Fall Creek and Lost Empire Trail Loop

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Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Fall Creek and Lost Empire Trail Loop is a 9.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Felton, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and horses and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 9.7 miles Elevation Gain: 2,191 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

running

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

washed out

no dogs

NOTE: It has been reported that the parking lot is CLOSED due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information. The Fall Creek trail follows Fall Creek up the drainage. Explore this beautiful babbling creek and the natural surrounding of Henry Cowell Redwood State Park. Note that you may need to do a little off trail scrambling at the point denoted by the Erosion waypoint.

Great trail with lots of shade. Bring water. Counter clockwise is a lot more steady uphill with steeper downhill clockwise is the way to go.

hiking
5 days ago

Huge redwoods and Fall Creek were really, really beautiful, and the trail is a workout without being too difficult.

hiking
8 days ago

Clockwise is a kick in the butt but you get the uphill done quicker. It is briefly a fire road but single track for the most part. Parking lot was open as of May 28, 2020. Nice scenery and shade. Some poison oak but mostly off of the trail.

Long but great trail!!

Such a beautiful hike. Plenty of shade and redwoods are amazing! street parking is available. Trial is much longer than advertised 9.7 miles

Great trail, ended up being about a 2.3k vert and 10 miles for me. 4 hours with a quick lunch break. Bring plenty of water and snacks! Oh, and a positive attitude. It’s beautiful here :)

muddy
18 days ago

easy but very beutiful no signs to guide you. but over all beutiful will do this hike again

hiking
20 days ago

Peaceful hike in the woods on a pretty, shaded trail. There is a parking lot at the trail head with no bathrooms, however the lot was closed due to Covid. (People were parking along the side of the road.) Hiked counterclockwise; took me about 3 hours and 15 mins.

hiking
bridge out
muddy
off trail
21 days ago

Overall great trail, definitely more than 8 miles. My watch clocked me out at 11 miles and 5 hours. Really steep up hill and downhill. At some point the trail seems to end but you must cross a few logs and a few trees. Parking lot is closed due to Covid19 but you can park on the side of the road. Be careful as drivers tend to drive by at high speeds and carelessly. If you are not from the area , heads up the road to get there is full of curves and narrow. We unfortunately encountered an angry local flipping us off and yelling at us over driving the speed limit through curvy sketchy areas so heads up! Pack light and wear appropriate shoes. Difficult hike for us but definitely worth it, the beauty of nature there is beyond words can describe.

hiking
2 months ago

Recommend counter clockwise

hiking
2 months ago

I brought a matcha latte and enjoyed this hike so much. It’s my new favorite, second would be skyline, third big basin. I did this clockwise, the first part is a challenging uphill hike, which I loved, then the rest of it is even! I may try it the other way which people on here claim is easier, but I enjoy challenging hikes so this was fun! There is a river you have to cross, like people said, so please be careful, don’t go fast. I went through the river and rocks instead of walking on the log, I’d rather get my feet wet then fall and/or slip off the log and get hurt. Please be careful. Also another tip when using this app, make sure you leave it on at all times. You know how you can swipe your phone up and close the app? Don’t close it. Because even when there is no reception, the record button continuously tracks where you are on the map, even when signal is all out. So please keep the map record button on at all times, so you don’t risk getting lost. The reception disappears when you’re in the shaded areas mostly. Have fun, it was definitely fun for me!

This was a great trail. Loved that it was next to the creek for most of it. There’s a sign at the trail head which warned that the fall creek trail is closed by the barrel mill due to land slide. I was worried it was going to impede my loop. Other hikers were giving me mixed messages if that area was actually closed. When I got there it was very easy to climb around. There a tree down you walk across. It was so easy small children were doing it. So don’t let the sign fool you. Overall lovely loop.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Great hike any season! Do it counterclockwise, it’s a lot easier. Takes about 4 hours with stops. It’s all in the shade. At times you’ll have to squat or jump over trees and branches. Great and moderate workout.

hiking
3 months ago

We did not do the loop but instead did the Big Ben Tree and back via the Lost Camp route which I believe is about 6.6 miles there and back. Elevation gain is about the same I would guess since Big Ben is the top. We are both trying to get back in shape for longer hikes and this one was pretty hard for me, but a great way to test myself. I like that it had good amounts of flat trail between the uphill. Going back down can be hard on the knees. I feel like people saying is super easy are actually doing the Falls Creek to Kilns loop which is super easy and all flat pretty much or they are in excellent shape. I would say if I was better shape l’d still call the 2 miles from the stream to Big Ben moderate. The first mile before you hit that is super easy and part of the easy loop. Bottom line it’s beautiful and the whole way is pretty much shaded. Actually got cold on the way down! Bring lots of water and a snack for the top!

Recommend this trail. Took us about 4 hrs. Did this clockwise. For easier option, do it anti clockwise. Stream by the trail feels so good!

Th is trail is awesome. So much nature to take in and man paths to trek.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this counterclockwise on Sunday afternoon. The Lost Emperor section is easier going up since it is steeper and rougher. From Big Ben tree on wards it is an easy descent to the parking lot. The bypass for the eroded section can be tricky.

One of our favorite trail in the Bay Area. Completely shaded the whole way, challenging enough for an immediate hiker. This trail is not as well maintained as other trails, so we had to jump through fallen trees and pass through creek (I soaked my shoe once) but these at part of the fun!

hiking
5 months ago

Great easy loop trail, brought a bottle of wine to enjoy after reaching the end and watched the banana slugs.

hiking
6 months ago

Very nice *easy* loop with beautiful views and lots of shade. It’s a popular trail, so you have to deal with some trail traffic and parking congestion.

Good but not all that exciting, good for people who want a chill trail though!

hiking
7 months ago

Lots of shade and the water sound from the stream is peaceful.

hiking
bridge out
washed out
7 months ago

great trail i usually hike in the north Sierra around Tahoe this was a nice change of pace ,nice history around the the o wood argee its more like 10 miles verry cool trail

hiking
over grown
rocky
washed out
8 months ago

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