Sunday Hikes: The Trillium Falls Trail

This is a fun hike right off of Hwy 101 in Redwoods country in Northern California. The trailhead is at the site of a former sawmill. Near the bathrooms there are signs showing what the area looked like when the area was being deforested and the difference to today is astounding.

After leaving the parking area, you will follow a gravel road until you come to the trailhead on your right. If you miss it, the looped trail comes back around to the gravel road a short distance away.

The Trillium Trail is a 2.8 mile loop that goes through a stand of old growth Redwoods that somehow missed the slaughter by the nearby sawmill. The trail inclines into the wooded hills and quickly comes to the namesake, Trillium Falls. This is a small 10 foot cascade where we filled our Lifestraw’s.

As the trail winds through the forest you can imagine scenes from movies shot in the area like Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park 2. The giant trees are fabulous and make for a quick and enjoyable hike. One of the notable things about this hike is that each grove is sponsored by a family, often in memory of a loved one. It brings a nice personal touch to the hike.

As we came back around to the trailhead area we looked around for elk that we heard hung out in this area. We didn’t spot any here, but just a short distance down the 101 we spotted a herd lounging around with their young ones. One of the elk only had one antler so of course he was our favorite.

The Redwoods National and State Parks in Northern California are a beautiful and fun place to visit. I hope you make your way there soon. rk

Picture of the Day: Great Smoky Mountains Elk

Elk were reintroduced to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2001 after 300 years of an elkless east coast. On our last trip up to the Smokies we were lucky enough to catch some elk grazing in a field in the Cataloochee Valley!

Thanks! – Josh

A Years Worth of National Park Wildlife

In the past year or so of blogging, Josh and I have been fortunate to see a lot of wildlife while visiting National Parks across the country. I thought I would share all of these in one place.

Frog in Death Valley NP

This friendly coyote tried to hitch a ride in Death Valley NP

Deer in Mammoth Cave NP

Turkey running afowl in Mammoth Cave NP

Postcard perfect Elk in Yellowstone NP

The blurry blob to the right of the letter E was an incredibly large porcupine

Bison in Yellowstone NP

This Roosevelt Elk in Olympic NP walked right down the trail towards me

Bighorn Sheep in Badlands NP

Bison in Waterton Lakes NP

This grizzly bear in Waterton Lakes NP was busy munching and never paid any attention to us

Deer in Great Sand Dunes NP

The Ptarmigan’s in Glacier NP were everywhere

This marmot posing in Grand Teton NP was our blog with the highest views all year

Black bear in Great Smoky Mountains NP

The jackrabbits in Joshua Tree NP were huge

This addax in Big Bend NP was making a huge racket

This deer was eating a banana peel by the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon NP

Tropical fish in Dry Tortugas NP

We didn’t get pictures of the moose in Rocky Mountain NP nor did we get a picture of an all too close encounter with a mountain lion in Joshua Tree NP.


Picture of the Day: Elk in Yellowstone 

There is so much wildlife in Yellowstone National Park and you would be hard pressed to go there and not see loads of animals. I took this picture of a bull elk by Yellowstone Lake. It seemed to not even care or notice that I was taking its picture.

Thanks! – Josh

Sunday Hikes: The Cannibalistic Trees of Olympic National Park and the Roosevelt Elk who live among them.

The Hall of Mosses Trail near the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center at Olympic National Park is as remote a location as you may find in the lower 48 states.  To get to the entrance of the Hoh Rain Forest, you have to drive around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington to come in from the west.   It is about a 3 hr and 45 minute drive from Tacoma.   Having said that, the unusually sunny day when I was there in August was well attended by hikers and adventure lovers.   The Hall of Mosses Trail is only .8 miles and is loop that begins and ends at the Visitor Center.   Despite the short length of the trail, the impressive old growth Sitka spruces and bigleaf maples in the temperate rain forest make this trail worth the time it takes to get here.   One of the most interesting things about this trail is that most of old growth trees are nurse trees.   What that means is that after one of the massive trees falls and dies, new tree seedlings germinate and sprout growing out of the fallen log.   These seedlings use the log for nutrients and grow up on the log.   Over centuries the growing tree roots will eventually anchor into the ground and the log beneath will decay and rot away.   This will leave the new tree growing up on stilts of roots giving it an unusual appearance.


The Hoh Rain Forest is also a well known location to see Roosevelt Elk.  Roosevelt Elk are the largest subspecies of Elk in North America.  While driving down the tree lined road to the Hoh Rain Forest, I saw in a streambed a small herd of females and a giant bull elk who lorded over his harem.   Several smaller males were circling nearby but afraid to approach.   While hiking the Hall of Mosses Trail I saw another bull elk eating water plants in a wetlands area and then when almost back to the visitor center yet another bull elk came right down the trail towards me.   Even though I was backing up, it eventually got within 10 feet of me.  It paid me no attention and after a few minutes I was able to pass and get back to the parking lot area.



When visiting Olympic National Park, the Hoh Rain Forest area is well worth the time spent to come visit.   There are several other longer trails in the area to hike and you are almost certain to see Roosevelt Elk up close.  I hope you get a chance to come visit soon.