail, where the nearly continuous nest of hazardous roots demands constant vigilance.

The trail sign says steep and strenuous, but in fact the route is well graded on 23 switchbacks (some very short). The only steep part (temporarily) is climbing around the derelict bridge at the beach end... a bit slippery if there is mud. The return hike climbs steadily but seems mild despite the 1100-foot ascent. Perhaps the fantastic forest scenery distracts! Take it slow and easy, and the beautiful hike ends too quickly.

Once the trail crosses to the west side of the ridge, the bad highway noise (trucks ascending the mountain) soon fades. Frankly we did not notice the intrusion until the return trip. The moisture from the Pacific must keep the sea slope wetter, since it didn't appear dried out in August like other areas did.

About halfway to the bottom, the trail slabs a steep gorge; you are looking out at the mid-story of redwoods still towering above, but the trucks originate far below in the gorge. It's a great way to appreciate how tall these "plants" really are! Then the redwoods give way to mature western hemlock and other trees. The beach itself is long and lovely at low tide, with natural arches in the cliff and sea stacks. You could walk at least a half mile south along the cove's beach, but pay attention to an incoming tide or you might get trapped! Near high tide, the beach would be inaccessible and dangerous.

We had the beach all to ourselves for an hour in the late morning, at the time of day that other trails already are jammed. Definitely arrive early if you want the experience of complete solitude among the splendor of the redwoods. They are beautiful even if there is fog, and the trail is easy to follow.

The "real" trailhead is right at mile marker 16.0. The parking spreads out along the road, so there are many trampled exits like a river delta. Go have fun, whether or not you venture beyond the upper, nearly-level portion of the trail!

7 months ago

Hike was very scenic. There is a little bit of everything to see on this hike from huge redwoods to a beautiful beach. It was challenging, but rewarding. Ocean view made this hike worth the difficult climb back. Bridge is closed, but we were able to navigate the terrain down the right side of the bridge and cross the very small creek to the other side. After the creek, it was about .1 miles to the beach.

7 months ago

Beautiful trail! Amazing redwoods, great ocean views. Trail is not in great shape however, somewhat overgrown. Also there is a sign that says a bridge is out and there is no beach access, however we were able to make it to the beach just fine, no bridge issues or anything. Good trail.

8 months ago

went over 4th of july weekend on this lovely trail. when you get to the beach, look for a trail that veers off to the right for the stairway access so you don't have to scramble over the rocks. the cool weather definitely worked in my favor on the way back up, lol!

8 months ago

Going down is easy peasy and the views and beach are amazing! Coming back up is a little harder but totally worth the trip.

8 months ago

Wow. Wow. Wow. The beach sneaks up on you at the end, and it is absolutely glorious. This was the hardest "moderate" hike I've done, but it was worth it.

9 months ago

A really great short(er) hike. If you do any sort of elevation change hiking you will be totally fine on the way back. Otherwise take lots of breaks. Even though there is a sign that says bridge failure you are able to take the trail all the way out to the beach.

9 months ago

We have done about 15 hikes in the last week and a half across the country and this is by far in the top 2. Great trail, well maintained, easy to follow. I will say it is moderate trail going down....and hard coming back up. I'd be in shape to do this one!!! Well worth it though you get redwoods, green feens, and rock beach with succulent covered cliffs all in one trail!!

9 months ago

this is such an amazing breathtaking hike. Great views, coming back up I thought, was easier than going down. So worth the trek and 1000ft drop

9 months ago

Beautiful scenery! It is quite a hike back out, but don't let that stop you.

9 months ago

Great little morning workout with a beach view at the end, nice cove! Make sure you start at the trailhead - hiking lesson #1 haha epic fail (you will know what I am talking about if you don't). A sign said the bridges were washed out but they were stable and intact.

10 months ago

This trail looks rad on paper but so far this season it is too soon to attempt it. There are trees and limbs down all over the place and we lost the trail more than once in the first hundred yards. We turned around and came out an eighth of a mile from where we had parked. The hike looks great just not ready yet.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

One of my top 2 all time favorite hikes in CA! Beautiful and well kept trail. Gorgeous majestic Redwoods during the first 3rd or so. Playing at the ocean at the bottom. The overlook just above the water is special. Just love this hike. We were camping at Mill Creek. My wife even collected mussels along the shore and cooked them back at camp. Not too strenuous of a hike. Takes about an hour to get back up once at the ocean floor.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

need to be in better shape for this one. wasn't expecting switch back steep hills, but a great work out and the view at the end was amazing!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Good hike that I enjoyed especially because of the beautiful redwoods and the cardio on the way back. If you're not in reasonable shape don't do this hike. There is only a few hundred yards of flat ground on the 4.2 mile hike. If you are looking for a nice beautiful beach stop at Crescent City. If you want to step on this beach at all check your tide schedule. Today was an incoming close to high tide with a good swell and there wasn't a beach. The trail was in pretty good shape but still needed a little work even though a dozen trail workers were on their way up as I was going down. There is a sign saying the bridge isn't usable but it is and the sign that was on the bridge itself is no longer there. That may have been what the crew was doing this morning. I was expecting to see more than the 2 other hikers that I saw on the trail. Overall a very good hike that I enjoyed and will repeat.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Trailhead is at right of lot. Redwood forest down to ocean cove- what's not to love?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The hike to the bottom is relatively easy but coming back up is pretty tiring. The beach is beautiful. The trail is pretty but it was in rough shape when I went. Definitely worth the hike back up

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Beautiful hike through the Redwoods. Most of the elevation change is in the mile closest to the shore which makes it strenuous.

