Sunday Hikes: The Stout Grove Trail & River Trail

The last hike that Josh and I did in the Redwood forests of Northern California may have been the best hike in this area. The Stout Grove Trail and River Trail are located down a six mile dirt road in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It had some good mud puddles so half the fun was driving there.

The Stout Grove Trail is a loop trail through a magnificent grove of Redwoods. The River Trail is a spur that follows the Smith River to another trailhead. To complete both is 1.5 miles of fun.

The Stout Grove loop itself is similar to many in the area except these Redwoods were some of the biggest we had seen. One monster we we estimated at almost 52 feet in circumference. Their were some hollowed out ones you could fit an entire family within as well.

The River Trail isn’t as wide and flat and was cool as it was different than most hikes in the area. The water was a pretty blue. I took a few pictures of this trail as well.

This is such a gorgeous area that I can’t recommend enough to visit. If you would to learn more about the hikes in this area then please search “Redwoods” on the blog search page. You’ll see there are quite a few we hiked in the area.

Thanks for reading. rk

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: Truck in the Woods

These pictures were taken at a small picnic area off the road in Northern California at the south end of Redwood National and State Parks. Though my first redwood trees were the dying ones in Malibu Creek State Park about 600 miles south of here, these were my first big boy Redwoods! Returning home to Georgia after this felt like I lived in a land of twigs that people called trees. The Redwood forests are something that has to be experienced in person and everyone with a chance to visit should take that chance!

Thanks! – Josh

Sunday Hikes: Big Trees Loop in Humboldt Redwoods State Park

While in Northern California, Josh and I wanted to find the largest Redwood tree we could. The nearby Hyperion tree is recognized as the tallest by a few feet (and is in a remote area), but the Giant Tree is known for its circumference.

We located the Big Trees Loop trailhead, but couldn’t figure out how to cross the stream to do the hike. It turns out that they put up temporary bridges seasonally and they were not in place while we were there in April. We decided not to let that deter us and we crossed by walking across a fallen redwood. It was a lot of fun, but it would have been bad news if we had fallen in as the current was pretty fast.

The loop itself was pretty short (.6 miles) but we did go partway down the connected Johnson Camp Trail as well. The highlights on the loop are the fallen Flatiron Tree and the Giant Tree.

The Giant Tree is 53.5 ft in circumference which is hard to imagine unless you are actually there. We took some pictures and then crossed the fallen bridge tree again to go on to our next hiking adventure.

Thanks for reading. rk

Picture of the Day: Driving through Redwoods!

Josh’s intrepid Nissan XE pickup has performed well driving from Atlanta to Los Angeles and now up to Oregon. To reward the truck we let it drive thru a few redwoods in Northern California.

There are three drive thru trees in Northern California, all on private property. We did the Chandelier Tree first just south of the Avenue of the Giants. It was a 21 foot diameter tree. We also drove thru the Tour Thru Tree in Klamath in the Redwoods National and State Parks area. This was a 17 foot diameter tree.

The drive thru trees both cost a mere $5 each which was a bargain considering the fun we had doing it. We did miss the third drive thru tree called the Shrine Tree. It is in the Avenue of the Giants area.


The Seven Natural Wonders of the Continental United States

Everyone has heard of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, right?   I thought it would be interesting to look at the Seven Natural Wonders of the United States.   Since I haven’t made it to Alaska or Hawaii yet, I will narrow this down to the Seven Natural Wonders of the Continental United States.  Each of these places is magnificent and has been protected by our National Park System

  • Crater Lake – Crater Lake, located in Oregon, is the deepest lake in the United States with a depth of 1949 feet.  When measured by average depth, Crater Lake is the deepest in this hemisphere and 3rd deepest in the world.  Crater Lake was formed when a volcanic caldera filled with water over hundreds of years.  This lake is also known for its extreme water clarity.

Crater Lake (photo credit to guest photographer and friend, Katie)

  • The Everglades –  The Everglades are the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States.  Covering 1.5 million acres in southern Florida, this area is also known as a river of grass.  The Everglades used to consist of over 3 million acres before much of the area was drained for farmland in the early 1900’s.   This area is home to alligators, manatees, and the Florida Panther.
  • The Giant Sequoias and Redwoods – These enormous trees in California are the tallest and largest trees in the world.  These two species are closely related.  The Redwoods can reach heights of 375 feet and diameters of 25 feet.  The Giant Sequoias can reach heights of 275 feet and diameters of 30 feet.  These trees truely must be seen to be believed.

Redwood trees in Muir Woods 15 minutes north of San Francisco

  • The Geothermal Features of Yellowstone – Located in northwest Wyoming, Yellowstone is an unearthly place.  The first explorers of the area brought back tales of exploding geysers, colorful pools of hot and poisonous water, and boiling mud that were not believed.  We now know that this area sits upon a super volcano that will one day destroy much of North America when it erupts again.  In the meantime, it is a beautiful and mesmerizing place to visit.

Hot spring in Yellowstone National Park

  • Death Valley – The commonly held image of Death Valley is of a swelteringly hot wasteland.  While it is true summer temps here can top out at 130*F, there is a lot to be amazed at here.  Badwater Basin in the center of the park is a giant salt flat and at 282 feet below sea level is the lowest point in North America.  Telescope Peak rises directly behind Badwater Basin to a height of 11043 feet.  The only population of the rarest fish in the world exists in Death Valley.  There are less than 200 Devil’s Hole Pupfish left.

Badwater Basin in Death Valley

  • The Arches of Utah – The highest concentration of rock arches in the world is in Utah.  Arches National Park has over 2000 arches alone with thousands more spread out across southern Utah.  Landscape Arch spans 290 feet.  Rainbow Bridge boasts a height of 290 feet.  Delicate Arch is arguably the most famous in the world.

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park

  • The Grand Canyon – The Grand Canyon is the only member of this list that is also one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.  It is located in northern Arizona and was carved over a millennia by the Colorado River.  The Grand Canyon has a length of 277 miles, width up to 18 miles and a depth of  6093 feet.  To appreciate the Grand Canyon in all of it’s glory you will want to hike or mule down to the Colorado River.

Sunrise at Mather Point in the Grand Canyon