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CALIFORNIA SPORTS PARADISE
Your portal to outdoor sports in California
CALIFORNIA'S ON-LINE MAGAZINE FOR OUTDOOR SPORTS

DAY HIKING
Northern Coast
Central Coast
Southern Coast
Northern Sierras
Southern Sierras
ROAD BIKING
Northern Coast
Central Coast
Southern Coast
Northern Sierras
Southern Sierras
MOUNTAIN BIKING
Northern Coast
Central Coast
Southern Coast
Northern Sierras
Southern Sierras
PADDLE SPORTS
Northern Coast
Central Coast
Southern Coast
Northern Sierras
Southern Sierras
SURFING
Northern Coast
Central Coast
Southern Coast
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST'S BEST DAYHIKES
By Stan Delk

CRESCENT CITY AREA

YUROK TRAIL LOOP

Located about 15 miles south of Crescent City in Redwood National Park, this is a popular, easily accessible, 1 mile hike through stands of old-growth giant redwoods. The trail's proximity to Lagoon Creek attracts a variety of wildlife and shorebirds.

DAMNATION CREEK TRAIL

This difficult 4 1/2 mile hike through a steep canyon and ancient redwoods also offers a great vista of the Pacific Ocean. Located in the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park this ancient Indian trail begins 4 miles south of the main park entrance. Although short, this hike is not designed for a spur of the moment decision. It is strenuous, time consuming, and not to be taken without proper planning.

BOY SCOUT TREE TRAIL

This is a moderately difficult 7 mile round trip through a portion of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. The trailhead is close to the park entrance which is located about 9 miles east of Crescent City on Highway 199. This hike takes you back a million years in time as you make your way to Fern Falls on Jordan Creek and back again.

CALIFORNIA COASTAL TRAIL

Twenty-two miles of moderately difficult trail offers stunning vistas of the ocean, ancient redwood groves, an abundance of wildflowers in the spring, and steep climbs to high bluffs along the rugged coastline.

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OUR MISSION STATEMENT
WHO ARE WE?
To get there, from Crescent City, take the Redwood Highway 2 miles south, turn west onto Enderts Beach Road and follow it to the end. Or from the other end, go 18 miles south of Crescent City, and take the Requa Road turnoff.

You can walk as far as you want then backtrack to where you started or you can make this a two day hike by camping out or reserving a room at the Redwood Hostel. Call early, there are only 2 rooms.

Redwood Hostel (707) 482-8265
Redwood National Park (707) 464-6101

SMITH RIVER NATIONAL RECREATION AREA

MYRTLE CREEK TRAIL

This easy 2 mile loop begins north of US 199, just east of the Myrtle Creek bridge, 12 miles east of the Redwood Highway at Crescent City. If offers a great walk through a fern canyon and a look at the scarring left behind by Gold Rush miners.

McCLENDON FORD TRAIL

From the Redwood Highway take US 199 east for 13 miles, then north on South Fork for 14 miles, then southeast on a gravel road called Forest Rd 15 for 3 miles, then left onto Forest Rd 15N39 for 2 miles to the trailhead. This hike is an easy to moderate 3 mile round trip. It will take you through old growth fir and cedar forests to the south fork of the Smith River at Horse Creek. Most years there is a good swimming hole here.

FRENCH HILL TRAIL

Take the French Hill Road outside Gasquet, east from US 199 for 4 1/2 miles to the trailhead. This trail will take you on a moderate 5 1/2 mile round trip, 1600 foot climb to the fire lookout area east of Gasquet Ranger Station. The views are absolutely fantastic.

HIGH DOME TRAIL

This is truly a day hike. Allow most of the day to complete this moderate 8 mile round trip which will take you 3800 feet up Dome Mountain to the wide grassy meadow on the summit that gives it it's name. To get to the trailhead, take US 199 east from the Redwood Highway for 13 miles, then Patrick Creek Road north for 3 miles to Gasquet Toll Road, then left on Gasquet for a half mile, then right on Holiday Road where the trailhead is immediately on the right. If you prefer an overnighter, camping is available.

Gasquet Ranger District phone (707) 457-3131

EUREKA AREA

WOODLAND TRAIL

The Woodland Trail in Richardson Grove State Park is an easy 1.6 mile round trip. It starts at the foot bridge near the park headquarters and is an easy stroll through some 200 foot tall giants.