Monday, August 10, 2015

One of my favorite hikes ever. A moderate hike that starts in the redwoods of Northern California and ends at a secluded beach that's only accessible from the trail. It's a great place to whale watch during the season.

It's different in the fact that you start the hike by going down in elevation and then up on the way back. You start out in the Redwoods that have their natural distinct color. The trail is clearly marked the entire route. When you get closer to the ocean, you'll notice that the redwood bark greyish-white. This is due to the moist salt-air.

After 0.6 miles, you'll come to a crossroads with the Coastal Trail. You should stay to the right and on the trail that goes up in elevation a bit. You'll follow that for another 0.1 miles and come to another crossroads with the Coastal Trail.

At that point you'll see the sign for the continuing "Damnation Creek Trail." When I went recently, there was a sign that warns of a bridge under reconstruction. It also says there is no beach access. Don't let this discourage you.

When you reach the bridge you'll notice it's still intact. It's missing the support for the middle. Therefore, if you walk across it you'll feel it bob up and down. I've walked across it and it's fine so long as you don't jump.

If you don't feel comfortable walking across the bridge, there has been a makeshift path cut to the right of the bridge. The creek that you cross is about a foot and a half wide, so you should have no trouble crossing.

Once you get to the beach, you're up on a rock face that has a path to the right to climb down. It's a little steep, but anyone can do it. Then, you're at the ocean!

The trailhead pull off is about 8 miles south of Crescent City on the right.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Very majestic being surrounded by these old and enormous Redwoods. The hike is a bit difficult and even more so with four children, 9yr old, 7yr old, 5yr old and 3yr old on my back. But totally worth it, beautiful nature and awesome family time.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

This trial started off in the redwoods...so it was quite beautiful from the very beginning. You hike half a mile and then you intersect with the costal trail. Proceed north a few more feet and you will notice the trail head on your left. This trail does drop 1000 feet in less than three miles. So prepare yourself for quite a dive down and a climb out. If you are capable...do it. We reached the beach and only shred the site with starfish, clams and hermit crabs. I have never seen anything so beautiful. The mountains rolled right into the sea. We hiked early so there was still a fog covering the tops of the mountains. It made the moment all that more surreal.

We would recommend this to anyone and would definitely do this again. The trial was well maintained and well marked. Just beware of the climb down and out.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The name refers to the damnation a hiker will feel when he/she goes back up. I wouldn't worry about it, though. If you're in reasonable shape it won't be bad, even if the descent is abrupt and intimidating. A round-trip hike probably takes 2-4hrs - so don't expect a quick visit to the beach. The beach, by the way, provides spectacular views of the rocky coastline. There's a good chance you will see interesting skeletons or carcasses of battered animals on the rough shore, I myself found the large skull of a strange fish I could not identify (not an expert... yet) I also saw a group of what I believe to be Black Oystercatchers, which are sea birds with distinctive orange beaks, hanging out on the beach.

One concern I hear is that the trailhead is right along 101, so hikers have to listen to traffic a bit of the way down. This might be true but I cannot confirm it, I was probably caught up in the forest scenery to notice. These redwoods are the real deal. I loved the nutrient-rich soil beneath my feet and the fog-fed trees towering above me.

All in all, Damnation Creek Trail is a perfect marriage of the Pacific Northwest ocean & forest ecosystems. The shift between the two is dramatic and rewarding.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Didn't finish this one. Starts at a unmarked turnout on Hwy 101, but there's always cars parked there at the trail-head. Goes around a hill and then down down down. About half-way in I could see it was going to drop about 1000 feet in a mile.. too steep for my taste. At least the return would have been. So I bailed. It's really nice scenery though, through old-growth redwoods.

Monday, December 09, 2013

A pretty straightforward descent through typical redwood forest on a bunch of long switchbacks. It's steep but not too steep, so the 1000 descent isn't that bad. The grassy ledge at the end of the trail is nice, overlooking a rocky beach and a bunch of sea stacks, it even has a small rock arch. When we were there at the beginning of December we could see some seals and a bunch of gray whales pretty close to the shore. It's the only trail I've done so far in Del Norte' but I like it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

This is the trail that proposed to my wife on. Located in the Del Norte Redwoods park. The trail head is on the west side of the road, and not very distinguished. The hike is easy going down through old growth redwoods and a section of burned area. As you approach the coast line there is a foot bridge with a very unique tree growing next to it. Great place for a photo op. once over the bridge, the ocean is only 100 yards away through some tall grasses. And then the best part; the natural land pier that goes out into the water with waves crashing all around. My wife and I recently redid this trail to remember our engagement. The only caution is the hike out. 2.1 miles UP about 1000 vertical feet. This is one of my favorites.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A hard hike out to sea then you have the place to yourself ; )

4 months ago

Load More