An inviting path in the Redwoods of Del Norte County.
The ancient coast redwood ecosystem preserved in the parks of Del Norte
County contains some of the planet's most majestic forests. Redwood
trees are an American icon, the tallest trees in the world. These
amazing complex forests, where trees frequently stretch skyward over
300 feet, beg for exploration.
Walking through a redwood grove
on a fog-shrouded morning can be an unforgettable experience. Sounds
are reduced to the musical gurgle of water trickling among ferns and
mossy rocks. Light ebbs with the somber mist and shafts of sun hang
like cobwebs. Stillness and peace weave their spells upon the
Day One: Redwoods and the Sea – Boy Scout and Beaches
- For a great day mixing a hike through the heart of the
redwood forest and a quiet beach experience try this one. First check a
tide table and plan the beach experience at low tide.
the forest part of the day head out for a short trip on Howland Hill
Road from Crescent City to the Boy Scout Tree Trailhead (at Mile 5 on
Howland Hill). This trail is moderate in difficulty with some uphill.
The hike is about 6 miles in length and generally takes about 4 hours.
This is an adventure into a classic mature redwood forest. Huge
branches hang like elbows down the side of redwood trunks. Look ever
skyward into the canopy to see another redwood tree on a massive
redwood branch. Travel 2-1/2 miles to the fork that leads to Boy Scout
Tree, a mammoth double-trunked redwood, and 3 miles to Fern Falls, a
sparkling cascade that varies with the season.
- For a
wonderful place to dip your toe in the Pacific explore Enderts Beach
and Crescent Beach Overlook. Absorb outstanding Pacific Ocean views
from the overlook; you may even see a gray whale! Walk 1-mile to
Enderts Beach, an access route to a multi-colored, myriad of tidepool
creatures. Be sure to check low tide times. Take Enderts Beach Road off
of Hwy. 101, 3 miles south of Crescent City. Trailers not advised.
Day Two: The Damnation Creek Trail
- Damnation Creek: This strenuous 4-mile
round trip hike through old-growth coastal forest to a private ocean
setting has rewards around every corner. This is a steep trail that
descends 1,000 feet through an ancient forest of immense redwoods,
Sitka spruce, red alder, and all the forest has to offer, traversing
all the way to the ocean. Used in the past by Tolowa Indians
for food gathering at the ocean, the trail offers excellent photo
opportunities of both the forest and the ocean. Expect at least three
hours to complete in a hurry, most plan to enjoy the day. Bring your
own water. Trailhead is located on Highway 101 at mile marker 16.0,
south of Crescent City.
- Not enough for you? Stretch out
on the Last Chance section of the Coastal Trial which intersects the
Damnation Creek Trail. You will be greeted by ocean vistas and more
Day Three: Bikes and Redwoods
Two great options for those with a mountain bike:
- Howland Hill/Little Bald Hills: The
first 10 miles of this trip is a relatively easy ride on the graded
gravel surface of Howland Hill Road. The first climb out of Crescent
City is the only tough grind. Crest the hill and the ride through the
old growth redwood forest can’t be duplicated anywhere on the planet.
This is amazing. At the Little Bald Hills trailhead off Howland Hill
head south and start climbing. This trail climbs out of the redwood
forest into mixed conifers and open prairies with spectacular views.
The trail currently ends 5 miles out at the National and State Park
boundary. The ride back down into the redwood forest makes the climb
worth it. Return to Crescent City via Howland Hill.
- Last Chance Section - Coastal Trail:
A strenuous mountain bike ride, particularly to first several miles.
This 12-mile trail (round trip) includes a difficult climb near the
beginning then levels off on the old abandoned coast highway road.
Trailhead is located at the end of Enderts Beach Road. Ocean vistas
greet you in the first mile; side route (on foot) to Enderts Beach
allows tidepool exploration. Trail ascends on the tough climb through
red alder and Sitka spruce and meets old-growth redwood forest.
Junction with Damnation Creek Trail exists at milepost 16.0 (bikes not
permitted on Damnation Creek); continue south to Coastal Trail junction
with Hwy. 101 and double back for the return trip.