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
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,
Del Norte Redwoods State
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State
For information on the Trinidad area,
south of the parks,
go to the North
Humboldt Coast Page.