Adding a side loop which crosses Laurel Creet north of the Woodland grove makes a nice option.

LOOKOUT POINT TRAIL

Lookout is an easy 1 3/4 mile loop that climbs through the forest to a lookout over the Eel River. This trail also begins near the park headquarters which is located on the west side of the Redwood Highway at the county line.

Phone (707) 488-2171

BULL CREEK FLATS TRAIL

An easy, but fairly long 9 mile round trip through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, this hike gets progressively more solitary the farther you go. The trail follows Bull Creek through a lushly forested canyon and passes through the park's Big Tree area.

The trail begins near the Rockefeller Grove trails west of the park entrance which is located 30 miles south of Eureka and 25 miles inland from Cape Mendocino.

Phone (707) 946-2409

JAMES IRVING TRAIL

A moderately difficult day hike, this 9.5 mile round trip walk gives you a little of everything. Beginning in open meadows you pass through 3 varieties of forest, through a fern canyon, and then onto a bluff overlooking the ocean. You may even run across an elk, if you're lucky.

This trail begins at the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park visitor's center which is located 50 miles north of Eureka (6 miles north of Orick) off the Redwood Highway.

Phone (707) 464-6101

MENDOCINO AREA

BOTANICAL GARDENS TRAIL

This is not really a hike, but it's such a beautiful walk, I'd hate to leave it out. Located just south of Fort Bragg, this walk through the 12 acres of the botanical gardens was the highlight of a recent trip to the area. It's quiet paths and lush blooming foliage offer many opportunities for quiet contemplation or photography. There is a sheltered overlook onto the rocky Pacific Ocean, where if you're lucky, you might spot a sea otter or two. Most of the plant life is not indigenous to the area, but who cares? It's filled with lovely azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias and seems to be the favored lunch spot for all the local hummingbirds.

Located on the west side of the Coast Highway, 2 miles south of Fort Bragg, the gardens are owned by a non-profit organization which does not charge admission. However, donations are gratefully accepted and there is a gift shop near the entrance.

Phone (707) 964-4352 to confirm open hours.

LA LAGUNA TRAIL

Three miles north of Fort Brag, Lake Cleone is a small lagoon sealed off from the ocean by a man-made barrier. Circling around the lagoon, this easy 1 mile round trip offers many opportunities for viewing waterfowl, shorebirds, pond turtles and, of course, frogs.

LAGUNA POINT TRAIL

Located across the highway from La Laguna Trail, this moderate 2 mile round trip is a favorite for whale watchers in the fall and early spring.

STUMP TRAIL

15 miles north of Jenner on Highway 1, this moderate 4 mile hike follows ocean bluffs through Salt Point State Park, then down to the sandy beach. If you're an ab diver, this is a good spot for free diving.

THE PYGMY FOREST TRAIL

Poor drainage and highly acidic soils have combined to seal the fate of this stunted grove of trees. The trail shares the trailhead with Stump Trail above. If you wish you can combine them for a pleasant day of hiking.

NORTH TRAIL TO FALLS TRAIL

Starting at the trailhead 7 miles south of Fort Bragg just past the park entrance, use this trail to link to the Falls Trail at Russian Gulch State Park. This makes for a moderate 7 1/2 mile round trip through second growth redwood forest, ending at a beautiful waterfall down a rocky cliff. During the summer, it can be crowded, but still pleasant.

ECOLOGICAL STAIRCASE TRAIL

5 miles south of Fort Bragg and west of the Coast Highway at Jughead Creek, lies a true wonder of nature. Five different terrace levels climb 500 feet with PYGMY FORESTS on the top three levels. This is an easy 5 1/2 mile round trip and, I promise you, you won't even notice the climb.

Phone (707) 937-5804.

HEADLANDS LOOP

An easy 2 mile trip along the Gualala River up onto ocean bluffs semmingly designed just for whale watching, this trail passes through cypress groves at Gualala Point. The trailhead is located just west of the Coast Highway south of the river crossing near the town of Gualala.

 



CALIFORNIA SPORTS PARADISE
Your portal to outdoor sports in California
CALIFORNIA'S ON-LINE MAGAZINE FOR OUTDOOR SPORTS


 
 
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