Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park - California

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Prairie Creek & the Redwoods  

Prairie Creek Redwoods is the most southerly of the three state parks which lie within the Redwoods National Park area. It is the most developed of the three parks, containing a visitor center, hiking trails to the coast and beyond, and several picnic areas, as well as coastal beaches. Wildlife is plentiful, including a herd of Roosevelt Elk seen close to the Prairie Creek Visitor Center.


Fifty-five miles of trails cut through this most southerly of the state redwood parks. A trail map gives locations of more than 50 park trails. Campgrounds with 100 sites are available, with back-country sites along the Redwood Creek Trail located in federal lands south of the state park.

The small visitor center and museum is located 10 miles north of Orick, close to the campground and trailhead for the Revelation Trail. This self-guiding trail has been constructed especially for handicapped people, with guide ropes for the blind and braille interpretation signs.

Just south of the visitor center is a narrow, winding road, which leads to the head of the Fern Canyon Trail. This trail is on the west side of the highway, leading for less than a mile past a flat prairie via the James Irvine Trail and past the former site of a small mining camp. Hiking the James Irvine Trail from the visitor center takes about three hours, leading to ocean bluffs and several good whale-watching sites.

A long stretch of beach can be reached by park trails, which have their trailheads along Highway 101, including the James Irvine Trail. Other trails to beaches include the Boat Creek Trail and Butler Creek Trail, which branch out from a highway trailhead north of the visitor center.

The Ossagon Trail to the north leads to a tidal flat and connects with the Coastal Trail. A network of trails to the east of the visitor center includes the Rhododendron Trail (3 hours -- 6.3 miles), and the Foothill Trail, a shorter walk which is the return part of the Rhododendron Trail (2 hours -- 2.6 miles). One of the most convenient shorter trails is Cathedral Trees Trail, which begins at the visitor center and winds for 1.5 miles beside streams and through meadows. Elk are often seen along this trail which takes about 35 minutes to walk and connects with the Rhododendron and Foothills trails.

A more difficult but rewarding loop trail at the north end of the Prairie Creek park is the Ten Taypo Trail, a 3-hour (6.4-mile) hike for the full loop. The trail follows a fern path beside a creek through old-growth forest to a high ridge. A shorter 4-mile loop is possible by connecting with the Hope Creek Trail. The Ten Taypo Trail has a difficulty rating of 4.

For reserved camping, call 800-444-PARK, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week.

For more information
on Redwood National Park, and the state parks,
go to:

Redwoods National Park
Del Norte Redwoods State Park
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

For information on the Trinidad area,
south of the parks,
go to the
North Humboldt Coast Page

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