Trails walked in southern Redwoods

From my recent Redwoods car packing adventure, there were specific trails walked in Southern Redwoods (south of Klamath River and north of Turnpike / US 101 intersection) that merit additional details. The trails listed are in order of trails taken – as all of these are recommended hikes!

The recorded tracks are in different colors: Ossagon Beach in purple, Hope Creek in red, Westridge Trail to Ossagon Beach dark purple, Rhododendron Ridge Tr dark blue, Irvine Trail to Fern Canyon light blue. Ossagon Beach and Hope Creek were hiked on the way to Elk Prairie Campground, and the remainder all from the campground.

Ossagon Beach Trail (All Trails)

Right before a tacky tourist attraction, a small pull off trailhead on the Parkway supports both Ossagon Beach and Hope Creek trails. I stopped here on my way to Elk Prairie and took both hikes.

It was a complete surprise as I had not researched or even heard of the trail prior to parking. It is a short walk down to the beach but steep – not as steep as Damnation, but not an easy walk back up. I met one hiker on the way back up and he was local guy and surprised that other people knew of this trail – a good find. The beach was huge and I was the only human with a score of brown pelicans. Standing at the waterline and looking back at the hills, it felt like a deserted island, not California.

Hope Creek Trail (All Trails)

Hope Creek / Ten-Taypo loop is a gentle walk through some older redwoods and just perfect for a cool afternoon stroll through the trees. The story went that these were two First Nation trails that connected two different communities. I found the trees welcoming.

Westridge Trail to Ossagon Beach

Westridge Trail is the closest to Parkway of the 4 ridges that run mostly north – south in the park. However, I did not hear cars other than when VERY close to the road. This hike was intended to reach the Ossagon Camp (a Coastal Trail campsite); unfortunately, the trail at the coast landed in a sedge swamp that would have soaked me knee to toes. I highly recommend that section during drier summer months.

One direction I took the old Prairie Creek trail and the return Westridge. The Prairie Creek trail winds through some of the best, oldest trees in the park. For me, this was a full day hike >20 miles.

I didn’t find Westrdige trail that interesting and it seemed to have some of the younger trees of the 4 ridge trails.

Rhododendron Ridge Trail

The Rhododendron Ridge trail is on the other side (east side) of the Parkway. Other than some great trees, this trail was also not that remarkable. A gentle stroll through the redwoods – could be worse! All Trails has a curated trail that loops Rhodondenron and Westridge trails; I think breaking them apart and taking Westridge to the coast is a better hike.

While this was a longer hike, it didn’t wipe me out and I took another hike after a break.

Irvine and Miners Ridge Trails to Fern Canyon (All Trails)

The All Trails hike is pretty close (I went down through Fern Canyon and back up Irvine). This was probably one of my favorite hikes of the week. Fern Canyon is a challenge to hike through – crossing the stream at least 10 times. Most people park at the end and hike upstream. I met one other person hiking in Fern Canyon (he from the other direction); other than that, nobody on either trail.

Fern Canyon is magical and probably worth half of the hype it gets. I chose NOT to walk through it 2x however.

This was not a long hike, but the Fern Canyon section takes time.

Around the park

On days that the longer hike was not a full day’s work, I would take a break in afternoon, eat dinner and then hike around the park about two mile radius from campground. There was never a lack of sights. Some humans were not that smart, and the deer missed the memo about “Elk” Prairie. Of course, there were times in the trees as well around the park, but the prairie was unique.

One Response

  • And no elk?? Sure brings back memories and I only saw this area from close to the car! We often had 2 little boys with us and stopped because of a toilet call! Bet Colton made the trip from Trinidad to the office daily from when he was 3 weeks old—daily!!! The Redwoods is a place I think, if possible, everyone should see. So glad you took this trip.

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